Sunday, May 04, 2008

Not a new dawn but some fresh air at least.

Untamed: Boris in his pre-haircut days
I welcome Boris's victory as Mayor of London. While the role of Mayor is not as powerful as in some other major cities (in truth largely limited to transport) it is still a significant role and one of great status as a figurehead for the city.

Boris Johnson presents a new face of London, one that has always been here but one largely hidden for many years. Boris is as much part of London as Ken Livingstone his predecessor, but was elected by the outer London suburbs fed up of years of neglect from the centre by Ken who lavished time and money on politically trendy projects in the "inner city" areas of London.

No one says, especially Boris, that everything Ken Livingstone did was awful. He was a genuine leader especially in London's darkest hour of the decade on July 7th 2005 when over 50 people were killed by suicide bombers on the underground and a bus. This, of course, came just one day after London had been awarded the 2012 Olympics. Although I feel unethused about all things Olympian this too was a great achievement.

However he did descend to cronyism and after 8 years in the job can hardly not be said to have had a chance.

There were no other really serious candidates in my opinion so Boris was the obvious choice.

Boris is eccentric and unpredictable. I think there is a certain weariness over politics these days and few are predicting massive change. However if he can achieve something especially in his stated priority of reducing crime that will be welcomed by all.

No one is calling this a new dawn for London. Such hyperbole in best left in 1997. Nonetheless eccentric, intelligent, funny, charming and unpredictable Boris Johnson does represent a breath of fresh air in the leadership of London.

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