Boris Wins Second Term in Only Tory Victory as Conservatives Suffer Loss of Substantial Council Seats Nationwide
Following a long day of counting and with the results seen at times as too close too call, after a heavy contested race, Mayor Boris Johnson clinched his reelection for a second four year term as Mayor of London, on Friday evening.
Johnson's victory is not to be viewed as a vote of confidence for the Conservative party in Power and coalition government headed by Prime Minister David Cameron, as a heavy anti-government wave put the Labor Party ahead in projected popularity vote 39% to the Conservatives 31%. Nonetheless, Johnson is the one solely to be credit for his successful reelection bid, as the only Conservative victory in this round of elections. Boris, a public confident figure known with his exceptional personality, and ability to connect to voters with humor and a down to earth perception, won his reelection bid by appealing to the broader base, something the government failed to do so, according to previous public opinion polls.
Johnson political profile is viewed as being far more popular than his party, the Tories in power, to an extent that some pundits see him as the next Prime Minister of Britain, as a successor to David Cameron. As the Telegraph's Fraser Nelson writes:
"Boris Johnson has already emerged as the champion of a new strain of British Conservatism. London is now a Labour city, and yesterday’s election ought to have been a walkover for its candidate, Ken Livingstone. Yet Boris will either win, or come very close to doing so, because he has established an appeal far broader than that of David Cameron’s party. He has done so not by apologizing for Conservatism, but by embodying its virtues – and his success has been astonishing. Even his detractors are beginning to wonder if the clown prince might just be on to something.""Regardless of the result, this election will leave Boris more influential than ever. If he wins, he will be seen as an undefeated champion of Conservatism – his secret being to keep a safe distance from the Prime Minister."
Boris' victory can also be credited for the Jewish community, a traditional Labour voting bloc, for heavily favoring the Mayor over former Mayor, Ken Livingstone.
As the Jewish Chronicle's editor @stephenpollard tweeted:
Let's see Boris' majority, but it looks like it could be Jewish vote that won it for him. Proud @JewishChron played its part in exposing Ken
— Stephen Pollard (@stephenpollard) May 4, 2012
Apparently, the Jewish Community makes up 200,000 of Greater London’s population of 8.2 million. And with an estimated 32-33 percent turnout, it is highly possible that the Jewish vote might have played a big role in this close race.
Jewish people in cars with banners saying vote for boris Johnson? Shouting "vote boris to save London" ARE You kidding me?what has he done
— C-H-A-Z-Z (@chazzinay_x) May 3, 2012
The election campaign became increasingly bitter over the past month, with Livingstone drawing heavy criticism from the Jewish community for comments he made in a closed meeting with Jewish Labor party activists. The former mayor said that Jews were unlikely to vote for him as votes for the Left are inversely proportional to wealth levels and that 'the Jewish community is rich'.
Livingstone also heavily courted London’s large Muslim population and has pledged to educate city residents about Islam and Muhammad’s last sermon. In comparison,
The Mayor, Boris Johnson took time to tour some of the Jewish hotspots of North London and Stamford hill last month amidst heavy shopping spree before and after the Passover holidays. Johnson met with local Jewish leaders, voters and also dropped into bakeries to shake hands with surprised customers who were out stocking their trollies stocking for the holiday or restocking after Passover.
“My job as the mayor of London is to represent all the city and bring people together, not try and play one group off against the other for some psephological calculations,” Johnson told The Jerusalem Post on the campaign’s Boris Battle Bus, referencing the election campaigning. “I think people in all communities recognize that’s the best way for the city.”
Boris Johnson’s visit to Stamford Hill brought with it his usual dose of comedy, the Hackney Citizen reported.
When at the Orthodox Union the Mayor was presented with a purple calendar by “the representatives of 70 Jewish institutions”, one of the onlookers drew attention to how it perfectly matched Mr Johnson’s tie. “In our religion”, the man said, “we do not believe in coincidences.” Mr Johnson replied: “If I have some sort of rabbinical endorsement, I feel much fortified in my campaign.”