London has an election coming tomorrow, and your intrepid blogger has a vote.
As is his wont, he has decided to go through the candidates, and openly muse about why he should (or shouldn’t) vote for them.
We began this in part one, last week, with an intention to follow with parts two and three. But we ran into a problem: time and space.
After writing about Boris, we found ourselves with over 1,000 words (and not happy with the result). That still left two candidates. With obligations eating into our time, a deadline of election day (tomorrow), and other decisions that need to be made about tomorrow’s vote … well, we are revisiting our approach.
Here are our choices for mayor, ranked, with the reason for the ranking.
#1: Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat.
The performance of the Liberal Democrat party as part of a coalition government has left me rather cold to casting votes in their favour. But, as described last week in Part 1, I am quite impressed with Paddick’s position, leaving him in top spot.
#2: Siobhan Benita, Independent.
Benita has some good ideas, but I remain unconvinced that she has the ability to actually make them a reality once in office. Her plans extend well beyond the mayor’s remit, and I have doubts about her ability to actually achieve what is laid out in her manifesto should she be elected.
#3 Ken Livingstone, Labour.
Ken, of course, was the mayor of London for two terms (2000-2008), and prior to that had served as the leader of the Greater London Council. Ken cares about the city. He has accomplished some fantastic things as mayor, particularly around public transport.
Of course, he has also had his share of missteps and controversy. I’m not sure I particularly like Ken.
#4 Boris Johnson, Conservative.
The incumbent, I have previously written (and deleted) 1,000 words on Boris’s campaign.
It comes down to this: Boris is running on his record, but he has done (almost) nothing during his time as mayor. He promises to do (pretty much) a further nothing for the next four years. It’s impressive that he manages to stretch that nothing into a nine-point plan, and a massive manifesto.
He is not a bad mayor, but he is not a good mayor. It seems to be more of a platform to give him visibility and exposure before an eventual bid for the Conservative Party leadership. One gets a sense the man is biding his time.
Between incumbency, competence, and being the only real right wing choice available (see below), Boris is probably back for a second term.
#5 Jenny Jones, Green Party.
My opinion of Jenny Jones, Green Party candidate for mayor, was built from a short conversation witnessed on Twitter. Being asked her opinion on science, and its impact on government policy, Ms. Jones replied that she was a big fan of science. Her opposition to genetically modified food, she continued, was based on her own study of ancient plant life.
The belief that knowledge of ancient plant life provides understanding of the crossroads of farming and genetic research in the twenty-first century would be a worrying trait in a mayor. This inablity to recognise the limits of her own knowledge reveals that she cannot be trusted with office. The mayor has to be able to know when they have reached their own limits, and seek advice. They then have to be able to judge the quality of that advice.
At #5 on our list, Ms. Jones is the first candidate who we believe would actually be a bad mayor.
#6 Lawrence Webb, UKIP.
Mr. Webb and the UKIP released a one page manifesto. Seriously. It’s shorter than this article. It’s in point form. Anybody who votes UKIP in the London election needs to have their head examined.
Last: Carlos Cortiglia, BNP.
Mr. Cortiglia probably has a more developed plan than Mr. Webb does, but given that he represents the BNP, I will not do him the favour of giving it any page views. I am not searching for it, linking to it, or typing the url in browser.
How will we vote?
You might think this answer is above – we have Mr. Paddick first, through to Mr. Webb in 6th. All ranked.
But voting for the mayor is more complicated — we get a first choice, and a second choice. And the strategy begins.
Idealism VS Realism
Our first thought is for our second vote.
In an ideal world, our second vote would clearly be for Ms. Benita — she is our #2 choice, and if Mr. Paddick is not crowned the winner when the votes are tabulated, Ms. Benita is our next candidate.
But in the real world, everybody in London knows that the next mayor will either be Boris Johnson or Ken Livingstone. Having a second vote – and no more – creates the temptation to jump Ms. Benita in the queue, and vote for my preferred candidate amongst the two likely candidates, giving the nod to Mr. Livingstone.
Here lies the quandary.
This evening, I’m leaning towards being realistic. London will be better under Livingstone than it would be with a second Johnson term; I have the power to affect that. On the other hand, it irks me that I have to rank my third choice second.
Wishful thinking VS Wishful thinking
Having chosen my second vote, it is time to pick who comes first.
My first, last and only thought had been that it would be Mr. Paddick. I like his platform best of the candidates, and am willing to look past his unfortunate reality television shenanigans and the party he represents. I see him as being best of the bunch.
And then I read the how and why of a friend’s vote, and I must admit it strikes a chord. If my real vote, the one that counts, is for Ken Livingstone, then what is my first preference?
For Mr. O’Malley, the answer is the hope that people see a large number of Green votes, and think they need more Green Party-like policies to appeal to voters like him. He doesn’t have to worry about Ms. Jones’s ability to do the job, because she will never have the opportunity to do it.
So I now have two options for my first vote.
On one hand, I can list Mr. Paddick. The wishful thinking here is that something crazy happens and Paddick manages to win. That’s very much wishful thinking, as he is currently polling in fourth place, with 5% of the vote.
On the other hand, I can list Ms. Jones, despite the fact that she is my #5 choice, and I believe her not to be competent. She’d be a horrible mayor. And I can engage in the wishful thinking that her estimated 6% of the vote will somehow influence more mainstream politics.
This evening, I stand by the principle that my #1 vote should be applied to the person I think will be best in the role, but if I wake up tomorrow, dreamy-eyed and believing that a vote for Green will plant an environmental seed in some dirty capitalist or unionist heart, that could change.