Is Boris waging war on us?

Simon Jenkins uses his Evening Standard column today to suggest that the Mayor is at war with South London. He says:

This spring no fewer than five crossings are to close, a sure sign of revolution in the air. South London must have had enough and is on the brink of independence. The Mayor, Boris Johnson, means to seal it off.

Odd that it's a few roadworks that have set him off, rather than the cancellation of the Thames Gateway bridge, the cross-river tram, the Greenwich Waterfront Transit scheme or the Rotherhithe bridge. But then these were all east London projects.

While he namechecks Greenwich, Blackheath, Woolwich, Dulwich and Crystal Palace as he goes, he's really thinking about south west London. The giveaway is that he complains about the cancellation of a project (which was never really on the cards) to link north london to Battersea by tube, arguing that the project was sacrificed in favour of things that did nothing for south London, like the DLR extension (to Lewisham), the Jubilee Line (to Greenwich) and Crossrail (to Woolwich). He forgets about the East London Line entirely.

Still, the overall narrative that north and south London are too disconnected is one that we agree with and one that we've written for South East London in the past.

But then when he says that the 'South' has lost its temper with Boris, does he mean us? Or the good people of Wimbledon?

With thanks to Darryl at 853.

15 comments:

Matt-Z said...

It's a good rant from Jenkins, but the piece is full of inaccuracies. For one the 'Chelney Line' is still a prospect (albeit a distant one), either as a tube or a 2nd Crossrail. It stands a good chance of being the next major transport project after Thameslink and Crossrail. Also the southbound Blackwall tunnel will only be closed overnight. That said he does highlight the fact that in south London we are short on good roads. Rightly, there is not much prospect of a grand road building scheme (though a new Thames Crossing would help), so more should be invested in public transport.

Tamsin said...

Well, taking an overall rather than strictly personal or parochial view, we have had the Croydon tram-link (on the corpse of the old Addington(?) line) and, of course, the massive investment in the ELL extensions.

Buses are also bigger and (at least arguably for some) better - the bendy buses and the monsters now on the 343 route.

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I think Jenkins has a point. Labour Lewisham has refused to Challenge Southern Railways decision to withdraw the last few through services from Brockley to Charing Cross as well as the cuts in the services to London Bridge, despite the fact that the MP appears to oppose the cuts.This is another example of how the Council is run by incompetent bureaucrats who care nothing for the people who they allegedly serve. It is well known that the Highways Department is useless and incompetent. The councillors say that the mayor is unhappy with Highways so the big question is why does he do nothing about it?

Anonymous said...

The article is about the mayor having no interest in s London, not local authorities.

Paul W said...

My top candidate for the post-Crossrail era would be the Tottencup or Sidenham line, a new deep tunnel tube, starting at Tottenham Hale, then through Hackney, Canary Wharf, North Greenwich, Charlton and Eltham to Sidcup. An alternative terminus in the north would be Finsbury Park, in the south Orpington or even Ebbsfleet. To be opened by King William V on his 50th birthday in 2032.

We're always being told that the centre of gravity in London is shifting esatwards with Canary Wharf as a second businness district to rival/complement the City. This line would put money where the mouth is.

Anonymous said...

Christ, don't let lou see that proposal. It may finish him

Brockley Nick said...

Lou doesn't want to go to any of those places. Start again, remembering to run the line directly through Telegraph Hill.

Lou Baker said...

@nick

Well said. I'd like to see the Bakerloo line come right through Nunhead and Brockley.

That'd be nice - and it may not be such a pipe dream.

Oh and Simon Jenkins is a twit. Except the bit about the South Circ.

full circular said...

Bakerloo Line?

What is the point, it just takes you to a load of dumps.

patrick1971 said...

And how lucky we are in south London to be short of "good" roads. I'm not sure I'd like a motorway to come right in to the suburbs, as they do in north London (M1) and west London (Westway). We do have New Cross Road, but even that's not as bad as Finchley Road.

Anonymous said...

We have been joking about the gradual containment of SE london for years for instance when one of the ferries at Woolwich disappears. Perhaps we should get the army to build us a bridge like Wokington!

Tamsin said...

Only just now got around to reading the Standard piece. Fun. But I am with the poster above - thank heavens for the nutty cheap-skate South Circular and the bridge restriction at New Cross Gate that stops the A2 becoming the Westway.
However agree with SJ in that the diversion of the international trains from Waterloo to St. Pancras was a crying shame. And don't say essential links - what, after all, is the Drain for. And a total waste of money - all those Eurostar platforms and infra-structure at Waterloo, abandoned after a few years.
(On the otherhand I suppose we did get St. Pancras and that amazing hotel beautifully restored...)

patrick1971 said...

And ISTR that if the fast line had been built to Waterloo, it would have come through Crofton Park, so my house might have been demolished! So thank god for the St Pancras decision. :-)

Sarah said...

The Waterloo link would have bulldozed some very nice parts of Forest Hill and destroyed what is now the Trendy Bellenden Renewal area in Peckham.

And it would have deprived me of my beautiful first ever flat and forced me to live in Honor Oak with my useless ex- forever...

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