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Monday 7 April 2014

Smog? Boris Says Look Over There!

Following the recent episodes of poor air quality in London, the city’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has been on the receiving end of some stick for not tackling the problem with a little more vigour. It’s not the first time such accusations have been levelled: Ken Livingstone was especially harsh on Bozza’s record during the last Mayoral election campaign.
So now he has decided to fight back, aided and abetted by those Bozza-friendly hacks at the Evening Standard, aka the London Daily Bozza. This was via The Great Man’s Monday morning Maily Telegraph column, in which he proclaimedForget Saharan dust – London’s air can be as pure as the Alps ... With cleaner homes and traffic, the city will have the world’s first ultra-low emission zone”.

You don’t have to tell me about air quality. There’s no need to warn me of the fugs and the fumes that are part of urban life – because I am one of the leading connoisseurs. After more than 15 years of daily cycling in London, I have tasted the air in all weathers and at all hours of the day and night. I have sampled the vapours of every vehicle and every animal on our streets” he protests.

Yes, because Bozza has cycled behind buses and taxis which emit clouds of rather visible pollution, he does not need to take lectures from anyone. And it’s the foreigners’ fault, too: “Sometimes we get the dried slurry of Dutch pig farms; sometimes we get all the polyaromatic hydrocarbons and benzopyrenes of the collective barbecues of northern France and Flanders”. Yeah, right.

And he isn’t averse to a little dishonesty: “As Nick Clegg would no doubt confirm, the EU Commission has taken on the job of deciding what kind of exhaust fumes are allowed in this country and across the rest of the continent. The trouble is that the standards adopted (called ‘Euro 4’ and ‘Euro 5’ etc) have not worked”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here.

One, this does not seem to be the view of anyone else right now, and two, if the standards are so useless, why is Bozza basing his claim that the New Bus For London, aka BozzaMaster, is the “cleanest, greenest ever” on its adherence to, er, those very same standards (Euro 5 in fact)? This is another of those Bozza rants that he fails to think through before typing.

It gets worse: he and the Tel can’t bother with the most basic fact check before committing the thing to print: “Our air quality, in spite of everything, is far better than it was in the 1950s; and it is worth remembering that the Great Smog of 1956 killed 12,000 people” he tells. It’s equally worth remembering that the Great Smog that killed 12,000 people was not in 1956, but in 1952.

Bozza was paid £5,000 for today’s guff. And he didn’t even check it first.

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