The Thick of It


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Boris' war on roadworks

Yesterday's Evening Standard carried my comments on Monday's article about Boris Johnson's failed 'war on roadworks.' I said: 

Before he was elected Boris Johnson made much of blaming previous mayor Ken Livingstone for congestion and scoffed at his rival's claims that Thames Water were largely responsible for the huge increase in London roadworks. He now cites this as an excuse for the increase of roadworks under his own watch.
It was politically naive of Johnson to try to fight and win an a war on roadworks when if it was that easy Livingstone would have done it first. The affect of the additional congestion hits hard the poorest who rely on buses and those doing shift work, and Johnson's lack of action, combined with the huge increases in bus fares he has imposed, show that his priorities do not lie with them.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A summer of Boris

I'm back from a rainy South of France and pleased that I've found the sun in London. Spending my Sunday morning at London Fields Lido was very pleasant, my weekend only ruined by the England football team. Back onto politics...

I note that the Evening Standard audited Boris Johnson's two years as London mayor. I feel that the marks they awarded him are generous in the extreme:
  • Crime - causing turmoil by sacking Ian Blair, chairing the Met Police Authority then quitting shows Boris want to talk the talk but not walk the walk on crime
  • Environment - cutting bus funding, failing to extend the low emission zone and worsening air quality show a lack of concern for London's biggest issue
  • Transport - wasting money scrapping bendy buses while increasing fares by 50% show a lack of concern for the public transport using public, especially the poor who rely on buses
  • Housing - scrapping the requirement for developments to have a minimum percentage of affordable homes shows he doesn't care about London being affordable
  • Accountability - constant shirking of questions at Mayor's Question Time in the assembly and ducking difficult questions from journalists show that Boris is not prepared to stand up for his own administration
  • Value for money - Boris promised to give Londoners more bang for their buck - the millions wasted on his new bus for London shows he hasn't got a grip on the purse strings in the way he promised
All of the above are Boris' responses to the policy positions he inherited from Ken Livingstone. Johnson has no clear strategy and sought the mayoralty for the sake of power, not because he wanted to change London. The lack of clarity and lack of a theme running through his administration demonstrates this.

We are now past the half way mark in Boris' administration and I am yet to establish the point of it all.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

This blog is on holiday

This blogger is presently on holiday in Languedoc,France. So far I've spent a few days in Montpellier,travelled on their pretty trams and eaten some lovely food. I bought myself a copy of France Football magazine's world cup special and note that it makes not a single mention of Thierry Henry's handball. I'll be back in the UK in a week.