It's taken me ten days to recover from the shock of Boris Johnson winning the London mayoral election. I can't think of anyone less appropriate for high office. He's a joker, he's not a leader and he's an extreme right winger. It beggars belief.
But what really shocks me is that he was only elected thanks to Lib Dem second preferences. When first preferences were counted Boris was ahead of Ken by 150,000 votes. The Lib Dems had 236,685 second preference votes to redistribute after Brian Paddick was knocked out. The Greens presumably all voted for Ken as they were told to. And the BNP - well who knows but I guess more of them voted for Boris than Ken. The other candidates polled too few votes to influence the final result.
In other words the Lib Dems could have stopped Boris but most of them either voted for him or voted for someone else or didn't register a second preference. That's really depressing. I'm not a big fan of Ken's but I think he's been good on the environmental agenda and I think Lib Dems have more in common with his progressive values than they do with Boris's extreme right wing views.
The only consolation is that Conservative Central Office are putting their brightest and best in to City Hall to try to make sure Boris doesn't screw up David Cameron's chances of winning the general election in 2010. Presumably they know that they need to present City Hall not as a bastion of hard right ideas but as a centrist, liberal, progressive institution much as David Cameron has tried to present himself. So now we'll see if it's all a facade or whether he really believes it. Don't hold your breath.