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London calling

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Astragal

With the farce of the London mayoral election entering its final act, spare a thought for the nearly man of capital politics, Nick Raynsford. For 48 hours last year the erstwhile minister for London was the official New Labour candidate - until President Blair dumped him in favour of failed health secretary Frank Dobson. Raynsford was supposed to be Big Frank's campaign manager, but has scarcely been in evidence since (he was away ill in January).

Raynsford can console himself with the thought that he was at least responsible for the mayor's new home, the glass bubble down by Tower Bridge, where building work starts next month. Promoted to minister of state at the DETR last year, Raynsford's career as a London politician is unlikely to have come to an end, especially if Labour's mishandling of its electoral process lets in Stephen Norris.

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