Firstly congratulations to the new Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, he deserves his victory and will be judged by what he does and whether it works. Given that he hasn’t had much of a chance to work out where everything is in City Hall judging him now or rather pre-judging him now is not only wrong it is stupid. I’m quite happy to wait and see, as with most politicians it will neither be as good as his supporters anticipate or as bad as his detractors would like.
What was pretty awful was the campaign that Zac Goldsmith ran for Mayor, it veered between torpidity and misplaced aggressiveness. It sounded off beat and jarring and the candidate never appeared entirely comfortable in his skin. I am sure that there are lots of people who can take a share of the blame for the shambles of a campaign, however the candidate has to take the bulk of it.
If you are running for a highly personalised mandate like a mayoralty then you are the message and the message is you to a very large extent. That a significant number of people are expressing frustration at the Mayoral campaign is largely down to this, playing a community against community approach in a city as diverse as London was always likely to backfire spectacularly and given that is not the type of person that Zac is made the decision even worse. It is clear what many of us suspected from the off, Zac wasn’t the correct candidate.
Any candidate worth his or her salt would have, when presented with the strategy of linking Sadiq with Islamists, vetoed it on the spot. It was abundantly clear it wasn’t going to work, it was always going to be easy for Khan to bat such suggestions away with a quick run through his voting record. What was utterly crazy was to go double or nothing on the approach when the Livingstone furore broke. By that stage it was clear that the strategy was simply not working so to ramp it up was bizarre and Conservatives ended up with the nothing part of the deal.
Plenty of Conservatives are crying foul at what they perceive as an attack on Zac in the immediate aftermath of an election. Well plenty of people are exceptionally disappointed at the result and are entitled to criticise an approach they perceive as suicidal. Nobody is being mean to Zac, they are merely pointing out that Zac didn’t seem to stand as himself and was somewhat lacklustre throughout. Most Conservatives wanted Zac to win, but the authentic Zac not the Mayoral campaign version. Zac’s critics aren’t out to make nasty at Zac they want to learn the lessons for the future and ensure that the same mistake isn’t made for the next guy.