Like it or not, Ken Livingstone's decision to run as an independent has put a rather tigerish looking cat amongst London's proverbial pigeons. It's just two weeks, but already it's in the air. It's the middle of the rush hour. The guy in charge of the Tannoy had just finished announcing delays on the west-bound District line. He suddenly starts shouting: 'I've just got to tell everybody: Ken Livingstone is going to run for mayor.'
Both platforms sponta-neously erupt. Applause, cheer, punch the air. How do I know this? I'm sitting in a cafe, minding my own business. Three post office workers walk in and ask if they can share my table. After several unsuccessful attempts on my part to ignore the palpable waves of elation, I say: 'Look, I've just got to ask you: what's happened?' One worker replies: 'Our union branch has just voted to support Ken Livingstone for mayor.' I ask, 'Why?'
It seems one of Central London's major sorting offices at Mount Pleasant is going to be
shut. Ninety per cent of post going through it is directed - where? To London. But
never mind task force reports and sustainability, the Post Office's 'strategy' is that it's good for letters to get out and see the world and have lots of exercise.
Yes, it's true: in East London post has now got to go to Coventry and back before it can reach the bottom of your street.
Ken, though, had a mass meeting a few months ago to say he'd fight it. And so they voted for him. It doesn't matter whether it's Livingstone or someone else. What matters is that here is somebody we wanted, and we chose. He was not declared 'good' for us or right for us by yet another self-appointed body.
And after decades of the phoney fizz champagne and cocaine, it's time now for the real thing. What you can feel on the air today is democracy: the fizz of being heard and counting - and being part of the many.