Opinion: Boris Johnson wins London mayoral election but victory is hollow

16:47 06 May 2012

Boris Johnson won the London mayoral election but did he really win over London? Picture by Nigel Sutton

Boris Johnson won the London mayoral election but did he really win over London? Picture by Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

So London has a new Mayor. Or rather it has the same Mayor after Boris Johnson unsurprisingly won a second term at City Hall.

The election proved to be a largely underwhelming affair, and personally I’m glad it’s finally all over.

The campaigns by the two leading candidates were long and tedious as well as generally uninspiring and excessively negative.

Each seemed more concerned with bashing the other than actually putting forward many positive policies to shape the future of the capital.

The final result of the election was similarly mundane, with most people predicting a Boris win long before polling day.

Even the delay to the result announcement which dragged things out until the early hours of Saturday failed to add any proper tension.

Really, the only momentous events were Ken Livingstone declaring it to be his political swan song and the Green Party’s Jenny Jones finishing in third place.

The eventual scale of Boris Johnson’s victory typified the whole election.

While the Mayor himself and Prime Minister David Cameron may revel in the Conservative Party’s success in the City Hall race, it can hardly be described as a convincing outcome - at least not accurately.

Firstly, turnout was a dismal 38 per cent, which means nearly two thirds of eligible Londoners couldn’t even be bothered to vote. Boris along with the other candidates failed miserably, it seems, to arouse much – if any – interest in the election among Londoners.

Of this small percentage who turned out, more than half of them chose someone other than Boris as their first preference for Mayor.

This is not exactly a strong platform of support to build on for the next four years.

It seems to be as much a case of the other candidates and parties losing the election as Boris winning it with any commanding style.

Let’s be pleased the election is done and let’s salute Boris Johnson’s victory but let’s keep things in perspective and not get carried away.

Finally, let’s watch with interest whether the Mayor fulfils his promises to Londoners and goes on to justify the trust that at least some of the capital’s residents have put in him by giving him that second term.

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