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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

79: Mayorial musings - London and Lille

I have to admit to less of a growing respect, and more of a diminishing despair about the foppish (Alexander) Boris (de Pfeffel) Johnson, candidate for London Mayor. I discovered his full name recently and this has for some strange reason made him slightly less unendearing.

He does appear to have grown in stature as the campaign has unrolled though I still cannot believe he could do a good job of being in charge of the UK capital. His assertion that there needs to be new blood at County Hall and claim that he is the one who can provide it, has struck a cord with many for whom Ken Livingstone was a compromise candidate or maybe even a protest one.

Ken is looking a little tired after 8 years in the post: it is a demanding job. Even so the polls are looking close, too close to call. How ironic would it be if the man elected first time around in spite of the Labour party, may lose office third time around because he is their official candidate? There can be no doubt at all that the Labour government's current lack of popularity will be to Boris's benefit.

I cannot help but think that the lack of interest in politics and the political system must be playing more than a small part in this too. Boris is, if anything, less the Tory candidate and more the non-candidate, the character candidate. Against Ken the consummate politician and Brian, probably the best all round candidate but the one with least personality, one can start to see the appeal...

Whereas here in Lille, we have recently re-elected Martine Aubry to lead us. I say "we" because I count myself amongst those who gave her their franchise. Somewhere in the top ten of popular politicians in France (Betrand Delanoë, re-elected Mayor of Paris is number one), Martine has garnered respect rather than popularity during her stint in Lille. Indeed this morning she officially succeeded the pépé of the Nord, Pierre Mauroy, to the presidency of the LMCU (Métropole Communauté urbaine). Mauroy now an octagenarian, is largely credited with revitalising the town we see today and was instrumental in securing Lille's place on the Eurostar network. Merci Pierre! If not for him we would perhaps not be living in Lille today. I look forward to being as grateful to Martine.

78: Little Mouse

Small and serious on the Paris métro,
Clutching his souris peluche, a little wan
Touched an ancient need somewhere deep,
He met my eyes briefly, looked away,
And there I was in the pushchair,
Forty five years ago,
And maybe fifteen years too late
To contemplate my own little mouse.