Tired of American politics? Then why not look overseas and take solace that it's not quite as insane as the London Mayoral elections taking place in May? Some limey named Rich Johnston continues to hold our hand through it all:
Ken Livingstone is the incumbent London Mayor standing for a third term. He loves whisky, newts and is so left wing that in America, he'd be burnt as a communist.
In the eighties, he ran the Greater London Council, and was mocked by the tabloids as "Red Ken." When the GLC was disbanded, Ken seemed content to spend his life in well-remembered political obscurity, advertising cheese…until the position of London Mayor was advertised. He put himself forward as a Labour Party candidate, and the fearful party openly rigged the election. So, Ken resigned from the party, stood as an independent and remarkably, won.
Ken introduced the Congestion Charge, a toll for anyone who drove into London's city centre. And surprisingly, people actually liked it. When the U.S. Embassy refused to pay, he called the ambassador a "chiselling little crook." London cheered.
Ken ploughed the revenue into public transport. Traffic and pollution fell, crime soon followed. Ken rejoined the Labour Party after they publicaly ate the least tasty humble pie in the history of shameful pastries and won a second term. And the day after London secured the 2012 Olympics, the bombings of July 2005 saw Ken transformed as a statesman — and he still travels by public transport.
Things were looking good for a third term until Ken reportedly engaged in a fistfight with a newspaper editor. Later, he called another reporter a “German war criminal." When the reporter told Ken that as a Jew he was offended, Ken's retort was that he was “just like a concentration camp guard."
But there was no one with enough local appeal willing to take on Ken Livingstone. So the media got behind a new challenger: The bumbling, genial idiot savant whose biggest campaign idea seems to be his haircut, Boris Johnson (whom you'll get to know in the next installment of Indecision Internationale). And the unraveling of Ken began…
Tags: Boris Johnson, London, United Kingdom