I have to admit that I’ve not really been paying much attention to the London Mayoral campaign this time around, unless you count the concentration required every time I’ve had to run the gauntlet of various campaign volunteers, all determined to get in my way and stick a leaflet in my ear as I speed past their smug little stalls and dodge and weave down the High Street between them and all those omnipresent chuggers.
This time round, it’s more like a bad B-Movie sequel than an election. Or something. I can almost hear Voiceover Man declaiming the title like a wrestling match up: ‘Aaaaand now… the Heavyweight Champion of London, Boris ‘The Bruiser’ Johnson takes on the challenger, ‘Red’ Ken ‘The People’s Champion’ Livingstone in a hardcore battle to the political death…’ Well, we’ve had George Galloway pretending to be a cat (once seen can never be unseen, let’s put it that way), so why not Boris and Ken as wrestlers? In leotards, of course. That could suddenly make the Mayoral campaign a whole lot more amusing.
But there’s no getting away from it, this time round it really is the Ken and Boris Show: Part 2 (And This Time It’s Personal) – and there appears to be nothing any of the other candidates can really do to get most of the mainstream media to take the slightest bit of notice of their campaigns (short of taking all their clothes off and dancing naked through City Hall whilst singing the Birdy Song, perhaps? That might get them a few more column inches, although not necessarily in the Right Sort of newspapers).
Right. Now that I’ve (just about) caught up on the election night sleep I missed out on, I can now slowly begin the process of getting my head around the result. This could take some time, mainly because I’m not even sure the new multi-party cabinet knows what’s going on right now – let alone a poor confused ordinary voter like me…
The Tory-Lib Dem coalition has provoked a great deal of vitriol from all sides of the political spectrum, and, although I can’t say I’m particularly impressed with the idea of a government led by David Cameron and Nick Clegg in tandem, I intend to wait and see whether they create some tangible benefits for the country or whether they end up shooting themselves in the collective foot. I suspect the latter.
One thing is for certain, and that’s the simple fact that the collapse of the structural organisation involved in this election has had a unnecessarily negative impact on the electorate – so much so that Saturday saw a fairly large rally in Westminster, which demanded fair votes and a change to the current first past the post electoral system.
And quite rightly too. Aside from the unspeakably ridiculous result (which is silly enough, quite frankly), this election has been a farce from beginning to end. The cock-ups seemed never-ending. Problems at one, perhaps two, polling stations could be dismissed an unfortunate blip, but when the same problems kept cropping up at any number of different polling stations across the country, suspicions were naturally raised.