The Guardian has an interview with Caroline Pidgeon, the Lib Dem candidate for London Mayor. After disclaiming any responsibility for the cold that has afflicted all the candidates, she says this about her campaign:
Overall, it’s gone well. Ordinary people are saying they like what I’m saying on childcare and cheaper fares that are affordable. And that’s not just in places where we are strong, like Sutton, or in Bermondsey, where I’m known.
She says this of her two main rivals, Zac Goldsmith and Sadiq Khan and the dirty campaign they have been running:
I think both of them, but particularly Zac, will wish they hadn’t done it. It’s damaged their reputations. Zac has always been seen by most people as a decent kind of guy.
On the doorstep voters are still confused about the voting processes for the London elections – and that is not surprising because they will be presented with three ballot papers, each using a different voting system.
Every household in London has been sent a booklet from London Elects – running to 32 pages – which carries profiles of the Mayoral candidates and explains how to cast votes in the Assembly elections.
The first (pink) ballot paper is for London Mayor, and has two columns, one for the voter’s first choice and one for the second choice. This uses the supplementary vote system, which although appearing very similar to the alternative vote method (which we all know everything about, don’t we?) actually has a sting in the tail. The second preference only kicks in if no candidate achieves more than 50% in the first round. The second round eliminates all candidates apart from the top two, so second preferences for anyone other than the top two will be discarded.
Of course, we are encouraging people to vote for Caroline Pidgeon as their first preference. But if she is not elected then voters’ second preferences are quite crucial in determining whether, say, Sadiq Khan or Zac Goldsmith.
The second (yellow) ballot paper is for the London constituency member. London has been divided into 14 rather large constituencies, each covering several parliamentary constituencies. Each of these will return an Assembly member using First Past the Post.
The Assembly is then topped up with 11 more London-wide members. They are elected through a list system which aims at getting proportional representation across the whole Assembly. The third (orange) ballot paper, gives a choice between party lists and a few independents. The Lib Dem list has been labelled ‘Caroline Pidgeon’s London Liberal Democrats’.
The London list is very significant for our party because all of our Assembly members in the past have been elected from this list. Last year London Lib Dems were able to vote for the list candidates – under STV, of course – and at the top of the list we find Caroline Pidgeon, Emily Davey, Merlene Emerson and Rob Blackie.
London Lib Dems are trying to get across the simple message ‘Vote orange on orange’, but even that is not straightforward because the so-called orange ballot paper has turned out to be more of a shade of peach.
* Mary Reid is the Monday Editor on Lib Dem Voice.