I heard a story recently about the current Mayor of London in some committee where he gave out about people not knowing their Catullus from their Horace (or some such combination of Latin poets/playwrights/philosphers). Apparently the assembled throng did not know where to put themselves.
The third London Mayoral elections are coming up and the boul’ Boris is only just holding his own in the polls against his old rival Ken Livingstone. That race is close, despite a clear and substantial lead for Labour in the Greater London Assembly elections.
Ken Livingston who is no longer the iconic manifestation for radical anger he once has had his bete noir (Andrew Gilligan) from the 2008 election on tail. Gilligan, who ran a wellcrafted muckracking campaign back in 2008 has been digging into Ken’s tax affairs.
Boris on the other hand is seeking to mend some broken bridges with the London Irish community for his intemperate (and inaccurate) remarks on what, was once (but is no more) a publicly funded ‘Mayor’s St Patrick’s Day Dinner’.
As Mark Hennessey notes:
In Downing Street earlier, British prime minister David Cameron had joked with Taoiseach Enda Kenny about Mr Johnson’s part in upcoming celebrations in London to mark St Patrick’s Day, which now run for most of the week.
“I am sure that there will be a good show put on in London this year. I can’t promise that Boris Johnson will dye his hair green, but, you never know, he might do, it’s election year,” Mr Cameron declared.
The Irish in London are much more socially mixed group than they were ten or fifteen years ago when Ken was in his heyday. But Johnson’s belated apology may be an indication that in this May’s contest, every single vote is going to count. Even if that means not rocking the boat with what was 3.1% of the UK capital’s population (according to the last Census).
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty