THE LAST WORD

This week we've had yet another twist in the seemingly never-ending saga of who will be the Mayor of London. Well, not actually that saga but one of its sub-sagas: who will be eligible to be the Conservative candidate to run for the post. And what a battle of Titans it is: Steve Norris, who as far as anyone knows has never done a thing, and Jeffrey Archer, who has done quite enough, thank you. A second-hand car salesman and a second-hand story salesman - what a pair.

If you're not up on the latest brouhaha, Norris has said the sort of thing people say about Archer every ten minutes and the silly bugger "forgot" that there was a radio crew following him around taping his every utterance, so it got on the news. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

What does this tell us? First that Norris is either far stupider or far cleverer than any of us had ever suspected. My money's on the latter - Mister Mistress is clearly capable of sustaining one of the most complex (and unlikely) love lives of modern political times - so you can't believe for a moment that he "forgot" about the radio crew. And as for "Lord" Archer - has anyone actually checked up on this peerage, or is this another embellishment? - is he really the best the capital can expect? Or is it Lurking Ken Livingstone? Or good old Glenda? (Does being on Morecambe and Wise truly befit a mayoral candidate?)

Of course, the smoke surrounding the people running for mayor means that the actual question of whether we really do need a mayor in some ghastly glass building in London has got pushed to one side. Of course we do, we're told; who could possibly vote "against" democracy? More democracy, democracy everywhere, we're all in favour of that, aren't we? After all, it was a central plank of the Government's manifesto; though, if we're honest, they could have put anything in that manifesto and we'd have voted for them.

Anyway, when it comes to being in favour of democracy, maybe I'm not. I spent August in Edinburgh and it was just dawning on an apparently stunned public that the Scots Parliament was in fact going to be peopled by a whole fresh intake of politicians. That's right, politicians, the least respected creatures in the universe. And folks were acting like they had been tricked by one bunch of politicians into voting in a whole lot of other politicians. Er, well yes. The 2p-in-the-pound-not-that-we'll-use- it-but-we-might-well-ban-smoking-in-public-places- Parliament means that there are lots of flats springing up on the Holyrood Road, lovely new hotels, cab companies lining up for the contracts the talking shop will be handing out. Fantastic. It might not have any powers but it's good for business - especially the business of politics. Lucky old Scotland.

But don't worry, we're going to get ours, too. That's right, we're promised a whole host of Regional Representative Bodies which will doubtless mean more po-faced made-up "traditions" - some East Anglian Assembly perhaps, with the Speaker dressed up as a whicker man. Or something. But what we get is another tier of local government. Mention that to most people and how do they react? Not with the hand-wringing enthusiasm that the Prime Minister shows for all things regional. And what are these assemblies going to do? The council does the bins, between clamping my car and fining me for my dog shitting on the pavement, so the mayor's office or the South- east Assembly or Home Counties Chamber will have to think up something else to do.

Of course, Steve and Jeff sum up the whole thing rather neatly - local government sucks up small timers like this, so really the Tories couldn't have plumped for two more ideal candidates. They rather make my point for me. And if this does go ahead and Jeff wins the Big One, the Government will get what it wants and, coincidentally, deserves - and one of its first visible achievements really will be Lord Archer as Mayor of London. And how could anyone vote against that?

`Al Murray - The Pub Landlord' is on national tour and will be at the New Ambassadors Theatre every Sunday from 26 September to 12 December.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

    £13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

    Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

    £19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future