Ex-Mayor Livingstone

Observer weighs in

Even the Observer is laying into the Mayor this morning with an editorial and a piece about malpractice during the 2004 election. Nick Cohen, who has spoken out against the Mayor, from a left perspective, a number of times previously summarises things nicely.

20:20 Update: One of the Mayor’s 265 comms staff has had to come in on a Sunday to do this rebuttal. It tries to undermine the source of the story without denying the substance of the story.

3 replies on “Observer weighs in”


I saw the Economist piece last week. It was ostensibly even handed but it failed to look behind the headlines.

Yes, he created Congestion Charge but they fail to notice that the £1.2 billion takings have all been squandered setting the thing up and running it. Did Livingstone really sort of TfL’s ticketing or wasn’t it tragically out of date and the solution was in the pipeline already? Yes, he expanded the bus service but the number of paying passengers expanded more slowly so the bus subsidy has exploded to £617 million and TfL loses 30p every time a customer gets on a bus. If the Mayor is claiming Crossrail, which is really not much further on, do we really have to wait for 10 years of a Labour government before London gets any investment and then when it comes they take some of the cash out of LDA and City of London economic development funds which in other regions wouldn’t be tapped for transport infrastructure?

As for his notions of five mega boroughs – no thanks. I am sure that there is much scope for merging some services across boroughs and even making some services cross-London. This should be part of a constant evolution of services and their governance. A big, bang re-organisation of local government would be very costly and if engineered by a Labour government and Mayor would most likely be designed to produce large boroughs with a natural Labour majority. Doh! Just as London is leaning towards the Tories trust the Mayor to start thinking about changing the rules. Many boroughs are already rather large already. Ealing has a population of 315,000.


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