Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Southwark Council has been vocal in opposition to Johnson's decision to scrap the project. Johnson come into office claiming to be a mayor who would listen to the boroughs rather than dictate to them as he claimed Ken Livingstone did. Southwark's Lib Dem leader Nick Stanton claims that Johnson failed to consult with his council when he planned to scrap it.
Stanton is seeking support from other affected councils. I don't expect the Department for Transport to provide capital funding without the crucial TfL contribution from the mayor, or private funding. I expect Stanton's worthy fight to fail because the mayor isn't interested.
Perhaps spending valuable funds on the unnecessary Boris Bus might have allowed the mayor to contribute to the Cross River Tram. However, he has shown little appetite for funding projects that benefit those who voted for Livingstone, as Southwark, Lambeth and Camden (the areas to benefit most from the scheme) all did.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
In their 2008 annual National Census of Local Authority Councillors the Local Government Association asked our locally elected representatives a range of profiling questions. The results reveal a clearly defined image of England's councillors:
- 97% are white
- 87% are over 45
- 68% are male
I like to think that my pitch that as a young man I could offer representation of young people in the place of experience, at the 2006 local elections, helped me to significantly increase the Labour vote.
All of the major parties need to ensure their candidates look like the people they will represent. We need more young people, more women, more different people. I hope that I won't look at the same survey in ten years and see the same results.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Boris Johnson was elected stating he wanted to rid London's streets of bendys. He was also elected stating he wanted to give Londoner's "more bang for (their) buck." Scrapping the bendys was meant to make London's streets safer for cyclists, however, when pressed by the London Assembly, Johnson was forced to admit that bendys had killed no cyclists on London's streets. It now transpires that not only will scrapping the bendys not make London's streets noticably safer, the replacements will also cost Londoners more (thanks Boris Watch).
The new buses will be smaller, there will be more of them on the roads causing more congestions and they will cost more, with no discernable safety benefit. Is this the "common sense" politics we were promised by the mayor?
Further reading recommended at the Tory Troll.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
●The fall in house prices would mean London's £5billion housing budget, which will help homeowners avoid recession by taking temporary equity stakes in their property, would go further.
●Tourism and exports would be boosted by the fall of the pound with London representing greater value for money for foreign visitors and investors.
●The brightest graduates, especially scientists, who might otherwise have gone to work in the City, could look for work in the public sector, particularly teaching.
●Workers with more time on their hands because of the downturn could help tackle knife and gun crime among young people by volunteering.I spoke on this subject in December for BBC Radio Five Live's Richard Bacon show. My premise then and now is that whatever "benefit" side-effects of a recession may bring, it is inherantly a bad thing.
Our market economy is based on work. Work pays for food and shelter and to keep the rest of the economy going by allowing people to buy goods and services. Without work this collapses.
I'd prefer my mayor to be talking about what he plans to do to help Londoners through tough economic times, rather than telling them not to worry. Can't afford to go on holiday any more? Don't worry, you can look at all the tourists in London instead, taking advantage of the cheap pound. Great.
Johnson must be wrapping himself in a coocoon if he believes a recession will help tackle crim by providing more volunteers. Basic sociological theory suggests that unemployment leads to poverty and poverty is a drving force behind increasing crime.
If johnson is to really show that he intends to govern for all Londoners then he needs to start showing that he understands the stresses and pressures most of us are under. He isn't doing that. I don't expect him to do that. He doesn't know how.
Monday, January 05, 2009
The only reason I wanted a BT line was because it is a pre-requisite for a new Sky installation. Sky Sports is a pre-requisite for me, I need my cricket and football. I also need my broadband to work and write this.
I live on a small side street of three houses that shares the post code with the side of a main residential street. When I set up my BT account I was presented with the common question "what is your post code and house number sir?". To which I replied "that won't work as there are two number Xs on the same post-code." "That is fine, what is your address" replied the BT telephone executive. I gave the proper address and set the account up. The bills and paperwork arrived correctly. I had no reason to worry.
BT told me the line would be active by a certain date. When I tried the phone line after that date it was dead. Sky came and the installation failed because the BT line didn't work. I managed to circumnavigate the lack of a BT line to get Sky working. I called BT who promised to send an engineer the next day to fix the line. Sure enough, that Saturday morning in November BT texted me to assure me the problem was being investigated.
That afternoon the line didn't work. I called BT again and they promised to investigate further and send another engineer if needed. I hadn't been told that access to my property was needed, so I was surprised to find that engineer number two had left a "sorry you were out" card. Apparently the problem was deemed to lie in our property. When I pressed BT for information on the fault though, BT had no idea.
Another engineer was booked. My housemate came home early from work and waited. BT man didnt knock on the door. I called BT again. They "looked into the problem." They booked engineer number four. I asked why number three hadn't arrived. BT had no idea.
BT engineer number four was booked with explicit instructions to call my mobile when he arrived on another Saturday staying in. Four was only booked after four phone calls. I waited and waited. I even chased BT to remind them they had promised me an engineer. They confirmed. Four failed to show up. I hollered. I called BT and told them to tell me what was going on. BT had no idea.
Engineer five was booked for another weekday afternoon slot and housemate number two stayed in from work. Five called me in the morning to tell me he was outside. I asked if he was at a restaurant. He said nobody was in. I told him he was at the wrong address. BT had no idea but I had an idea. The engineers were failing to go to the correct address. Five investigated and said a hoist was needed for further innestigation. We couldn't take any more time off work and hoists were not available at weekends. When could this be fixed? BT had no idea.
Engineer six was booked after a number of robust conversations with my personal claim handler. I was now getting special attention, but I still didn't have a phone line or broadband. I was told my my special advisor that I had a white front door. The restaurant over the road, the other number X with the same post code has a white front door. Mine is grey, almost black. The BT engineers had either been lying, bluffing of been going to the wrong address.
I had also spent a total of four days waiting for phantom engineers and now had a fifth to look foward to. Six turned up on time and called me from the restaurant over the road. I told him to check my address more carefully and to cross the road to where I actually lived. I told him the history and that the line wasn't active. He checked. I told him to try to turn on my line and not that of the restaurant. He did. It worked. BT had turned on the wrong line and it took:
- A month to fix
- Six engineers + an unused hoist
- Four working days off work
- Over three hours of phone calls
I'm glad to be back blogging.