Jonathan Fryer

Hip Time at the Hop Cellars

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 22nd January, 2008

Brian Paddick had his in-house launch (as opposed to the recent public one at Lambeth Town Hall) at the Hop Cellars in Southwark tonight, with all five current LibDem GLA members, various hopeful GLA candidates and key activists by the score. Such parties can frankly be a bit tedious on occasion, but this one swang, not just because of the warm welcome from the locale and the organisers, and the very generous, modestly-titled ‘finger buffet’ — but also because of the buzz that is growing around Brian’s campaign. He spoke casually and well, without notes, and at a time when Mayor Ken is reeling (and snarling) from hostile media scrutiny, and Boris is floundering, Brian is increasingly being seen as the Serious Candidate, but also a genuine human being.

The party centrally has taken on board the fact that the mayoral race this time, far from being the foregone conclusion of last time, is going to be an exciting, sometimes bare-knuckle, fight — more akin to US politics than British, in some ways. That may, of course, not be an entirely positive thing, but it does promise an interesting contest which could get all sorts of people who don’t normally vote in GLA elections turning out. And all the gossip I am hearing is that the foreign media are also going to watch this as a great political show.

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