Andrew Gilligan writes that:
The official in charge of the London Labour Party has been removed after saying that Ken Livingstone, Labour’s candidate for the mayoralty, "cannot win" next year’s election if he continues as now. Hilary Perrin, Labour’s London regional director, has been moved back to her previous role overseeing all the regional directors after Ken and his chief of staff, Simon Fletcher, appealed to Ed Miliband’s office.
"Moved back to her role overseeing all the regional directors"? That sounds to me like a promotion. In other words, for her insight in realising that Mr Livingstone cannot win, Ms Perrin has been put in charge of all the other directors - congratulations to her for that. She's right, of course, and more importantly, it is the case not only that he cannot win, but that he does not deserve to win. Who really wants to go back to the blend of tedium, uproar and mediocrity that was the Livingstone mayoralty? The mayoralty that was so bad that, in comparison, it makes Boris Johnson's three years of nothing look not-too-bad-really-I-suppose-if-that's-really-the-best-we-can-do? "Forward, not back," as Labour so memorably put it in their inspiring slogan for the 2005 General Election (and hey, they won, which has to tell us something, just don't ask me what).
Mr Johnson is obviously not the best that London can do, and the thought of going back to the living hell of Livingstone is too depressing to contemplate. I honestly believe that Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick will get an excellent reception from the voting public of Greater London once the campaign gets into its swing. "Get an excellent reception" is politician-speak for "No, I'm yet saying that he's actually going to win, but he's the best candidate and I think people will really warm to what he has to offer, meaning that he could get a higher-than-expected level of support, and who knows what that might lead to by the time we get to polling day?" That is, admittedly, a less snappy slogan than "Forward, not back."
PS Did David Cameron say "willy-nilly" at Prime Minister's Questions today because someone had bet him that he wouldn't be able to work it in?