The Green Party has had a constant presence at City Hall ever since the inaugural GLA elections and in 2012 ran the Lib Dems into fourth place, yet only now are the Labour party starting to take them seriously as a threat.
Having belatedly realised the General Election isn’t going to be a walk over, Labour has set up a unit tasked with scaring Green sympathisers with the prospect of a Tory government should they cast their votes for anyone other than Ed Miliband.
Instead of finding a big tent, persuasive and green friendly face to deliver this message, Miliband has given the job to Sadiq Khan, his highly partisan, pro-road building shadower of the abolished Minister for London post.
His job isn’t going to be all that easy.
Some of those he’s going to try scaring into the Labour camp are a lot more frightened of the health impact of the sort of new river crossings he’s backed than they are the thought of PM Boris leading a new Tory government.
Khan of course – though he likes to stall, fudge, hedge and ultimately snap when asked directly – wants to be Mayor in 2016 after a spell as the part-time MP for Tooting.
To succeed he’d need the second preference votes of Lib Dem and Green voters in order to pass the 51% threshold needed to win City Hall.
Bad mouthing the Greens between now and next May and working to unseat their sole MP doesn’t seem like the best way to win the necessary support.
But what it does do is further lock Khan into the discredited and relentlessly negative politics of Westminster from which voters are disengaging in ever greater numbers while fellow would-be Mayor’s David Lammy and Tessa Jowell get on with making thoughtful, positive and aspirational contributions about the capital’s future.
When he does eventually confess his Mayoral ambitions, Khan will be entering a crowded race already dominated by more likely looking victors. His latest job surely make the prospects of a Khan Mayoralty less, not more, likely.