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» One Touch Football - Archive » World » The Mayoral election for London: an outsider's (interested) view (Page 1)

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Author Topic: The Mayoral election for London: an outsider's (interested) view
Rogin the Armchair fan
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I moved out of London in 1999, shortly before Red Ken was elected to rip up all the tube networks, and replace them with Newt-only lanes, or whatever it was he did.

At the time (and it was largely why I moved out of London) the entire place was an absolute shithole, with massively over-priced flats that only Sarah Beeny could have got excited about, and a terribly overcrowded "transport" system that, admittedly, "transported" one from say Muswell Hill to Clapham in about the same time as it would have taken one to walk to one's destination, and arrived far fresher for having done so.

Is London life really cool now for the years of Mayoral rule? Do you all whooshh about on tube trains made of spun silver? Can you buy a basement flat for less than 200k if it's not next to a black death burial cesspit?

Has Labour's wheeze of having a mayor for the city made the slightest bit of difference?

[ 19.03.2008, 23:08: Message edited by: Rogin the Armchair fan ]

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twohundredpercent
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I'll say this much - I fail to see how any of the things that you mention there would have improved upon by a Conservative mayor.
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Gangster Octopus
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Quite. At least we've still got a tube system. That cunt Norris hated public transport.
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E10Rifle
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Well your cynically angled questions, Rogin, are clearly aimed at eliciting the conclusion that it's all a waste of time, but I'll try to answer them none the less.

London's changed considerably in the past eight years, in some ways for the good, in some ways for the bad; some of it's been down to having a mayor, much of it isn't. Livingstone's courted big business but the mutation of the Isle of Dogs into, basically, a kind of Dubai without the sun (I was gonna say "and without the slave labour and Islamic fundamentalism" but even that isn't completely true) is a result of Brown's general mission to turn Britain into the short-termist tax-avoidance whore of Europe.

On the other hand, the mayor/GLA's stipulations on affordable housing in new developments have been meaningful and positive (if nowhere near enough), as has the more co-ordinated approach to transport, though it's not been helped by the PPP form of financing Livingstone was forced to inherit. It's also made a bit of a difference, culturally, to have an elected mayor and authority lending suppport to and facilitating stuff.

London's still a bit of a pain in the arse, in lots of ways, but compared to the ungovernable and neglected mess it was between the late 80s and late 90s, it's improved.

The very fact of public transport becoming such a key political issue has been a gain too.

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Tubby Isaacs
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Rogin's cynical tone is about right for directly elected borough mayors, perhaps.
Posts: 18279 | From: Georgica | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
lyra
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Yes. We have one in Lewisham who is a Waste of Time.

I love Ken. I love him unreasonably, based on a romantic view of the past, but I think he's fantastic nonetheless.

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E10Rifle
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Oh I'd agree about locally elected mayors. Local government at borough level needs more power generally, but the quid pro quo should be that they scrap the mayor and/or cabinet system, which is a recipe for un-collegiate greasy-pole climbing oriented methods of governance.
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Lardinho
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Currently, as far as I can tell, Ken's only redeeming features are that he's not Boris Johnson and that he really, really winds up the Evening Standard and the mouth-frothing right-wing.

As for what he's done, and which wouldn't have happened without an elected mayor: there's the congestion charge, which before the westward extension was pretty much an unqualified success. There's been a very gentle focus on cycling which wasn't there before. We've seen the numbers of cyclist expand dramatically. Provision for them is shocking, still, but the growth is impressive. There's been a massive expansion and improvement of the bus service. It's still flawed, of course, but the expansion and improvement wouldn't have happened without a mayor. There's been more focus on civic stuff like the use of Trafalgar Square or the South Bank for mayoral sponsored concerts and cultural events. There's the renewable energy requirements (which are pretty wet but better than nothing). And recently there's been the imposition of the Low Emission Zone.

All pretty good things. As it happens, almost all of those, apart from the LEZ, were implemented during his first term, and the second term seems to have been a lot less effective.

The failure to provide useful infrastructure for cyclists after 8 years, the refusal to go back on bendy buses despite the fact they're incredibly unpopular and shown to be a problem for the city, the support for Sir Iain Blair, the repeated backing for Lee Jasper, the westward extension of the CC zone, the apparent poor management of the sewage system replacement, and I'm deeply uncomfortable with a carbon dioxide tax under the congestion system rather than low emissions systems, and I'm sure myriad other things, suggest to me that it's time to replace Ken as he appears to have lost touch with how he was helping the city.

But the presence of a mayor has undoubtedly benefited London.

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Lardinho
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I am very uncomfortable with Ken launching his mayoral campaign alongside Doreen Lawrence, which suggests he's all in favour of racially sensitive policing, when he's been backing Iain Blair who's idea of racially sensitive policing is shooting a Brazilian because he looks vaguely like an Arab and it's OK to shoot muslims, particularly if their work permit has expired.
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E10Rifle
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quote:
suggest to me that it's time to replace Ken
Sorry to be so reductive and black-and-white about this, but "time to replace Ken" means Boris getting in, at this point in time. Which is an insane thing to want.
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Tubby Isaacs
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Reculer pour mieux reculer, as someone once said of Chris Tavare's batting.
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Lardinho
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Well, if you're going to be reductive, then yes. But Ken is doing a rubbish job at the moment and I'd feel very, very uncomfortable endorsing that at the ballot box. I feel a bit like the French must have done at the Chirac v Le Pen election. I don't want either, but Ken is the less grim of two very bad choices.

It's time to get rid of Ken. It's not time to replace him with Boris Johnson.

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E10Rifle
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Can you translate? And talk about Chris Tavare's batting, if you must. He knew how to slog you know, despite his image.
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Tubby Isaacs
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It's not just in a foreign language, it's a play on words. Usual phrase "reculer pour mieux sauter" which means take a step back now in order to emerge stronger in the future. The witty version I quoted means to take a step back in order to take a step back. I'm sure it wasn't originally used of Tavare, but I did see it so used, and I like to imagine it was.

Did he ever hit a six off the last ball to win a Sunday league game? I think Boycott did, though the fact he was still in might suggest it wasn't an entirely selfless performance.

Tavare played some excellent one day innings indeed. You may remember a great B&H semi-final in 1989 v Essex where he scored a run a ball hundred (when such things were much rarer) and got Somerset within 5 runs of a huge (in those days) total. John Childs bowled very well for you in that game.

[ 20.03.2008, 12:22: Message edited by: Tubby Isaacs ]

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Tubby Isaacs
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One shudders at the probable New Labour response to a Livingstone loss. No doubt it'll be that by being too left wing, "we have lost touch with the people". Can't the leadership choose the candidate themselves? Livingstone is unique in them not being able to veto him.
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