Remember a few months ago when I suggested the Greens or UKIP could beat the Liberal Democrats to third pace in the Mayoral race?
Two interviews this week with LibDem candidate Brian Paddick are making that prediction look a lot less fanciful than many suggested.
Across the week, BBC London’s crime, transport and politics gurus have been grilling the four main Mayoral hopefuls about their policies.
On Wednesday it was Brian Paddick’s turn and the end result made for uncomfortable viewing, not least the segment where transport correspondent Tom Edwards asked about about the cost of his flagship policy of ‘early bird’ and one hour bus tickets.
Here’s a transcript of the exchange, you can see the whole interview here.
Brian Paddick: “It has been fully costed…when you look at the alternative budget that the Liberal Democrats put forward when the Mayor put forward his budget, you can see the costings there. I don’t know what the figure is off the top of my head.
Tom Edwards: “Isn’t that embarrassing that you don’t know the figure?”
Brian Paddick: “It isn’t embarrassing at all. I am not somebody who is going to know the ins and outs of exactly what the detail is…”
Pushed by Tom he went on to say: “I have an excellent team of people behind me who know al the facts and figures and they are telling me we have done the sums…”
For a candidate not to know the cost of their own flagship policy is embarrassing, especially when you’re asked in the middle of a planned studio interview.
Today on LBC 97.3 Paddick was quizzed about the exchange, to which he responded “it’s not reasonable for me to know” how much each policy would cost.
You can listen to the LBC interview below:
The two exchanges bring back memories of the last Mayoral race when a Paddick campaign staff member got a little antsy after I asked what a policy would cost and where the money was coming from.
Since then Paddick has repeatedly promised his party he would be a better candidate. Neither interview delivers on that promise.
A candidate who can’t answer basic questions about their own policies has a serious credibility gap, not least when it comes to challenging rivals about theirs.
If Ken or Boris had suggested it was “ridiculous” to be able to answer questions about their own flagship policies, the LibDems would have been quick to denounce them.
Unless Paddick starts doing much much better, history might record his Boris bus joke as the highpoint of his campaign.
How many of those 91 LibDem members who opted for Paddick over Mike Tuffrey – one of City Hall’s renowned details men – now regret where they put their mark?