03 October 2007

Boris puts Henley before London.

Oh joy! Now we know how confident Boris Johnson is of becoming Mayor. This talk of an early election has finally flushed him out. There is no way he is going to give up his seat in Henley. With that sort of commitment and confidence we can see how weak a Mayor he would be if he (and his PR press team) did manage to con enough people to vote for him.

London needs someone with...
a proven record of making things better and they need Ken Livingstone more than ever. Now that from next year he will have more powers over housing as well as his main transport and planning responsibilities. London needs Ken to address the housing shortage in the same innovative way he has introduced the congestion charge (the first in the world and it was desperately opposed by the Tories and their press friends including Boris).

London now has free bus travel for under 18s, the oyster card which has speeded up journeys so the buses now run on time which has in turn led to a third more passengers (in contrast to declining bus use nationwide). The Tories bitterly oppose the free tube, bus and train travel for those over 60 or disabled. That is their commitment to alleviating poverty, i.e. no commitment at all. Tory voters do not rely on public transport as the poor do. Ken realises how important public transport is to the poorest Londoners, Boris does not.

I have used the few routes where 'bendy buses' are used and yes they are not perfect but for people with disabilities or with prams or shopping - it is a lifeline. Much more easy to get on and off and much less crowded. In other words they are practical. As for Boris's complaint that they are cyclist killers, since when did the opponent of the congestion charge care about London's cyclists (the reduction in central London traffic has been the biggest boon for cycling). Ken has invested real money in improving cycle paths, is considering introducing the Paris style scheme of rented bycycles at tube stations. Ken has overseen the biggest growth in cycling in London's history.

Would bumbling Boris have won the Olympics, had the courage to implement a congestion charge, defend and expand public transport, oppose the energy wasting water salination plant, look to innovative ways to increase housing density and lessen the housing shortage, have ambitious carbon reduction targets (and mean them)? The short answer is no, Boris is not the right person to be responsible for a budget of around £11bn. It would be no joke to elect Boris.

These are just a few reasons why Ken will win in London. Here is my list of 34 (and counting) reasons not to vote for Boris. I will soon put up a list of Ken's achievements as Mayor. Watch this space.


  1. If I was a Londoner, I'd vote for Boris. Ken was a great mayor - didn't he have a big feud with Blair in the early days? - but it's time to change and not change for change's sake.

    I have been away for a few years now and I am more informed on Thai politics than those back home, so I have to take your fact list on Boris at face value. However, I do feel that Ken and Labour have become too liberal. I don't doubt some of Boris' rhetoric can be offensive but this is simply his way, he says what he thinks whomever it offends. I feel that lefters have a tendency to brand anybody 'racist' to further their own course.

    Of course I agree we should be sensitive but let's not let that slide into restrictions on free speech. For example, I believe Boris should be allowed to say what he thinks of Mandela. Mandela was a leader of a terrorist group. When he refers to PNG, I guess he is referring to their tribal history, where cannibalism did exist.

    My feeling is that with the unprecedented immigration we are facing now, we need a Conservative to take the reigns in our biggest city. A Conservative who is popular with the younger generation and is not afraid to speak - or maybe he just can't conceal - his true opinions. I certainly think he has the intelligence and character to do it.

  2. Would that be the same way the Livingstone didn't give up his commons seat when he became mayor?

  3. Anon: It wouldn't have made sense for Ken to give up a Westminster seat a few months before a general election was going to happen anyway. But to actively seek RE-ELECTION as an MP for a full term when you have already declared yourself the Tory candidate for Mayor, shows total disdain for Londoners and a total lack of belief from Boris.

  4. So Boris has said, with varying degrees of certainty, that if he wins the Mayoral election, he'll step down as an MP.

    His constituency association will be aware of this, but still wish him to stand. They understand that, if Boris becomes Mayor, he will probably resign and trigger a by-election.

    Whether to elect Boris on that basis or not is a matter for his constituency. It's got nothing to do with "showing disdain for Londoners".

    Showing disdain would only come into it were he to draw a salary as an MP and as Mayor, whilst only doing one job properly. Boris hasn't done that, and has said that he doesn't intend to do that.

    Did Ken draw two salaries whilst he was both Mayor and MP?

  5. If the election is May 1st 2008, will Boris stand in TWO elections on the same day and drive back and forth between Henley and London? Of course it shows disdain for Londoners! Dyed in the wool Tory voters in Henley might not mind too much if he cannot make his mind up, but I am sure Londoners will mind.

  6. Hilary Wade5/10/07 11:51 am

    Whether or not Boris would make a good Mayor, however, and irrespective of how many hate lists Livingstone and his staff continue to crank out, the fact is, people are going to vote for Boris anyhow, because it will be hilarious.

    It's the sort of thing that used to happen from time to time at university; the normal people, the ones who usually took no interest in politics, would suddenly surge in and pack out the student union, and vote through some comedy motion en masse to the chagrin of the inner circle of activists who spent most of their time changing the names of things to the "Mandela Room" undisturbed. And this is why Livingstone &c are quaking in their boots now, because most of them were those selfsame activists, indeed for many of them it has remained a career choice; they've seen this happen before, they know exactly what's happening now, and how little chance they have of stopping it!

  7. Hilary: I hope you are wrong, but I fear you are right.