Ex BBC boss, ex Labour supporter (pre-Hutton of course), Greg Dyke announced last night he would not stand for Mayor of London. Not because of other commitments etc, but because both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats would not back him to be the independent (ish) anti-Labour, anti-Livingstone candidate. Seems a little like his real goal was the power, he said: the backing of both parties was the only way to secure a win.
While it is argued that party politics, as opposed to real ideas, are unattractive to many voters, surely any attempt to build coalitions prior to the election just reduces choice and means ideas and ideologies would be replaced by a purely managerialist style. Ok, maybe this would not differ much from the Livingstone approach; but the notion that power should be attained by abandoning all political differences seems inappropriate in times of normal politics. The Conservatives, it appears, went for the idea (were they too seduced by the idea of victory at all costs); the Liberal Democrat response that "The people of London should have a full democratic choice on next year's mayoral elections" is more in line with the principles of democracy than the Dyke suggestion. It raises many questions about what the people want from an electoral contest, representation yes, but in what form - symbolic, ideological - we never saw a Dyke manifesto but it would have been interesting to see how he crafted his product to attract the London electorate.