Liam Fogarty: Mayoral politics, Bristol-fashion
Sound policies and a decent track record are all very well.
But an election candidate in search of votes really can't beat an eye-catching item of signature clothing.
And to Harold Wilson's Gannex mac and Martin Bell's famous white suit we can now add George Ferguson's red trousers. George who?
This time tomorrow George Ferguson - architect, activist, entrepreneur and all-round local "character" - may well be the first directly-elected Mayor of Bristol. Visiting George and his team on Monday I was impressed - and I have to say just a little bit envious - to find a large, well-resourced and highly professional independent campaign outfit confident of breaking the traditional parties' hold on power in the city.
Bristol was the only one of 10 English cities to vote in favour of a mayoral system in referendums held in May. Liverpool, of course, had no referendum but, hey, that's another story.
Mr Ferguson is one of nine independents among the 15 candidates featuring on today's lengthy ballot paper. Local newspaper polls suggest that the Labour candidate Marvin Rees is the front-runner with around 20% of the vote. But that's way short of the 50% needed for an outright victory on the first count. It all points to a run-off with voters' second preferences being taken into account.
Mr. Ferguson - running under the label "Bristol 1st" - has been polling at around 9%, putting him in second place ahead of the Conservatives and Greens with the LibDems in fifth. The Ferguson camp insist their guy will benefit from an eve-of-poll "surge" that will carry him into the second count and, ultimately, the Mayor's office in Bristol's historic Council House.
The Ferguson team has been handing out scarlet "pantaloons" for people to display in their windows ( believe me, this looks better than it sounds) to show their support. Now it's up to Bristolians to choose their Mayor, and to decide who should be "wearing the trousers" in their city.
Liam Fogarty was an Independent candidate in Liverpool's Mayoral election in May.