So today Sadiq Khan was selected as the Labour candidate for one of the most powerful jobs in Politics – Mayor of London. Once again the ‘polls’ got it wrong as Tessa Jowell seemed to be the firm favourite for quite some time.
In the end the margin was 59% to 41% (on about the 5th round) despite the fact that in the last few days people close the campaigns were saying it was ‘close’. I was with Tessa on Tuesday of this week and whilst they knew they were in for a fight I sensed a note of cautious optimism that it would be alright. However, Khan and his team have expressed some confidence that they were going to win for some time. Even in a private conversation with Sadiq just before the Summer recess he was supremely confident that he wasn’t in the race to come second!
I think his victory does point to a sizeable Corbyn victory tomorrow and I will write about that when the numbers are known. It is the size of the victory now that becomes the talking point it seems.
I have worked with Sadiq and played football with him (where you truly get to judge character on the Sports field). He is a pretty hard working, ambitious and determined guy who will now work tirelessly to win next May. Polls had shown that he would trail when pitted against the Tory favourite Zac Goldsmith, whereas Tessa might triumph. Given they were only polls and we know how accurate they have been recently we perhaps shouldn’t read too much into them. But the gut instinct for me was that Tessa had greater ‘reach’ amongst the London electorate. Mainly of course because of her profile around the Olympics, where I worked with her and admired her ability to work as an operator to get things done. I do feel London members have taken more of a gamble with Sadiq and it means we are probably fighting as underdogs.
Why one down 2 to go. Well of course we get the other 2 results tomorrow -Leader and deputy leader. In a way these will shape the Mayoral campaign probably more than Sadiq can. As regular readers will know I fear the electoral consequences of Labour selecting Corbyn are electoral suicide outside our core support. If this is the case, Corbyn could be pretty unpopular by May 2016, and Labour in London will be tarnished by the poor showing Labour will have in the national polls. My only hope is that the likely ‘novelty factor’ lift for Corbyn will last just long enough for Sadiq not be wiped out. I do get the novelty and excitement that surrounds Corbyn, so despite the entire media onslaught that is coming his way there will probably be a little bit of a bounce for him. The key question is how long it lasts and how large it is likely to be.
But for 24 hours Sadiq should enjoy the victory and then look forward to Sunday and working out how on earth he is going to grasp the big prize and have a Labour London Mayor. He certainly has a great story to tell about his journey from a son of a bus driver in Tooting to Mayor? For that sake alone he is worth a good win! I really wish him well. Having seen the job and the prize that is representing London I can see why he wants to win. What a great job t lead one of the most interesting Cities in the world.
As the results were being read out I watched and felt physically nervous. I can’t imagine how I will feel tomorrow as the results are read out. The future of the Labour Party is at stake.