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Page last updated at 15:11 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 16:11 UK

The Blue Doughnut?

Andrew Cryan
The Politics Show
London

Boris Johnson  Image c/o PA
Is it pay-back time for Boris? Image c/o PA

"Ken Livingstone has neglected London's suburbs", declared Boris Johnson's manifesto.

Politicians and pundits alike put Boris Johnson's victory in last May's election down to a high turn-out in Outer London.

The Australian election strategist Lynton Crosby, who ran the Johnson campaign, is credited with masterminding the so-called "Blue Doughnut Strategy", which targeted voters in the outer boroughs, unhappy with the Livingstone regime.

Wooing the suburbs

The strategy seems to have worked. At the final tally, just 140 000 votes separated the two main candidates.

The majority won by Boris Johnson in Bexley and Bromley alone accounts for much of that margin...nearly 90 000 ballots.

The Conservative vote in those two boroughs went up by over 60,000 on the previous campaign, while the Labour vote went down by a thousand.

Ken Livingstone put less effort into wooing the suburbs. While Boris Johnson visited the Bexley and Bromley constituency four or five times in the campaign, Ken didn't manage a single visit.

At the height of the election campaign, one senior aide to Mr Livingstone told The Politics Show that the voters in the suburbs were apathetic about the outcome of the election and saw themselves as semi-detached from the business of City Hall.

Critics say Mr Livingstone ran City Hall with a similar attitude.

In his second terms as Mayor, Mr Livingstone only attended 72 events in Outer London. Some of these were on the same day.

Is 'doughnut effect' real?

But beyond voting patterns, is there anything really so different about the inner and outer boroughs?

Certainly clichés about wealthy, leafy suburbs and grimy, crime-ridden inner-cities don't stand up to analysis. For example, the nation's wealthiest borough is Kensington and Chelsea - firmly inner London.

At the same time, Enfield has the second highest murder rate in the capital, higher than inner city Hackney, Newham or Tower Hamlets.

Lambeth has the highest murder rate in the capital, but has higher household incomes than most of the city.

Pay-back time?

But despite the anomalies and the various and competing causes, the fact remains that without the strong support of suburban voters, Boris Johnson would probably not be our Mayor.

The question many are asking is whether it is now pay- back time.

This week the London Politics Show will be coming from two locations ¿ in inner and outer London.

In Bexley Justin Rowlatt we'll be talking to the former leader of Bexley council Ian Clement who is now deputy mayor in Boris Johnson's administration mayoralty with responsibility for liaising with the boroughs.

And in Brixton Tim Donovan will be talking to Ken Livingstone's former director of Equalities and Policing, Lee Jasper.

That is the Politics Show for London, with Jon Sopel and Tim Donovan on Sunday 22 June 2008 at 1200 BST on BBC One.

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