The Scoop

Can Brian Paddick find any ordinary Londoners to back him?

Darryl Chamberlain | Monday 30 April, 2012 08:00

Brian Paddick's leaflet

Finally, we’re getting towards the end of what’s arguably been the most negative, bitter, and dirty election campaign in British history.

Whether all the anger and attacks will lure Londoners out to vote for one man to chuck the other one out remains to be seen.

But beyond the battle between Boris and Ken, you’d hope the other parties would have the freedom to be a bit more honest in their election material?

Not so for Brian Paddick’s campaign, where he seems to have struggled to find ordinary voters to endorse him for the mayoralty.

Leaflets being shoved through doors across the capital show a panel of punters headlined: “What Londoners say about Brian Paddick’s Lib Dem team.”

The one in the centre knows more about the Lib Dems than most – because he’s the Liberal Democrat councillor for Downham ward on Lewisham Council. Step forward, “Duwayne Brooks of Lewisham”, who is in line to be Paddick’s deputy mayor for policing if he wins.

On the left is “Eliane Patton of Merton” – she knows a bit about elections herself, having stood for the Lib Dems in elections to Merton Council, most recently in the Lavender Fields ward in Mitcham in 2010.

And what about young “Bobby Dean of New Cross” on the right? Surely no relation to the Bobby Dean who’s the communications officer of Liberal Youth, is it? Ah, the very one.

Which leaves us with the Jhootis of Peckham and the lads from the Tower Tandoori. Those aside, couldn’t Paddick’s team have found anyone else in a city of seven million people who aren’t active Lib Dems to back him?

The Lib Dems are notorious among their political rivals for made-up “winning here!” graphs on leaflets, although they’re not the only party to have used that tactic – or to have stuck members or councillors in the place of real people, saying words that no real person would say in the real world.

The Labour party in Greenwich were particularly shameless in the 2010 council elections, with former leader Quentin Marsh posing as an ordinary voter to claim Labour had made “a huge difference” to his local Charlton ward. I’m sure you could find examples in your own local area if you spent five minutes on Google.

But these are council elections, where the candidates often struggle to be household names in their own homes. Using party figures in an election where the votes run into millions doesn’t bode well for the Paddick campaign.

Or maybe they just think we’re a bit stupid. “Look for the bird,” the leaflet advises on what to do on polling day. By the end of the week, we’ll know whether Paddick will fly high – or whether Londoners have given him the bird instead.

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Darryl Chamberlain

About this writer

Darryl Chamberlain

Darryl writes Greenwich's 853 Blog and contributes to the Charlton Champion.

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