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Wednesday 21 October 2020

Bozo Declares War On London

Whenever the next London Mayoral election comes, all opinion polls point to Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan being returned for a second term. But someone very adjacent to chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings seems hell-bent on improving the chances of Tory challenger Shaun Bailey by bullying Khan into imposing a series of measures on Londoners which may adversely affect his popularity.

Just how far-reaching the measures would be was revealed by the FT yesterday: the obedient conduit for this latest outburst of power-hungry Polecattery was Transport Secretary Grant “Spiv” Shapps, who had issued the London Mayor with a list of demands which made the Serbia ultimatum look positively modest by comparison.

Jim Pickard listed them. “Shapps demanded: - extra council tax supplementary payments from Londoners - congestion charge to be 18 times larger (from north circular to south circular) - fares to rise by more than RPI+1% - pension reforms at TFL - fewer fare concessions - driverless trains sooner”. The Serbia ultimatum could be met. This cannot.

Former Deputy Mayor Val Shawcross pointed out one reason why that was. “The TfL pension scheme is anyway not under TfL control. National legislation would be needed to change it without Trustee consent”. Also, on the Tories’ poor track record on driving change in public transport, “Remember how ‘well’ the DfT managed a relatively minor issue about guards on the Southern network? We had years of chaos in the Southern region”.

No comment (this photo (c) Jennifer Arcuri)

So the pension issue is beyond Sadiq Khan’s control. And it is not the only one in Shapps’ list: once again, the myth of “driverless trains” has been exhumed. Let’s take this nice and slowly. Alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson tried to advance that cause when he was London’s very occasional Mayor. He failed.

Bozo and Co wanted signalling on the Sub-Surface Lines (SSLs being the Metropolitan, Circle, District and Hammersmith and City) to be renewed with a system called Bombardier CityFlo 650. This would allow Automatic Train Operation (ATO), which is already used on the Victoria, Central and Northern Lines - but could in future lead to full automation. Driverless trains! Union bashing! But there was a problem.

Bombardier pulled out in early 2014, leaving TfL to pick up a bill not unadjacent to £80 million. As for driverless trains for deep-level tube lines, forget it. No chance of bringing another train alongside in the event of failure or other emergency, no walkway for egress, no platform doors on most tunnelled sections - and little prospect of installation.

As to the idea of extending the congestion charge zone out to the North Circular and South Circular roads - no. Just no. Not without total rebuilding and upgrading of both North and South Circular roads. That’s nothing more than a blatant attempt to fiddle the Mayoral vote, whenever it comes. Demanded by Shapps, someone so tainted by corruption that it was no problem finding a photo of him endorsing Jennifer Arcuri, recipient of Bozo largesse.

That has not stopped Bozo repeating the lie that Khan had “effectively bankrupted TfL”. He had not; in fact, its finances had been improving on his watch until the pandemic hit.

This is another example of Tories dumping their ineptitude on others. No surprise there.

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AndyC said...

The Tories have always hated London and Londoners.

Anonymous said...

It was just a matter of time, CV-19 or no CV-19......

Gulliver said...

From what I can gather they've declared war on: -

The North of England
Northern Ireland
The EU
as well as London

Were he not neck deep in whatever shit he's in, I'm sure Mark Gino Francois would be donning the flack jacket and manning the barricades as we speak.

Anonymous said...

Apropos of nothing: when the Tories pass a retrospective law making it illegal to accuse a Tory MP of rape, Keeves will say it's slightly worrying but Labour will vote it through anyway.

Anonymous said...

Whatever they rake away no government will return. I hope The people of London make a stand.