It's been a few weeks now since the Labour nomination contest for the Mayor 2012 campaign got going and as expected, it's a two horse race. The pundits took an early view that Ken has it in the bag but whispers on various blogs over the last week or so, suggest that Oona is sharpening her message and as a result may just pull off an upset at the Party Conference in September. That said, there's a long way to go and several more hustings to get through before then.
Earlier today, both contenders appeared on the Politics Show. It's well worth a look (go to 36 minutes in, unless you want to watch the whole show) and for my money, Oona was impressive. Ken loves a good fight and that seemed to be all that he was offering in dealing with cuts to services across London, if he is elected in 2012. Oona on the other had some interesting things to offer on housing, youth and knife crime and as she correctly pointed out, by 2012 cuts will have been implemented and whoever is in power will simply have to find imaginative ways of delivering services to Londoners. If she can win the nomination, she will be a very attractive cross-party candidate. In the debate over whether government exists to provide public services or to provide jobs for people to deliver those services, we know where Ken stands but Oona seemed less tribal.
However, Ken did seem untroubled by her on today's performance, which makes me wonder whether the pundits aren't right after all and he has the unions in the bag and therefore sewn up the nomination. I understand union members' concerns and desire to have a champion fight their cause - but not every Londoner belongs to a trades union and will Londoners' best interests be served if Ken is allowed to re-run the 1980's from City Hall?