Over the past few months Boris has been making a lot of unsubtle noise about a possible third-term at City Hall.
When he suggested on LBC radio that crowds of Londoners might yet take to the streets and demand he remain in his current role, he was rewarded with predictable acres of publicity.
What’s interesting to note is that, with the exception of a few lone voices on the left, there were no howls of anguish or outrage that he might seek to extend his stay at City Hall.
Are Londoners simply not listening, assuming he’s joking or actually content to keep paying his wages?
Boris has of course famously said he’d only serve two terms and members of his team have suggested that Ken Livingstone’s two failed re-election attempts show Londoners have decided to impose a term limit on the role.
I think they’ve got that wrong.
In 2008 people were fed up with Ken and Boris appealed to them enough to take a punt. In 2012 he’d done well enough to claim a – slightly threadbare – record but had managed not to annoy enough voters that they felt like exercising ‘Buyer’s Remorse’ and re-electing Ken.
If Boris has, or does, change his mind about a third term I suspect few Londoners would hold his past undertakings to serve only eight years against him.
The sophisticated London electorate would understand that people’s ambitions and views change – especially if Boris showed a little humility and contrition as he made his announcement.
Perhaps – for a bit of sunshine fun – that announcement would go a little like this:
“…that old rogue Livingstone made the job look so easy. Of all the deceptions he pulled off while at City Hall, that was the most audacious. And do you know why? Because it took me in, ladies and gentlemen!
The truth is, being Mayor is harder than it looks. It takes more time, more effort and more farsightedness than I realised in 2008.
And that lack of realisation meant I got things wrong. But I’ve learned a lot since then.
I now realise how important it is to plan ahead, to develop schemes even when there’s no money to build them, and how a Mayor must do more than wait for a friendly Government to come along and hand them the cash that London so badly needs.
I’ve been busy making up ground in the 14 months since Londoners re-elected me.
I brought together the best minds in London to develop proposals to secure our financial autonomy, I’ve secured major investment from foreign companies that will transform vast swathes of under-developed land and I’ve published a vision for our city’s future growth and development.
But I don’t just want to publish ideas in the hope that future Mayors will be up to task of delivering them.
I want to be the Mayor who wins London the right to keep more of its money. I want to be the Mayor who presides over the largest shift from motor vehicles to the bicycle ever seen in Europe and I want to be the Mayor who not only opens Crossrail but digs the first hole for Crossrail 2.
But I can’t do all those things by 2016. Projects of this scale not only take time, they require experience and know-how.
I worry that a new Mayor, an inexperienced Mayor, would make the same mistake I did and fail to understand that the pressure for change and greater investment cannot be relaxed even for a minute.
I don’t want to risk this city’s future in the hands of a David Lammy or a Sadiq Khan.
And so that’s why I’m running for a third term…”