Is Ken trying to do a Hillary?

Is Ken trying to do a Hillary?


    Why should he be so candid about the prospect of defeat?

Above is the front page of tonight’s Evening Standard which seems to break all the rules of elections. Candidates are “never” supposed to contemplate the prospect of defeat because it’s thought it will demoralise their own supporters.

So why is Ken saying this – assuming the quotes in the paper are accurate? It raises a whole pile of questions.

  • Has he seen private polling which suggests that next Thursday is going to be very tough?
  • Is he trying to show that he cares for London so much that he’ll do his best to help Boris?
  • Or does the old fox think there is a political advantage in raising the prospect of defeat like this?
  • My guess is the last one. The move reminds me of Hillary’s tearful comments a couple of days before the New Hampshire primary last January. The polls, it will be recalled, were suggesting a near certain defeat and her demeanour that day became front page news throughout the world. The effect, as many have suggested, was to galvanise her vote so it turned out allowing her to sweep to victory and stay in the race.

    Tonight we’ll get a chance to see the main candidates in action on BBC 1 Question Time debate. This will probably be the most watched event of the campaign and all the contenders must be hoping that they can get through it without making a gaffe.

    Although Boris has improved quite a lot since the Jeremy Paxman debate a couple of weeks ago he never looks totally at ease. Ken can appear arrogant if he’s not careful.

    There will be a lot of betting tonight – so all eyes on the changing prices.

    I’m at a local party event this evening with Lembit Opik so I might miss the start.

    Mike Smithson

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