Saturday, 26 March 2016

Battle for London

Labour mayoral candidate for London Sadiq Khan is making big claims that he can solve its severe problems of transport and housing shortage by waving the usual magic wand  - blaming the Tories. The fact is that the population of London increases by 10,000 each month and none of Labour's policies are going to change that in the slightest. They invited this. 
Sadiq Khan's campaign leaflets show him wearing a hard hat on a building site. 

What a curious thing, since he is by training a lawyer, who has never worked on a building site in his life. He specialises in "Human Rights" i.e. helping violent rapists and terrorists to avoid punishment and run up huge bills in legal aid. Under Human Rights legislation, criminals in gaol have sued our government and got the vote, which is outrageous, and their living conditions improved. They are laughing.
And the housing policies Sadiq Khan now offers, are identical in every way to the ones he not long ago rubbished when they were put forward by the Tories.
Admittedly under Boris Johnson everything in London has got worse. He wants to grab more money in congestion charges - already £11.50 per day.  Transport is so gridlocked that it can take one and half hours to get from Kings Cross to Battersea.  And it is costing us all more and more. Beastly Boris made it impossible to travel at all on the Tube or the buses unless you pay by Oyster card. Introducing Oyster card was one thing  - making it compulsory is another. This silly extremist policy means that if you arrive in London without one, you have to buy a one-day travel card, at a minimum cost of £5.  And to buy it you have to stand in a long queue of people with huge suitcases, asking the way to get to Buckingham Palace from Victoria and not understanding the answer because they don't speak English anyway. It can take half an hour at some large stations. When you are in a great hurry for an important appointment, your Oyster card always runs out of funds. You think it is simple to top it up  - until you find that two out of every four machines are "not in service" while one of the others does not take notes. It will allow you pay £20 or more in coins, which nobody is likely to be carrying. There is only one machine out of the four that will take notes, and in front of that, there is of course a long queue...
Bus and tube travel for anyone over 60 used to be free. Now, travel passes are being withheld until you reach 67 or more.  You can bet that Labour would not reverse that.
One of the worst things about Oyster cards is that they are subject to random technical hitches. Uniformed inspectors roam the metropolis in pairs, boarding buses, examining Oyster cards and telling people who thought they had paid that they somehow haven't. This could never have happened when people paid in cash or used a printed bus pass. If your card is found not to have somehow registered with the machine, you can be fined £80 on the spot. To many people, that is a huge amount of money. Not of course to Boris  - or to Sadiq Khan, I imagine. Being a Yuman Rights lawyer is a very, very lucrative occupation.  So don't believe all that "council estate boy" image. Sadiq Khan is a career politician with his nose in the trough just like Beastly Boris.

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