Saturday, July 29, 2006

Ken's view of the GLA Members

If you've ever wondered what the Mayor's real opinion is of Greater London Assembly members then a quote from him in yesterday's Evening Standard is certainly revealing.

When he was asked about the prospect of facing Lord Stevens at the ballot box he said that he wasn't sure Lord Steven could stand "two and a half hours each month, [of] tedious questions by members of the London Assembly".

Should someone that holds the GLA in such contempt really be in it's top job?

Cyclists will be next to be hounded.

Not content with making every motorists life a misery, Ken is now turning his attentions on to one of his "success" stories, the cyclist.

In Ken's latest brainwave, he wants all cyclists in London to fit number plates to their bikes. All bikes then would be registered so that riders, caught on traffic and CCTV cameras breaking the law, can be punished and fined.

Speaking on LBC yesterday He said "I think i'm now persuaded, we should actually say that bikes and their owners should be registered." He added "You have got to have legislation, but I think, most likely we'll be putting up a private Bill and I think can get the London Boroughs - all of them, irrespective of parties - to most likely go along with that and have a proper vehicle/bicycle registration scheme."

Or course Ken can get the boroughs to go along with it, he'll just threaten to cut their funding like he did with Ealing over their bus lanes.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

As predicted in May, the congestion charge will cover Greater London

Back in May I posted about Ken Livingstone's plans to start congestion charging for the entire Greater london area - that is to say within the M25. Today this plan became official policy when Livingstone announced that his "Low Emmission Zone" plan would begin in 2008, when he would start charging lorries, buses and coaches that fail to meet a minimum pollution standard if they drive within Greater London.

As I also mentioned, such a scheme is going to have a significant impact on public services such a private school bus companies as they will need to spend thousands on their vehicle fleets. Additionally many haulage companies may have to stop operating in the capital completely as it will no longer be commercially viable to do so.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Propaganda on the Rates

A good post on Conservative Home, highlighting what we have mentioned here before.
You can hardly go to the cinema in London without one of the Mayor's propaganda ads appearing. The Londoner newspaper contains pro-Ken publicity alongside practical information about life in the capital. The Conservative Party should be exposing this political use of council taxpayers' money and investigating who is benefiting from the contracts for these ads.
Commenter Phil Taylor adds an extra dimension:
The Mayor's freesheet The Londoner will cost £2,857,488 in the current financial year (see post). This is not the whole story though as this budget is net cost not gross cost. Every issue carries 4 pages of full page display ads from bodies in the GLA family. They have no choice about these ads and in effect it means that the Londoner costs more like £4-5 million.
No wonder Ken likes dictators and Caudillos so much. He has so much in common with them.

"Green" Olympic plan will result in increased pollution

Ken promised, in a letter to The Times last week, that the 2012 Olympics would be the "greenest" ever. Which is all part of his plan to make the capital a lower emission zone.

However, as previously reported on this blog, Ken's plans are, as usual, well off the mark.

This is most obvious in the way he is currently dealing with one of the companies trading within the boundaries of the planned Olympic site. Concrete crushing company, Bedrock, are due to be evicted relocated as a result of the Olympic developement.

Bedrock currently makes 400 lorry movements a day, resulting in the recycling of one million tons of demolished concrete, and preventing it from packing the landfill sites, each year. Concrete crushing itself, although a dirty job, plays a very important role in the recycling industry.

The LDA has, however, offered Bedrock an alterative location, in Dagenham, seven miles futher east. This move would result in Bedrock having to purchase a further 25 extra lorries, which do eight miles to the gallon, and would have to be on the road for an extra 2800 miles a day.

But that would work out quite nicely for Ken, after all he's planning to charge "dirty" vehicles that produce high levels of C02 emmissions for driving in Greater London.

How thoughtful of him. Evict a recycling company, to a site that means they have to purchase more C02 producing vehicles, so that they can be charged extra for the use of.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Whatever happened to "Cooling the Tube"?

Anyone who gets the tube iat the moment knows only too well how bloody hot it is downt here. The tube network, whilst probably the most complex in the world, also happens to be the oldest. The result is no air-conditioning on trains whatsoever, and temperatures which can soar past 50 degrees celsius.

Three years ago, our illustrious Mayor Ken decided that he would have an open competition to engineers called "Cooling the Tube". The competition received a lot of press coverage and the prize was to be £100,000.

Here we are three years on, and nothing has happened. Another example of Ken saying, rather than doing.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tractor Production Rises

Check this Blog for details of that obnoxious little liar's problems with the truth.

1,100 habitable rooms per Hectare

The Borough of Haringey has voted to approve a new planning system.
The UDP will shape planning decisions made in Haringey until 2016 and, in its present state, could see new homes packed in to the borough at two to three times the current density.
The people of the borough are up in arms and the councillors are none to happy either. So why did they vote for it?
Haringey Council had to approve the UDP on Monday, or risk being led by Ken Livingstone's London Plan, which is much more general and could invite even higher rates of development in Haringey.
Because to do otherwise would have invited London's own Caudillo to force his plans on them. Democracy, don't you just love it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Conservative Alternatives To Ken

The details of the selection process are still a little hazy, but we have already had two hats thrown into the ring:

First off the mark was Warwick Lightfoot, former Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea.

Quick to follow, we have Cllr Mrs Victoria Borwick.

I know nothing about either of them, but I am sure they would both be better than Ken.

I have added links to their websites in the Blogroll

Friday, July 14, 2006

Official: Ken has become a dictator

Yesterday, the Government gave Ken further powers over London that effectively make his office a dictatorship over the notional state of Greater London. He now has executive control over planning, skills, public health, environment and housing. As a result power is being dragged up from borough into an all powerful single figurehead office.

Sir Simon Milton, the leader of Westminister city council, quite rightly condemned the moves and said that this extension of "his remit is going against the trend of local government, where decisions and accountability are moving to the neighbourhood level, not to a remote regional centre. If the mayor is to have more powers, it is essential that the assembly should be given greater powers to hold him to account and to force him to moderate his plans."

This now a nightmare scenario in planning terms as Ken Livingstone, a politician, is a one man planning auhtority. He has been given ddirect power to conest and refuse planning applications arbitrarily on the very vague grounds of his "strategic" requirements. Soon we'll have pictures of Ken on the side of buildings as well.

Nick Ferrari to run against Ken?

There's a rumour going around that Nick Ferrari (the LBC 97.3 Breakfast show presenter) has decided to enter the planned Open primary to find a Conservative Party to run against against Ken Livingstone at the next mayoral election in 2008. Nick has been mulling it over on his blog and his show over the past week (even inviting people to call in and ask him questions).

Nick Ferrari would, I'm sure, make an excellent mayor and be a breath of fresh air to London after being under the control of Red Ken for so long. The biggest challenge we face as a party against Ken is his high profile. Nick Ferrari, has a high eneough profile to match Ken.

All Nick has to do is get through the primary, which, if the rumours are true, could include Sir John Stevens.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Congestion charge to increase to £25 for families

Yesterday, Red Ken announced his plans for greater revenue to his quango TfL under the guise of environmentalism. Livingstone said that he's going to make Central London a low-emmission zone and to do this he's going to start charging the owners of so-called "chelsea tractors", £25 per day to drive in the CC zone.

"'Chelsea tractors', many of which are responsible for some of the highest CO2 emissions of any cars on our roads, have to be dealt with.... I want TfL to look at lower congestion charges for cars responsible for lower than average CO2 emissions, broadly the retention of the current rate of £8 for most cars, and much steeper charges of perhaps £25 for the really environmentally damaging cars such as the so-called 'Chelsea tractors'."

There are a number of serious, and very fundamental problems with this plan. First up there's the issue of using generalised language to stigmatise a particular group. The so-called "chelsea tractor" is a catch-all phrase for anything remotely 4x4. The fact that so many of these vehicles don't actually fall into the range of emmissions that would result in a higher charge is ignored. Ordinary families who just happen to have a big, 4x4 looking car are thus being viewed as some sort of environmental pariah, when they're not.

The second problem is the claim that these car are the highest polluters. They're no more polluting however than many stupidly fast sports cars which also drive around places like Chelsea and the rest of the CC zone every day. However, apparently you're not an evil environment killer if you drive one of them because it doesn't look big and the chattering classes don't talk about you at the dinner parties they drove to in their hiugh emmission TVRs, Boxtsers, Subaru Imprezas, etc etc.

The third problem is more about where this is heading. Ken Livingstone claims that his target is to make central London (ergo the CC zone) a low emmission zone. This may sound laudable, however what happens to the congestion charge then? If everyone is driving low emmission exempted cars then CC revenue will plummet. He'll have two choices, either, make all those cars that were exempt, not exempt (likely, he's threatening it with LPG cars already). Or, move the charge further out and start charging families £25 a day to drive around the suburbs of greater London. Even if those people used their cars only two days a week, that would amount to an extra £2600 a year in Livingstone's coffers at City Hall.

There is also one final fourth problem. When the charge was brought it was apparently about cutting congestion. However, putting aside the independent research by the RAC that shows congestion levels in the zone have now reached the same as they were prior to the charge's introduction. It's now being argued the charge is tool in the fight to cut CO2 emmissions.

The number of times that Ken Livingstone has now lied about the Congestion Charge is, quite frankly, becoming a joke. He promised not to put it up before his election, then put it up straight after. He said he wouldn't do it again till 2010, it's just gone up again. He's trying to make out he's saving you money if you pay on the day rather than the next when in fact you're not, and now he's planning further increases on the grounds of a cars "look". More worryingly is that that the logical ends of his policy of low emmission zones is that the charge will have to move outward further and further as revenue dries up in the centre.

We have to get this man out of city hall.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Mayor of Caracus?

Ken is a man with very strange priorities. You would think that being Mayor of one of the worlds Great Cities would be enough responsibility for one person. Not for Ken apparently:
Mayor Ken Livingstone is to become the president of the Venezuela Information Centre (VIC) campaign after recently hosting a visit to London by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Somehow I can't see how this job is relevant to the people who elected him. Perhaps he can enlighten us.
Mayor Livingstone, says: "Venezuela is pursuing a course that is giving hope not only to the people of that country, but also to millions around the world ... and the Venezuela Information Centre is playing a vital role in combating the daily diet of propaganda and misinformation that is being circulated by opponents of President Chavez’ government."
Nice to know that London is his priority.