Why Lynton Crosby will encourage me to bet on Boris?

Why Lynton Crosby will encourage me to bet on Boris?

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    Is Ken being ousted the best bet around at the moment?

Cards on the table straight-away: quite simply I believe that the 1.84/1 that’s available on Boris Johnson to win the London Mayoralty is by far the best value political bet that’s currently available. Last October I pocketed £3,400 on Gordon’s general election U-turn and in the coming eleven weeks I’ll be investing at least half of that on Boris – when the prices are right.

As Sean Fear observed in his excellent analysis on Friday Ken won last time thanks to the fact that many non-Labour voters in the GLA election opted to split their ticket and vote for Ken in the Mayoral race.

    It’s hard to see in the current climate the “Livingstone Conservatives” or “Livingstone Lib Dems” staying with their 2004 choice and this has two consequences – it will boost the Johnson and Paddick votes and depress the Livingstone one.

The big development in the past week or so has been the hiring of the Australian election guru, Lynton Crosby, to work on the Johnson campaign. What he’s good at is finding things for his candidate to say thus commanding attention from the media.

Today’s story is a case in point. As part of a plan to fight “incivility, rowdiness, violence” on public transport Johnson is demanding that rowdy and violent youths on the capital’s buses should have their free travel cards confiscated.

Yesterday we had Boris reviving the idea of a London airport off Kent in the Thames estuary as a way of relieving the pressure on Heathrow. Whether this is feasible or not I don’t know but the idea that someone is thinking of their plight should go down well in the outer boroughs to the west of London.

All this is against a background of continued attacks on Ken for the way he has run London. There are further broadsides in the Evening Standard tonight.

In 2004 Ken chalked up a first round total of 35.7% of the vote in the Mayoral election. In the GLA election at the same time Labour got 24.7% – so a massive part of Ken’s success was in securing votes from non-Labour supporters. Will that happen on May 1st? My guess is that it won’t on the same scale and the chances of Ken failing make the latest Johnson odds look attractive.

Mike Smithson

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