Ken Livingstone got himself elected eight years ago as the candidate with the ideas, the candidate who transcended politics, as the man, dare we say it, who was born to do the job of London Mayor. The problem is for Ken now that familiarity has bred contempt, both in terms of the way the public perceive him and the way he does his job.
Recent months have seen him lose advisers, seen him rattled by his opponents, and seen him lose his sure footed ness with the press and the public, He has lost a bit of his swagger, he has lost that almost invincible feeling as he is not longer the candidate of change, the man to cut across political divides. Ken is now the Labour Mayor of London, and his party is no longer a help to him.
When he was elected in 2000, Ken was an independent, he was not a Blair man, and for all his faults, he appeared to deserve the chance. Indeed for many, the chance to elected a politician so loathed by Tony Blair seemed too good an opportunity to miss. When he was let back in to the Labour Party, it didn't really affect him too much. After all, it was clear he and Tony Blair still did not get on, and given the chance in 2004 to again thumb your nose at Tony Blair was a great way for even some Tories to give their vote to Ken. But 2008 is much different. ken appears to have no great problem with Gordon Brown, and vice versa. This may not be a correct analysis, but it is the perception, and this means now as the "official" Labour candidate, who endorses the government and is fully endorsed by the government, Ken cannot rely on the sympathy vote.
Recent decisions too to do deals with dodgy South American leaders to buy cheap oil might have been good business deals, but hardly given confidence to the city of London who worry about the reputation of London when its Mayor will shake hands with Hugo Chavez, a man who cares little about trade deals and legal issues in his own country, much to the detriment of companies listen on the FTSE 100.
It is this sort of arrogance that is making Ken Livingstone look vulnerable.
So today's news coverage of Ken was not a surprise. His Cheshire Cat grin remained, but he's lost his lustre, he is no longer the anti establishment man, he no longer stands for change, and what's more he looks worried, for probably the first time in his political career.