So it’s going to be another Red Ken versus Beano Boris face-off in the 2012 London mayoral elections. Another not very well kept secret is revealed. Along with the election of Mil The Younger as Labour leader, some Tories are pushing the narrative that all their birthdays have come at once. I think not.
Bozza may have kept Crossrail from severe harm, one or two station redesigns excepted, but overall there will be serious cuts to his transport budget. He is still committed to abandoning the Western Extension Zone (WEZ) of the Congestion Charge area, which will reduce his income, and so something else will have to give.
Ken is equally committed to keeping – or perhaps that should be reintroducing – the WEZ, and that would help to take the shock out of the inevitable round of fare rises. It could also help cushion the effects of route and service cuts which the bus network may have inflicted as the cuts bite.
Bozza is, of course, also committed to his bus vanity project, the so-called “New Routemaster”, which his new bus for London isn’t. This, together with the obsessive removal of bendy buses, will raise costs and make the effects of funding cuts even worse. And there is no way Johnson can blame either action on his predecessor.
So perhaps the candidacy of Ken Livingstone isn’t such a good thing for the Tory Party after all.