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Thursday, 25 November, 1999, 18:21 GMT
The job nobody wants
Jeffrey Archer - who wants his job now?

By political correspondent Nick Assinder

The Tories are having a hard time finding somebody to replace Jeffrey Archer as their candidate for London mayor.

Even runner up Steve Norris is wondering whether he should stand again.

Much of his anxiety is based on the knowledge that the details of his well-publicised private life, which includes a string of mistresses, will be trawled over by the press for the umpteenth time.

The revelations did him little harm in the past, but there is a growing feeling that - in the wake of the Archer affair - voters have become more critical.

Would-be candidates now know they will have to be white than white.

No indiscretion will be unreported and no former "friend" will be trusted not to blow the gaffe on some long-forgotten scandal.

Apparently, that thought is enough to put many people off ever running for any political job.

Beauty contest

It is a trend which started in the United States and which has reached its height in Britain in the contest to beacon London mayor.,

Politics is taking a back seat and personality is becoming the major issue.

And few people appear to believer their past lives can take that kind of scrutiny.

It was always inevitable that the race to become mayor would turn into a personality contest.

There is on longer any huge ideological divided between the Conservatives and the Labour Party.

And, in any case, the London mayor will have little genuine political power - so the only thing left to argue over is personality.

It will be a bitter and hugely personalised campaign and many think it is the future of politics in Britain.

They believe election battles will increasingly turn into beauty contests along the same lines as US presidential polls.

And, they claim, that will ensure that many people will be refuse to become involved in politics all over again.

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See also:
22 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Tories punish Archer
22 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Who now for London Tories?

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