The Guardian reports that Ladbrokes has cut the odds on Boris Johnson succeeding Ken Livingstone as mayor of London, as polls last night appeared to swing in favour of the bumbling blonde MP. Whilst the betting shops don’t always get it right, they’re certainly not stupid and won’t offer odds that they think don’t reflect a realistic assessment of the outcome. I’m not surprised that it’s turning out to be such a close race though, as both candidates have strengths which oppose their opponent’s weaknesses. Livingstone has the advantage of being the incumbent and well-known to the people of London, but this could backfire given that he’s bound to have upset a lot of people whilst he’s been in office. Johnson, on the other hand, is a new face, has lots of energy for campaigning, and, so far, doesn’t appear to have trodden on the toes of too many Londoners.
Personally, I really couldn’t care less who gets elected as Mayor of London, as I don’t live in the city and only visit it about once a month on average. However, given that London’s mayor actually has a significant budget and a say in matters such as public transport, it’s an important decision for Londoners to make. Also, given the radically different personalities of Livingstone and Johnson, I suspect this will be an interesting race to watch over the next few weeks.