Regular readers may recall that I don’t have too much faith in the capacity of parties to find suitable candidates for London Mayor. The problem is, there are simply too few roles available for people to perform credible “apprenticeships” for the top job, the GLA being an anonymous talking shop. Thus far the only elected London Mayor was also the last leader of the GLC – a body which no longer exists.
So while I wasn’t exactly surprised, I was delighted to learn that Brian Paddick has expressed an interest in standing for the post. It remains to be seen who else might come out of the woodwork, but Paddick performs the rare feat of being telegenic, having gravitas and having direct experience of running a London-wide public authority. He’ll be a touch act to follow. So far, the only other potential candidate, Lembit Opik, would seem to have only one of those three crucial characteristics.
With the Tories flailing to find a credible candidate and being forced to choose between a top-hatted Etonian toff (currently being taken to task by Doreen Lawrence), an ewok, and an assortment of anonymous figures, were Paddick to get the Lib Dem ticket the contest could very rapidly begin to resemble a run-off between him and Livingstone.