Monday, 5 March 2012

Boris faces a Santorum of a problem

Boris Johnson has announced nine key campaign slogans in his bid to retain the mayoralty of London. But in doing so, he has saddled himself with a Santorum of a problem which could come back to bite him if he really does have ambitions to become Prime Minister at some point down the line.

Fortunately for Boris, it's not the Google thing, but the accusation faced by US Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum that he spent all his time as Senator for Pennsylvania trying to get special deals for that state - earmarks in polite company or pork in the pejorative.

If you are a politician elected to represent a particular area then it helps your chances of re-election if you can point out that you have got a special deal for that area. In Boris' case, he has launched a campaign poster that says he will be 'securing a better deal for London from No 10.' That's all very well if you are trying to appeal to London voters. It shows up that Boris' chum Dave is the Prime Minister and he can get special treatment for the capital if he asks nicely. Ken Livingstone, on the other hand, hasn't got a hope of getting anything out of a Tory PM.

But how does that play with the rest of the country. If London is getting a better deal, surely that implies that the rest of the UK is getting a worse one? If you're not facing election in the rest of the UK then you could care less. But if Boris wants to be PM, how's he going to explain himself to the people of the UK as a whole.

Rick Santorum has faced just these problems. He may be popular in Pennsylvania for what he did to get better treatment for that state (that fact that he isn't is a whole different story) but he is facing a barrage of negative ads everywhere else.



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