A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Six questions for Boris

Boris Johnson is being interviewed tonight on BBC London News.

Ken's campaign have suggested some key questions the BBC ought to be asking:

1. Ken Livingstone has set the policy that 50% of all new housing in London must be affordable housing. Boris Johnson has announced that he would scrap that policy, which would reduce pressure for affordable new homes and concentrate new housing in luxury and high price development. How does he justify pricing housing out of the hands of ordinary Londoners in this way?

2. Boris Johnson has endorsed a new bus for London designed by Autocar magazine, with an open platform, which Transport for London estimates would cost a minimum of £400 million a year to introduce and run and would therefore require a 50% increase in bus fares - a single fare going up from 90p to £1.35 and a weekly bus pass from £13 to £19.50. If Boris Johnson disputes these figures what is his estimate for the cost of his new bus plans and the fares rises they would involve?

3. How does Boris Johnson justify not bothering to vote on London's most important transport project, Crossrail, in Parliament when it was debated? And why did he make the false claim in the TV debate last week that no progress had been made on Crossrail when Ken Livingstone has secured the £16billion funding for the scheme?

4. Youth murders are one of the most serious issues facing London and we must work with the Met and through the expansion of youth facilities to stop them. But why will Boris Johnson not admit that the murder rate in London has been reduced by 27% in the last five years, that this is a great achievement, and that this is due to the increase in police numbers introduced under Ken Livingstone? Why does he claim it is only motor-car theft that has been going down when the most serious crimes such as murder and rape have been sharply reduced?

5. Boris Johnson opposes the Kyoto agreement on climate change. How can be claim he will be a green Mayor when he supports George Bush in opposing the most important international agreement on climate change?

6. London is the world's most multi-ethnic city. Good community relations are therefore crucial. Boris Johnson has claimed that his reference to black people as "piccaninnies" was only for ironic effect in a newspaper article. But the journalist Martin Ivens confirmed yesterday in the Sunday Times that this is not true: 'Rod Liddle, my colleague, sorrowfully admits to being responsible for the left's damaging charge against Boris – that he is racist. Liddle let slip to an interviewer the story that, bored beyond measure by some po-faced Unicef officials in a truck on the Kenyan-Uganda border, Johnson had called out: "Come on, let's get out and see some piccaninnies'.
(link to article)
How, particularly in such a great multi-ethnic city, can Boris Johnson justify use of racist terms as "piccaninnies" when this was clearly not just in a single article?


Anonymous Rich said...

I get the feeling that maybe Ken is feeling a little worried about the prospect of losing to Boris.

I can remember Ken almost laughing off the prospect of running against Boris. But look at Ken now, rallying the troops for those vital winning votes.

The likelyhood is that Ken will keep his job but Boris is certainly putting up a great fight.

5:11 pm, January 14, 2008

Blogger Charlie said...

Are the figures from the fraudulent British Crime Surevey or from recorded crime figures?
Ken's had very little to say about the stabbings, ditto Labour bigwigs. If Thatcher had been in office when all this was happening, people like you - and your pals in the BBC - would have been screaming blue murder morning, noon and night. And yet nobody is saying too much about this. 'Work with the police' to stop the killing? What does that actually mean? Another eye-catching initiative like Blair's 'Respect' one, which went nowhere and was quietly scrapped last week?

5:13 pm, January 14, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

I've never liked Ken to be honest I think he's completely barmy. His plans to tax motorists even more will hurt business and hurt the poorest motorists.

The reality in London is that if everyone took public transport to work it would cause utter chaos. It's over used as it is and this policy is aimed at increasing revenue and has nothing to do with congestion.

Even if Ken wins this time he'll be out on the next round along with Brown and is champer socialists.

5:44 pm, January 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Public transport is not underused, nor is cycling, which has increased massively in London this decade.

Bus usage has increased from less than 5 million in 2000 to over 6 million. you could have predicted such an increase would 'cause utter chaos'. It hasn't, because the system has expanded, and would expand further still with reduced congestion caused by cars.

7:51 pm, January 14, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Have you ever tried getting a bus in Rush Hour?

Cycling is great in the summer, winter is just grim.

Sorry mate, get in your warm car and drive to work.

I pay road tax, I pay tax on my fuel, I pay tax when I buy my car, I pay tax on car insurance.....why should I pay a penny more.

What I might start is a movement similar to the Poll Tax. We establish leagues that will organise mass non payment of charges and fines. We'll do it just before the next election and see how Brown and his mates like that.

I was one of the people who started the anti poll tax leagues so I'm no stranger on how to bring down a system.

8:04 pm, January 14, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Have you ever tried getting a bus in Rush Hour?"

Yes every day. I often can't get on the first one. But its still an excellent system. The only thing it needs is more investment (i.e. four more years of Ken)

8:15 pm, January 14, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

It does need more investment, you are right. Public transport in general is rubbish.

Recently took the train to Glasgow, it cost £174.00 on an unregulated fair. The service was fine but I missed my train on the way back because my meeting went on longer than expected. Not being able to find another seat I decided to fly back and paid just £38.00 to fly to an airport just 20miles from where I live.

I rarely venture on public transport but that's because I live outside of London. We don't have the luxury of an integrated transport system like London.

Rural buses are rare and take ages and living miles away from where I work means the car is the only way.

Which is one reason I object to paying these criminal taxes to run my car.

11:58 pm, January 14, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

The reason why buses get clogged up in rush hour is because of the amount of private vehicles containing ONE driver!

4:39 pm, January 17, 2008

Anonymous observer's friend said...

rich said ...

"I rarely venture on public transport but that's because I live outside of London. We don't have the luxury of an integrated transport system like London."

I'm curious, Rich, why you have got so much to say about Ken and his policies, and Boris (and his lack of them) when you claim you don't even live in London. Will you - by any chance - even be voting?

8:54 am, January 18, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Because I had to pay his stealth taxes on numerous occassions.

11:16 am, January 18, 2008


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