Perhaps it is because of cutbacks, and that the paper spends so much time fawning over London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, but today it has brought forth a real feast of rank cluelessness on the subject of who might want to contest the next Mayoral election for the Labour Party. The only thing that looks right about the piece is that Ken Livingstone will not be one of those people.
And the article leans heavily on nods, winks, and of course “friends” of those who are supposed to be “front runners”, the first profiled being Andrew Adonis, who is being “tipped” to run. “The job of managing and improving London’s transport system, which is at the core of the Mayor’s role, could have been tailor-made for Andrew” says a “friend”. Adonis is not a manager by profession.
Sure, he’s been in Government, and would no doubt be again if Mil The Younger wins next time round, but London Mayor? If Labour wants a rail guru, they already have Christian Wolmar, who has the added bonus of knowing his cycling: Bozza has, sadly, so far produced more hot air than practical help for those who travel around the capital using pedal power.
After all, as the Standard then concedes, “He is Labour’s shadow infrastructure minister, and was this week put in charge of a growth review by Ed Miliband”, which is hardly what budding Mayoral hopefuls are going to be doing. Likewise the explanation for keeping an eye on former MP Oona King: “recently appeared on the TV show Dancing on Ice to build up her profile for a possible come-back”.
Strangely, I never thought of that kind of thing as a dry run for Mayoral election, but there you go. And the trawling goes on: Eddie Izzard has to be mentioned, but just happens to have another, more important, job right now. Tessa Jowell is cited as a dead certainty if the vote was held right now (it won’t be), “But she has got a lot of other options and is enjoying time with her family”. So that’s another no, then.
Only after throwing in another two who are more “doubtful” than “hopeful” – Stella Creasy and Diane Abbott – does the Standard arrive at someone who would be on the short list for Labour candidate no matter what kind of selection mechanism is used, and that someone is Tottenham MP David Lammy, who knows his London and is well-regarded in the party and elsewhere.
But there is a final act of rank cluelessness, as the Standard claims that Alastair Campbell “has been encouraged to stand by Labour frontbenchers but has so far said no”. Er, hello? I follow Big Al on Twitter and he’s not so much as mentioned it. This may be because he, too, has a more important job right now. Just because Labour lost in 2010 didn’t stop him working, y’know.
Still, it fills a few column inches and keeps the hacks busy. Mustn’t grumble.