The Thick of It

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ken versus Boris and Andrew

Taking transport and the so called "issue" of bendy buses in London, Andrew Gilligan has sought to attack Ken Livingstone's campaign in favour of his former paymaster Boris Johnson, yet again.

Despite the claims of Gilligan tonight that TfL's Peter Hendy acted politically in defending the use of these buses against Johnson's slurs, this wasn't the case. The "evidence" he presents shows Hendy defending the policy he enacted. That he names Johnson's campaign doesn't make a civil servant political, he was simply stating the case against someone who was criticising TfL policy. Civil servants are also meant to be anonymous traditionally, so Gilligan's article flouts that practice.

This is a red herring. Ken's transport policy for London is progressive, making travel affordable for those on low incomes and free for the young and old. Expanding the network by delivering Crossrail and better rail services will make London easier to get around for everyone. Contrast this with the Tory proposals. Replace bendy buses with an accessible Routemaster that doesn't exist. Scrap the £25 congestion charge for gas guzzlers. What effect will that have? The bendy buses will remain on the streets (where they are needed on crowded routes like the 38, 73 and 29), while the air will be more polluted. That is it. Progress versus regression.

The two visions laid out by the leading candidates for the Mayoralty are starkly different. One is ambitious, one is piecemeal at best. However, Ken's campaign needs to work hard to ensure this message gets through to voters. Johnson is being treated as a serious candidate because, with the help of his friends in the media and at Associated Newspapers, he is being seen as one, according to opinion polls.

This is going to be a hard fought campaign. For the first time since I was a pre-teen, the Tories are being treated seriously. However, the last time that happened, Labour had no record of delivery to speak of. Ken does and that gives him a position of strength.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

if all Boris can offer is the removal of the bendy buses and replace them with a fleet of Routmasters no doubt sitting at home in his garage yhen its a sad stae of affairs.we could all be enjoying the Crossrail system if a certain lady had`nt called it off a long time back, and it seems the only candidate with the necessary foresight to pull our city to the fore is Mr. Livingstone.who is also looking to the future in so many other ways.lets hope Ken gets a third term and can carry our great city forward.

Anonymous said...

if all Boris can offer is the removal of the bendy buses and replace them with a fleet of Routmasters no doubt sitting at home in his garage then its a sad state of affairs.we could all be enjoying the Crossrail system if a certain lady had`nt called it off a long time back, and it seems the only candidate with the necessary foresight to pull our city to the fore is Mr. Livingstone.who is also looking to the future in so many other ways.lets hope Ken gets a third term and can carry our great city forward.