Monday, March 03, 2008

Boris Steps Up to the Challenge

If you want to win an election you've got to believe you can do it, but more importantly, convince the people whose votes you are asking for you can do it. Until recently there was some doubt as to whether anyone (including perhaps Boris himself) thought Boris could pull it off. Recent polls not only show that a Boris victoiry is possible, but also probable. Contrary to the pundits' expectations Boris is attracting significantly more second preference votes than Livingstone.

He is also producing good solid policy proposals. His crime manifesto was well received and today's transport manifesto are both credible and have voter appeal. Like Tony Travers in the Standard I'd like to have seen a bit more radicalism, but that can come later. Among the proposals are...

* provide more police at tube stations and on buses
* extend tube operating hours until 1.30am at weekends
* stop tube ticket office closures
* abolish the western extension of the congestion zone
* more powers to fine utlility companies for causing disruption when digging up roads
* bring in direct debit for oyster cards
* more air conditioning on the tube
* negotiate a no strike deal with unions with binding arbitration to resolve disputes
* higher congestion charge at rush hour and less at other times
* congestion charge bills sent to drivers at month end
* scrap £25 charge for bigger cars
* reset traffic lights to ease congestion
* new generation of Routemasters with conductors
* clamp down on illegal minicabs
* support more 20 mph zones and increase cycle parling
* more integrated river transport

On their own, none of these are what you would call a 'big idea', but the manifesto document exudes a quiet air of competence. What Boris needs to do now is make clear who will head up Transport for London. It needs to be a big hitter who will go in and sort out a fundamentally inefficient and wasteful organisation. My candidate? Step forward Steven John Norris.


Ed said...

I am glad he hasn't said he will scrap the congestion charge but tinker with it - a much more sensible proposal.

Bayleaf said...

I'll second that. Borris and Norris, what a thought....

Anonymous said...

* negotiate a no strike deal with unions with binding arbitration to resolve disputes

Oh you are amusing

Mark Francis said...

Steve Norris for Mayor. Boris Johnson for class clown.

Quotidian Dramatics said...

"the manifesto document exudes a quiet air of competence"

That'll delight the majority of the 'Woo, Go Boris!' fanbase. Quiet? Competent? It seems that he's jettisoned his Wodehousian ways once and for all.

Unsworth said...

Nobber is much underestimated. And his talent isn't solely in his trousers - unlike Livingstone who has no talent at all, in any department.

Anonymous said...


Boris and David are both very good indeed. Even if they turn out not to be good enough to win. They are still the best we have and possibly better then we or the electorate deserve.

That was the good news so here is the bad news. Please try to keep up, and have a hanky ready, you may need one.

London and the rest of this country do not need another Thatcher they need at least four Thatchers or at least one and a half Gods, in a very good mood indeed, to save them now.

However really great Boris and David are, they don't make even one Thatcher between them. So I am very much afraid its basically all over whatever happens in elections. Bar the curtain calls and the after performance piss up.

They have done for us. Get used to it.

One term was bad. Two terms was far too bad. Three terms and its "nice knowing the place, and try not to make too much mess burying it."

Atlas shrugged

Anonymous said...

You want someone heavily connected with a failure of a transport contractor to run Transport for London? Sounds sensible.

Newmania said...

... I never doubted him for a moment and to see Politician who has some personality left ina position of power will in itself be a boon to the nation.
It says you do'nt have to be dull to be serious which in my book is terribly important

Anonymous said...

A lot of these are hot air. Such as (sorry) air conditioning on the tube. Boris has not produced an engineering study and it has often been stated before that there is no practical way of doing this at any reasonable cost. And, bendy buses carry an a huge number of passengers and are popular with people who have to take pushchairs.

Pity, I want a good alternative to Ken but these proposals look like ignorant people sounding off in the pub, and don't do a lot to make me believe he is serious.

bebopper said...

I see that slimy con-man Lee Jasper is in the soup again. The BBC Lonon News reports he's been swanning off to "Diversity" conferences in New York, Chicago and Jamaica, without declaring the freebe hotel and air fares.
He has to face the London Assembly on Wednesday. He'll probably find a bent doctor to give him a sick note.
I wonder whether he called on Dolly Kiffrin while he was in Jamaica. They have a lot in common.
After the Broadwater Farm riots, she asked the Government for money to run her youth club on the estate. (Shades of Winnie Mandela)
She collected the cash and buggered of to Jamaica, where she bought a couple of nice properties.
Good luck on Wednesday Lee.

Jill, London said...

When Anonymous @10.44 dismisses Boris's Transport Manifesto as "hot air" - what about Comrade Livingstone burning our money?!

The latest of Comrade Livingstone's money-wasting schemes is to throw away nearly HALF A MILLION POUNDS of London taxpayers' money on sending a London bus to Beijing! [I have a practical suggestion for a lighted Olympic torch - to fire a cannon sending Comrade Livingstone into orbit - permanently!]


matthew carter said...

Iain: Who do you think wrote all of Boris Johnson's transport policies?

Johnny Norfolk said...

If you had to ask Borris or Livingstone to look after £1000 of your money, who would you give it to.
I wont say who I would give it to apart from telling you he has a shock of blonde hair.

Benny Austwick said...

the 'send congestion charges at the end of the month' is an excellent proposal.

Did you know that you can't check to see if you've been in the congestion charge if you're unsure until the following day when the charge has greatly increased?

An excellent proposal by Boris

James Sanderson said...

Boris isn't up to being Mayor.

I agree with Dirk Hazell, this is a downgrade in terms of our party's candidate.

Astro-Turf Lawnmower said...

Boris is now favourite according to Betfair - that is people putting their money where their mouth is.

Lee Jasper has quit, the polls are going the right way, the betting is going the right way - all point to Boris having the momentum.

Go Boris!

angelneptunestar said...

We don't need another Thatcher. She was right for her times, but times have changed.

When Boris Johnson is finally elected as London Mayor, I am going to ram the negative comments of all the doubters right back down their throats and crow like anything as I quaff a magnum of champage. Actually, no, I won't do that, because David Cameron and Boris would want me to behave nicely and be a little lady. OK then, I will just drink the champers.

angelneptunestar said...

We don't need another Thatcher. She was right for her time, but times have changed.

when Boris Johnson is finally elected London Mayor, I am going to crow like anything and ram the nasty remarks of the snidey doubters right back down their rotten throats, as I quaff a huge bottle of champagne.(I did this when we beat Australia last time at rugby)

No maybe I won't do that. David Cameron and Boris would not wish me to be nasty and want me to act like a little lady. So I will just drink the champage then.