Non-fans might not realise it but George Lazenby, the second actor to play James Bond in the film series, was followed in the part by Sean Connery, the man he’d replaced.
As Labour party members consider whether to adopt Oona King or Ken Livingstone as their 2012 candidate, it’s worth asking whether Boris, like Lazenby, could find himself playing Mayor for only a single outing before his own predecessor succeeds him in the role?
Also like the Bond films, where Connery only made one film after replacing Lazenby before handing the role over to Roger Moore, a Livingstone win in 2012 would surely see a new figure take up London’s leading role in 2016.
By that date Livingstone will be 71 and having served three out of four Mayoral terms would almost certainly be unable to ask Londoners for a further tenure at City Hall. Of course, if he doesn’t win Labour’s nomination next month the curtain will surely have fallen on Livingstone’s time as a front line politician.
So, dubious attempt at humour and dodgy analogy aside, 2012 is likely to be the final time either Ken or Boris seek election as Mayor given Johnson’s promise to serve only two terms. Although a 2012 defeat potentially allows him to come back for a third election, it seems an unlikely prospect.
At the risk of infuriating supporters of Oona, let’s imagine that the 2012 ticket is indeed a rematch between Ken and Boris, what should the Liberal Democrats, London’s third biggest party, do?
As an outsider it’s hard to detect too much momentum behind any potential LibDem candidate though it’s widely said first-term Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon might throw her hat into the ring.
Intelligent, personable and highly regarded even by political opponents in Southwark where she was previously a councillor, Pidgeon could be an effective Mayoral runner but she might be better waiting for the 2016 contest rather than risk being squeezed out by media focus on Ken v Boris part 2.
Of course, in the event that King secures Labour’s nomination the risks of the LibDem candidate being squeezed are lessened and other considerations will apply.
As a party of national government the LibDems will need to ensure whoever they run is a serious, heavyweight politician. That at least should save Londoners from serving as the test audience for Lembit’s stand-up act.