Well it is finally here. The day has arrived where London gets a chance to kick out a 1970s political throwback who plays at the politics of division rather than the politics of hope and change. If you go to the ballot box today in London remember this as you vote for the Mayoralty.
Livingstone has consistently shown himself to be someone that misleads the electorate in order to win support. He misled over fare increases before, and as the news has shown in the last week, he's doing it again having secretly agreed fares will go up.
His campaign started out deliberately taking quotes from Boris Johnson articles out of context. Then as it progressed it started to say Boris was committed to doing things that he had never said. The Livingstone campaign has tried to ingratiate itself with the Muslim vote by falsely claiming Boris wants to ban the Koran as well.
It has misled Union members by trying to suggest Boris plans to strip them of rights that he would not have in his power to do. It has falsely claimed that free pensioner travel would be scrapped under a Boris mayoralty. At every turn of his campaign it has been about negatively portraying Boris Johnson, and as each turn failed the opinion polls reflected what was probably a reaction to those political games.
The negative campaign by Jowell and Livingstone this week, having failed to successfully label Boris a racist, an Islamophobe or an evil stealing of bus passes, has now fallen back on the line that Boris is a "joke" candidate. The desperation within that final push is clear. They have nothing positive to say because the Labour Party knows that it is on the slide.
This was perfectly exemplified by what could only be a classic piece of astroturfing in the "politically neutral" free sheet called the London Paper yesterday. In the column called "More or Bore" where reader write in hoping to be published we were subjected to someone saying they weren't sure who they should vote for but it closed with the summary that you shouldn't vote for Boris because you think he would be an "hilarious Mayor".
Most interestingly in the following pages you were presented with a full page Livingstone advert that was also pushing the "you might think it's funny to vote for Boris but it really isn't a joke" line. Call me cynical if you must, but the connection between the two smacked of a classic double-hit attack attempt. It's quite easy to do, you buy an advert page, and then you get activist after activist to send a column in that subtly pushes the same line with the hope one gets published.
The idea that Boris Johnson is a "joke candidate" is the real joke in that line though. The man has a towering intellect and is by no means not serious. To quote Andrew Gilligan, "it is better to have a serious man being a buffoon than a buffoon pretending to b a serious man". That is real choice today in London. A man who has been shown to have extremely questionable ethics about how to execute power in office, or a man that wants to get things done and genuinely change London for the better.