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Ex-Mayor Livingstone

Fixing the Underground

telegraph.gifI have largely stopped writing letters to papers – I would much rather do a posting on my blog where I know I will get published!

Yesterday though I thought that the Telegraph had let Mayor Livingstone off lightly in its leader column on this week’s Tube strike, see here. They seemed content to blame RMT and maybe to a lesser extent Gordon Brown and his PPP.

They failed to nail Livingstone himself who has been chairman of the TfL board since its creation. Here is my letter:

Sir – You let London Mayor Ken Livingstone off the hook (leading article, September 5). London Underground has been subsumed within the Mayor’s Transport for London since July 2003.

Mr Livingstone has been chairman of the TfL board since its creation. He invited Bob Crow, the general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, to serve on the TfL board from June 1, 2002 to July 31, 2004.

As chairman of TfL, the Mayor has been responsible for its strategic direction and the setting of its priorities since its creation in 2000.

The public transport system we enjoy in London today is the Mayor’s creature. The Mayor has worked with RMT and the other unions to give Tube staff excellent, some would say cushy, terms and conditions, but still Mr Crow is prepared to humiliate the Mayor to prove his power.

Instead of just waving the white flag, a London Mayor needs to work to take the strike weapon out of public transport in London without making concessions that would make the majority of London workers look askance.

It is no good blaming Bob Crow and the Metronet collapse for this strike. It is the Mayor’s job to fix things. Fixing Mr Crow is a priority.

Cllr Phil Taylor, London Borough of Ealing, London W13