Can A-list gays slay Mayor Ken?

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Tongue firmly in cheek, Tony Grew takes a look at the Tories hoping to be London’s next mayor

A few months ago Dave “I ride huskies” Cameron announced that from now on the Tories would embrace “American-style” selection tactics for the race to be the Tory candidate for mayor in the 2008 election.

In what the party like to describe as an “X-factor” competition, Londoners of all parties and none will be invited to vote on the various candidates and pick a winner.

Critics have been quick to point out that the main candidates so far are hardly likely to generate screaming crowds of teenagers, Shane Ward-style.

Despite the Conservative party’s decision to extend the deadline for six months – presumably to try and attract some better-known candidates – there are already a few front-runners that the gay community would do well to take note of.

LBC liberal-bogeyman Nick Ferrari is deluded enough to think he stands a chance of being elected – that is almost sweet. He evidently thinks that as his brand of loud ignorant racism is listened to by cab drivers, and every time he gets in a cab they know who he is, that somehow the rest of Londoners adore him.

Nick, word to the wise – no-one listens to LBC. Really, nobody, apart from cab drivers. They love you, I will give you that. Everyone else thinks you are an idiot, a rent-a-quote, and instinctively the worst possible person to represent London in any context, never mind as our esteemed mayor.

Ferrari said that “bookies odds” portray him as a front runner, and that the Conservatives would do well picking him. Just savour this quote from the man with the golden mouth, on why he would be a good choice for the Tories: “Would they rather go for a white, slightly heavy, but nevertheless good-looking and virile radio presenter who can win?

“Or – purely for the sake of argument – a black woman from the East End of London, who nobody perhaps had heard of, who ticked all the right boxes but finishes fifth.”

Thank the Lord he will be crushed like a little grape if he comes within sniffing distance of nomination.

Another bright idea is former top-cop Lord Stevens, formerly Sir John Stevens.

Right – so who would like to vote for a man who headed London’s most racist public service during one of its worst periods of strained race relations?

What about you sir – the man at the back whose son was murdered? The Met messed up the investigation because they are a bunch of white middle-aged bigots, you say? Over your dead body, you add?

Another vote winner.

The Tories are also talking up Lord Coe, who may be somewhat busy with that little sporting competition he is bringing to town. No, Coe would be an ideal candidate after a successful Olympics.

So who are the other candidates set to shake the Tory party? Who will be stepping into the shoes of Lord Archer, the well-known novelist, liar, adulterer and perjurer, and Steve ‘Shagger’ Norris, the five-times-a-night love machine who failed to topple Ken on two previous occasions?

The exciting list so far includes: a man who once stood for parliament but didn’t get in and a man who is in the London Assembly but I have never heard of.

Then there is Andrew Boff – a former candidate for mayor of Hackney. No, he isn’t going to win it either, though he is a gay, which is nice for him.

This being England there is the traditional mad person, Lee Rotherham, who is campaigning to abolish the mayoralty altogether.

There are also two councillors from Tory rich-bitch heartland Kensington Chelsea. Get these names and see how you think these Conservative fillies will go down with the voters of Brixton: Warwick Lightfoot and Victoria Borwick. I mean really – you people have no chance.

The final candidate I have heard of – he has carpetbagged over from losing Hove at the last election to Celia Barlow, by a mere 420 votes.

Nicholas Boles is A-list. He is top mates with new-Tory faces like your Ed Vaizeys and your George Osbornes. Currently director of think-tank Policy Exchange, he is a former Tory councillor in Westminster. He is also an out gay man. This could be a winner for the party if they have the sense to pick him.

Boles would bring wide support from the most prominent community in London, the gays. They are in every borough and they will get out the vote for one of their own. But can I make one suggestion?

Intelligent as Boles is, he is hardly a looker. They need to get him a glamorous running mate, perhaps fellow A-lister and gay icon Adam Rickitt.

They could even adapt his hit single Breathe Again as a campaign tune, backing the green message of Cameron with some wicked disco beats.

In seriousness, this is an opportunity for the Conservatives to demonstrate real change. London is the most diverse electorate in the country. If Londoners can be convinced that the party has changed, it will be the breakthrough they need.

It was very smart of Cameron to take the decision out of the hands of the dinosaurs that run the Tory party and turn it into a public vote. Let us hope for his sake it is not Nick Ferrari, or some heavy-thighed braying Chelsea trustafarian called Victoria, or some faceless Assembly member that emerges as the victor.

With Boles and a bit of fairy dust, and a bit of Rickitt, they could carry it off.