100 days of vicissitude

We read this paean to Boris Johnson's leadership as Mayor of London over the weekend. What we found most striking was that at almost no point did the initial article or any of the gushing responses mention anything that he's actually done during his tenure. So here is our list of his more eye-catching moves - have you noticed any changes, good people of Brockley?


· Scrapped C02 charge - the £25 charge for gas guzzlers using central London


· Hired and fired Ray Lewis


· Hired and fired James McGrath


· Appointed Kulveer Ranger as transport adviser. Ranger promptly signaled that pedestrians, cyclists and buses will no longer be given priority over cars in London planning issues


· Scrapped the plan to pedestrianise Westminster Square (a world heritage site) and create a major new public space, preferring to keep it as a traffic roundabout. A plan to create a new boulevard along Victoria Embankment is also set to be dropped


· Appointed an advisor to find out which football club wants to move in to the Olympic Stadium (the answer, as has been known for months, is none) and discovered the answer is none


· Acknowledged that the modern Routemaster design he was so fond of during his campaign was little more than a napkin scribble, by announcing a competition to design... a modern Routemaster


· Banned alcohol on the tube, bringing a notional end to drunks on the underground


· Merged Design for London in to the LDA, with the result that Peter Bishop, DfL Director, said that he expected most DfL projects to continue but some small schemes may be “shed or wound up”. Design for London was a key source of potential funding for projects like the improvement of Brockley Cross, Brockley Road, Ladywell Village and Lewisham Way

54 comments:

Headhunter said...

I knew Bojo would be a disaster. He just panders to wealthy West Londoners and really all they care about at a local level is whether they can drive Tarquin and Jemimah to school in the 4x4 and stop off on the way back for a latter with chums.

His cycling that got so much media attention pre election was just fluff. So far at least he hasn't pushed through his plan to allow motorbikes into bus lanes, eroding one of the only "safe" havens cyclists have from hoards of traffic

lb said...

He's done nothing of substance, which I think neatly demonstrates the obvious problem with the whole Cameron - Bojo axis. It has all the weight of the Blue Square blimp.

Headhunter said...

The only thing I'm hoping he'll push through is his promise to re-categorise gardens from brownfield sites to err... Gardens, so that builders will no longer be able to buy them up and build all over them. That should help protect some of the long gardens in the Brockley cons area

Headhunter said...

I agree, LB, nothing of substance. At least Ken, love him or hate him, actually pushed through some fairly radical ideas like the congestion charge, investment in buses/bendy buses etc

Amanda said...

I have been completely underwhelmed by him. There's no vision or excitement about the possiblities London. At the very least I was hoping for some exciting announcements about bikes.

Right now he's in the process of severing the contract between TFL and the providers of the Oyster card technology, apparently this will money. But they 'Tran-Sys" aren't going to go without a fight and have said if you get rid of us, we are taking the Oyster card name. So they either receive a large payout to relinquish the name or everyone has to get newly named cards.

lb said...

All these New Tories are very adept at spinning media-friendly shtick engineered to go down well with the average Waitrose customer, but yeah, this has yet to be backed by anything other than calls for 'discussion' the issues - no sign of any tangible policy.

I suspect this is mainly because if they tried to do anything genuinely radical (not that they would; I doubt any of them are committed modernisers) the party membership, which is still largely over 70 and mired in some kind of pre-Suez alternate reality, would rise from its slumbers and tear the whole party apart again, as happened in the 1990s over Europe.

max said...

You can see the London Assembly works on BBC iPlayer.

This is funny though:
http://tinyurl.com/5exaq5

max said...

A warning, the sight of the smug face of the Tory member that spends 10k a year on cabs can raise your blood pressure. It does raise mine.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

yes, its quite interesting watching the mayor question time. There is a really funny labour guy called john something. He's actually very witty and often wrong foots the mayor.

One of the mayors good things is to appoint a new guy (can't remember his name) but he has promised to take a 'common sense' approach about issues and sweep aside 'political correctness'. I think this is a good thing, but judging by some of the knee jerk responses that I receive on here I have no doubt alot of you will be really peed off.

Headhunter said...

But Andy, appointing some highly paid bvureaucrat to "sweep aside 'political correctness'", is even more vacuous than political correctness in the 1st place.

Lets sweep aside, spin, non-policies and all meaningless rubbish like this and actually get on with some real policies addressing real problems like pollution, overcrowded transport and accommodation in London.

As I said, Ken, love him or hate him, actually risked his career pushing through some brave policies

MB said...

My chum who works in TfL's major projects division tells me that their boss has taken to reading the press releases to try and glean what the high level strategy is - they don't know what projects theyt are supposed to be concentrating on. They've not had any guidance so far, which dosn't say much for his leadership credentials.

lb said...

If anyone can come up with any real evidence that "political correctness" has somehow hamstrung the smooth administrative functioning of London's political bodies any more than things like poor management and organisation have, I'll eat my hat.

I'm convinced the whole "political correctness" thing is largely a myth, much like the old 'Councils ban Christmas' story, which is dutifully debunked each year in the Grauniad. How is 'common sense' being interfered with, exactly?

The Brockley Telegraph said...

its on the this is london website. He wasnt appointed specifically to sweep aside political correctness, more that its approach to tackling issues. I cant remember what his brief was. Im quite encouraged by it.

lb said...

Yes, but my point is that he's championing an 'approach' that isn't really necessary, because the problem doesn't exist in the first place. This is just spin to take advantage of the average Londoner's paranoia.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

i could quite happilly tell you facts endorsed by scotland yard that would be deleted on this blog due to political correctness. Im not going to repeat them here as i want this comment to stay.

lb said...

Was it Anthony Browne, by any chance?

lb said...

[TBT] Assuming you mean the "stastistics" on knife crime and on certain social groups, I'd draw your attention to the figures I posted elsewhere on knife crime in Scotland, which indicate that the real underlying factor in this kind of crime is poverty, as any number of studies probably bear out.

By the way, the Grauniad article contains a link to this rather neat review of Browne's latest book, giving an insight into the kind of crackpot thinking that Bojo is building into his administration. I suppose you find this 'encouraging'?

The Brockley Telegraph said...

cant remember. All i know is that he is coming from a similar position to me. I.e, welcomes equality for gays, women, etc but is not afraid to talk about non p.c issues. A true liberal.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

i agree, its caused by poverty. But part of that problem is self induced. But its not 'pc' to talk about that because of the social group they belong to. Another good place to research is 'civitas' an independant academic research centre that has highlighted a growing trend in these type of 'no go' areas effecting society.

lb said...

Yeah, it's Browne - trotting out the usual hackneyed sh*te about the stifling influence of PC.

No sort of liberal I recognise.

lb said...

Yeah, it's Browne - trotting out the usual hackneyed sh*te about the stifling influence of PC.

No sort of liberal I recognise.

lb said...

Yes, I know all about Civitas - exactly the sort of nest of Blimpery that appeals to Browne's readers.

Civitas has been peddling the anti-immigration line for years; it may be 'independent', but it has a reasonably sharply-defined political agenda to push.

Headhunter said...

Andy - I notice that you have already got yourself published in the "have your say" bit under the article!

Do dah said...

I think it would be helpful if you, Andy simply got to the point. I don't think anyone is afraid of honest debate. If a certain section of society has a particular negative output, it needs to be examined. But not simply to demonise them but to resolve the matter.

lb said...

More to the point, what does everyone else (other than Andy) think about Bojo appointing Browne as policy director?

Is this really the sort of thinking we want informing policy on, well, anything really?

Brockley Nick said...

And in the finest traditions of Andy's rants, he misses the point.

Nick Cohen:

"It's not political correctness he (and they) are against but the perversion of liberalism..."

Andy:

"I have also reached the same conclusion... I want to establish a debate around the facts but we are not allowed to do that nowadays - all in the name of political correctness."

lb said...

"He accepts the liberation of women and the campaigns for racial and homosexual equality - how could he do anything else when there are more gays in the London Tory party than Old Compton Street"

This reminds me of the remark attributed to 'Finchy' in an episode of The Office: "How could I hate women? My mother's one". Or something along those lines.

lb said...

Actually, as a nice taster of Browne's 'truly liberal' views on female equality, he "claims women are paid less than men for the sole reason that they insist on taking time off to have children", according to the Independent's review of his grubby little pamphlet.

Anonymous said...

Fair play to him. No point pandering to the 'trendy Trinny' greens - they won't be around to help us when london grinds to a standstill after eliminating major arterial junctions like the one in Westminster.

The c-charge decision took balls to - but was needed, a triumph of common sense over 'OMG 4x4s are killing the world!!2' lunacy...

Tj said...

Lb - I heard him say similar on Radio 4...

but although I agree with the BoJo comments - I do think Nick you are too harsh to discard the drinking on the public transport as notional. It's a positive step forward and should have been done a long time ago.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

its quite funny how things change. It was about 10 yrs ago that I was even advocating abolishing the monarchy. The years under labour have made me yearn to protect these very institutions. I think in a few years time I will be left of spectrum again, but the reactions (some on here) has informed me that things have certainly gone to left wing.

Regarding women at work. Its widely known that employers are fearful of recruiting women as often they go off on maturnity leave leaving the employer having to find a new ee (doubling the wage cost). Not exactly profitable is it. My position is that I find it unfair women are allowed to take extended leave whilst the father gets something like 3 weeks. It should be equal, irrespective of sex. (this is just another example of inverse discrimination).

Interestingly enough. I understand from my mother, a member of the Cipd, that there is plans to allow the time off to be shared between both parents. This is where we should be.

Brockley Nick said...

Tj - it was more to do with the fact that there was no consultation before it was introduced and it is widely regarded as unenforceable.

I don't disagree with the policy, but if it's not supported, then it's hard to see what will change. I've seen drunk people throw up and / or start fights on the trains and the tubes - they've not been drinking at the time - they've obviously got hammered earlier in the night (or worse, the day). I don't know what you can do about that problem, but bannning people from drinking doesn't sound like it will solve the bigger problem. Do you think they will also ban booze on the trains? They'd have to stop selling it first...

Anyway, apologies for the sarcasm - lowest form of wit, etc.

ton up tory said...

Just wish he would hurry up and allow motorbikes in the bus lanes as promised and save a few lives..... see the result of the pilot Ken supressed.

Headhunter said...

Motorbikes in bus lanes? Save a few lives?! I very much doubt it! I find the biggest threats to me as a cyclist are pedestrians and motorcylists. Both make sudden, unpredictable moves. Pedestrians often step off the pavement in front of cyclists without a glance when they see gridlocked traffic and motorcyclists are often trying to squeeze their fat machines through gaps big enough only for a pedestrian or a cyclist and blocking my way forward, either that or they're swinging about all over the road trying to get through traffic.

I predict once Bojo brings his stupid motorbike policy in, we'll see a lot more collisions between motorbikes and cyclists.

Anyway I've been through this before.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

nick, the name of the article on the 'this is London' website is called 'our new man in town to fight political correctness' . The man they are talking about also says this himself in the article.

I hope people on here will read the article and judge the way you tried to discredit my position above as purely political, like it truthfully is.

Monkeyboy said...

Now Nick, you of all people should know not to feed the troll. I keep doing it but am trying to wean myself off. Now he thinks he's a persecuted visionary - upsetting the status quo with his genius - the Galileo of SE London if you like, when all he really is a tw.....

Doh! I'm doing it now!

By the way for an insight into spin just read any political commentary by George Orwell - it was happening long before we spent 8 hrs a day in front of the telly, it's not new.

ton up tory said...

"motorcyclists are often trying to squeeze their fat machines through gaps big enough only for a pedestrian or a cyclist and blocking my way forward, either that or they're swinging about all over the road trying to get through traffic"

Exactly why they should be in the bus lanes where they wouldn't have to do either of the above and would be more visible to cyclists pedestrians and all other road users.

Anyway don't believe me read this http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/main.jhtml?xml=/motoring/2008/01/26/mflane126.xml

Anonymous said...

IIRC Ken said he would allow motorbikes in bus lanes (after being lobbied by the MAG - Motorcycle Action Group) 5 years ago, if he was elected for a 2nd term. Once in power, it seems that this promise was conveniently forgotten. I'm willing to be corrected on this though.

Strange thing is though, is that I don't think it's a good idea now. It'll attract too many idiots onto powered two-wheelers, and there are enough of them already to give the rest of us a bad name. (Scooter drivers in general being the worst).

The convenience of driving and parking a motorbike has been made a whole bunch more difficult with the arrival of these johnny-come-lately c-charge dodgers! Harumph.

I'll get back to my Telegraph now.

Anon 18:23 said...

Good find ton up tory. I didn't see your post.

Sue Luxton said...

A Green take on the Mayor's first 100 days from Darrren Johnson (no relation!).

Anonymous said...

HH - how can you have a problem with motor bikes? Given your persistant rants against cars I imagined a less polluting and congesting form of transport would be acceptable to you? Or are you simply against anything with an engine?

Headhunter said...

Yes, less polluting but still often bloody dangerous. To mix a potentially extremely fast moving mode of transport capable of sudden acceleration and change of direction with a slow, pedal powered mode of transport in the same lane and then chuck in a sprinkling of 20 metre long bendy buses for good measure, I think we have the perfect recipe for death and maiming on the roads.

I'm not necessarily saying that cyclists are the perfect road users, always well behaved etc etc, and I definitely would not say that motorcyclists and moped riders are, but to mix the 2 in bus lanes is just madness

Headhunter said...

Sue - depressing to see Bojo's reversal of all Ken's good work. I sincerely hope that he gets the boot in the next election and that we can bring Ken back

drakefell debaser said...

I have noticed a huge increase in the amount of transport police on the underground since Boris arrived on the scene and think the ban on drinking on the underground is a positive thing. I also agree with his decision to terminate the cheap diesel trade with Chavez that ken instigated and welcome any attempt to reduce wasted money on dodgy projects – Lee Jasper et all. Yes those on income support will no longer be able to travel half price on the bus now but could London be proud in dealing with such a person and trade CCTV camera technology and finger print scanning which I am sure Chavez would use so well to look after his people? Let’s not forget the other dodgy characters ken invited to London and paraded around like his mates. The issue with the desalination plant was I believe offset by Thames waters agreement to be more cooperative with regards to digging up the roads, which adds a significant amount to the congestion London faces and pollution as cars don’t move fast enough when there are no roads to go on. Ken decided that court action was the way spending millions no doubt on the court case. The same goes with the court case against Porsche etc which would have cost millions as well because no car manufacturer would sit back and let ken ruin their marque. I also agree with his stance on race issues in that if you choose to focus on something like this so much it will bring problems – I am sure our own Brockley Telegraph could tell a tale or two on this. The Greens of course were deep inside Kens pocket and the whole Ken number 1 and Sian number 2 or vice a versa proved that so it is hardly surprising to read the previous article by Darren Johnson which to be fair is a little one sided.

Brockley Nick said...

@DD - agreed on Chavez, Jasper, dodgy Muslim clerics and Rise.

All that totemic stuff was Ken's undoing. Unfortunately, the real issues are transport, planning, the environment and - to the limited degree that he has any powers in this area - crime. And in those aspects, most of his actions thus far have been regressive or non-existent.

Do dah said...

That policy was a mixed bag, it would have allowed a lot more cars to enter into central London free, so increasing congestion. But the trade off was that they would be less polluting. The longer term affect of the policy would have been to promote a small car culture as pretty much only they can achieve the comparatively low emission level of 120g/km of CO2.

This was and still is an important consideration, because a lot people still equate a 'big engined' car with success. That was a plank upon which Porsche were going to fight the case.

"We believe that it sends out the wrong message about London as a place to do business and will make successful people look at other cities to locate."


No the message it sends out is that London is a place where people are down to earth and don't need to partake in conspicious consumption in order to validate their existence.

Headhunter said...

Exactly Nick. Most Londoners seem concerned about transport, pollution and crime. With the exception of perhaps the latter, Ken made some very big and bold steps

lb said...

DD - the Thames Water thing had nothing to do with them being 'more cooperative' about digging up roads. Livingstone was insisting that (rather than build the desalination plant) Thames first tackle the enormous wastage through leaking water mains - something which really ought to be addressed at some point in the future.

Thames were only too glad to see the back of any attempt to make them repair the pipes, it was a win-win deal for them. Johnson just caved in.

Headhunter said...

....So now we have situation whereby Thames Water is allowed to p*ss away millions of gallons of water through ancient Victorian pipes, whilst buidling an enormous, energy inefficient de-salination plant to fill the gap in water supply and demand, whilst charging us for the pleasure (see yesterday's articles - Thames Water are already raising their prices).

As LB says, Bojo caved, as he caved to Porsche and caved to West London 4x4 drivers. The man has no spine.

Malpas1 said...

Despite all these claims about drinking on the underground being banned and an increase in BTP officers, over the past week I have twice found myself sitting opposite passengers openly drinking cans of lager with impunity, and being harrassed for small change by 'travellers'....

nsfr said...

If the people drinking weren't causing trouble then what's the problem?

Headhunter said...

They may not have been a problem, but it's just an illustration of how pointless Bojo's headline grabbing "no alcohol on public transport" policy is, and exactly how unenforcable.

Anonymous said...

People could argue that he'd 'caved' to the trendy green Tarquins if he'd let the C-charge plans go through as they are...

patrick1971 said...

ISTR reading somewhere that now that Thames Water has fixed a lot of the leaky pipes, previously moist soil is drying out, thus causing subsidence - a classic case of the law of unintended consequences. I think I read that it had been identified as a problem in Telegraph Hill, in fact. Tamsin?

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