It’s silly season and Corbynmania has taken hold but the impact that the Labour leadership race could have on the London mayoral election has been overlooked.
There is something fitting about the ballot papers for the Labour leadership race going out in the middle of silly season, and a sneaking suspicion that after the serious business of the general election, Labour supporters - who don’t think any of the candidates have a cat in hell’s chance of becoming prime minister in 2020 - will vote for left-winger Jeremy Corbyn not through deep-seated political conviction but simply to see him stir things up a bit - which he will.
All the talk of Corbynism and Corbynmania underscores the fact this is reality TV friendly, politics lite and ‘news’ that bookies are already paying out on bets only adds to the entertainment value. There is nothing silly about the potential ramifications, however. While Corbyn’s impact on the property industry, if he does win, would probably be little directly, it could be massive indirectly - on the London market, at least.
Such has been the focus on the leadership race that many have overlooked the fact the contest to select the Labour candidate for the London mayoral election is being conducted at the same time. The fate of the two contests is now intrinsically linked, with the influx of Corbynites signing up to vote on the former set to influence the choice of Labour candidate in the latter.
As Cain Hoy’s Jonathan Goldstein says: “The London mayoral race is clearly going to be affected by the emergence of Corbyn as leadership favourite. It seems counterintuitive that the same people who would vote for Corbyn would also vote for Tessa Jowell.”
This, of course, opens the door to David Lammy or Sadiq Khan or Diane Abbott. As we reveal this week, a number of big names in property have already backed mayoral candidates with sizeable donations, with Lammy in particular attracting support. He certainly has Goldstein’s vote. “He has the passion, intelligence and vision for London,” he contends.
However, many observers believe Khan could clinch it; he is backed by Ken Livingstone and the unions, after all. If he does, we will soon see if his claim to be pro-business stands up to scrutiny.
Whoever wins the Labour ticket will no doubt have a lot to say about how they plan to tackle the housing shortage ahead of the mayoral election next May. It’ll be a hot topic at RESI too (if you haven’t yet booked your place there’s still time, by the way - just go to www.resiconf.com), as will the construction crisis.
In the week Persimmon and Bovis warned of soaring construction costs, we assess the scale of the threat. Urban Splash’s off-site modular housing concept HoUSe, which Tom Bloxham concedes was driven in part by rising costs, is a neat solution but swerves the problem. The question is whether it can be tackled head-on - or if such solutions are now the only realistic way forward.