Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Do scathing attacks make a difference?

Brian Paddick is languishing in a distant third place with 12% of predicted votes while Boris Johnson seems the clear leader with 45% placing him as first preference. Perhaps in an attempt to redress the imbalance in his favour he has launched a scathing attack on both his opponents, particularly Ken Livingstone. He calls Livingstone a "nasty little man", "very unpleasant" who treated all critics with "contempt" despite having an "appalling record of maladministration"; recalling the days of Red Ken and the GLC he accuses Livingstone of creating a "socialist republic" of cronies within city hall. Boris Johnson, in contrast he calls "somewhat eccentric" but "harmless", nevertheless stating "I wouldn't trust him to run anything for me?". His conclusion unsurprisingly is that he is the only "serious candidate". Referring to his handling of the 7/7 bombings he states "When London faced its most serious test since the Second World War after 7 July, I was the figurehead for the police and arguably, bearing in mind I got more airtime than he did, even more of a figurehead than Ken Livingstone was on that occasion".

Unsurprisingly the interview was with the Evening Standard, never a fan or Ken at the best of times, however if these are Paddick's words they represent a rather robust attack from a man who has been keen to present himself as statesmanlike. Is this the last act of a desperate man relying on the advice of Hillary Clinton's former communication aide: Mark Penn? Will it have an impact? If Londoners recognise both the accusations as being founded on some truth and the caricatures he paints as reflecting their opinion it may make them think twice; if not it may, as negativity often does, lose him even some second preferences.


Mark Pack said...

Mark Penn's not advising the campaign, so no - unlikely to be based on his views!

Matt Hurst said...

Desperation, he seemed pretty sane before this now he just sounds like your typical Mail reader.

"Socialsit Republic" sounds pretty petty to me.