One Year On, Boris Isn’t Working

5th May, 2013 2:19 pm

One year ago, London went to the polls and handed Boris Johnson another four years as Mayor. Then, he stood on a “Nine Point Plan for a Greater London”, a skeletal manifesto designed to counter criticism that he had no plan for his office other than to further his own political career. A year later, most Londoners have forgotten the pledges and so too has the Mayor.

A year ago, Boris claimed he would cut waste at City Hall but has instead ushered in an era of cronyism. Moreover, his addiction to vanity projects appears undimmed by the failure of his £60 million cable car or his bike hire scheme that will bleed £35 million of taxpayer money over the next three years (despite the promise it wouldn’t cost the taxpayer a penny).

He claimed he would put money back into the pockets of Londoners by cutting council tax yet the £3.72 he saved every London household this year is being more than clawed back through the explosion in transport fares. Weeks after promising to create 200,000 new jobs he exclaimed that “it’s not my job to create jobs”. The number of unemployed Londoners has increased by over 70% during his tenure yet he forgot to spend the £110 million earmarked for jobs and regeneration that was gifted to him by the government.

He pledged to add an extra 1,000 police officers to London’s streets yet there are fewer officers today than in either 2012 or 2008. His “rationalisation” of the Metropolitan Police involves closing 63 police stations and downgrading of countless others.

The headline of his 2012 campaign – and the final point of his plan – was that he was uniquely placed to secure a better deal for London from the Prime Minister. His attempts to block any form of “Kosovo style social cleansing” in London as a result of capping benefits seems to have fallen on deaf ears: not only are the government pursuing their welfare reforms unperturbed but they are actually using London to test out the benefit cap. Sometimes he doesn’t even bother: several Accident & Emergency wards in London are under threat of closure and despite countless requests to support the campaign to keep them open, Boris has barely lifted a finger.

He has delegated more decision making powers to his advisers, reducing his own workload further. Judging by his recent interventions, the EU referendum is occupying his mind more than London’s housing crisis. He has found the time to visit Conservative Associations in Derbyshire and Leicestershire and has become linked with safe seats in Croydon, Reigate, Richmond and Louth.

Back in City Hall, his team have been scrambling to put together “London 2020”, a document outlining Boris’ vision for the capital over the rest of this decade. It would be a worthwhile exercise if this had come after 5 months in the job, not 5 years. The challenges facing London in 2020 are only more acute versions of the problems that London faces today; problems that the Mayor has thus far shown no interest in solving. How do we build the housing and the infrastructure required to cater for a city of nine million people? With rents rising eight times faster than wages, how do we make sure our capital city doesn’t become a Monte Carlo-on-Thames, affordable for only the super rich? These are challenging questions that require ingenuity and creativity, not just soundbites and “piffle”. Yet with his eyes already measuring up the curtains in Downing Street, who trusts Boris to care enough to consider the solutions, let alone implement them?

David Lammy is the Member of Parliament for Tottenham

He has published a summary of Boris Johnson’s achievements thus far here with a fuller analysis here.

  • http://twitter.com/renieanjeh Renie Anjeh

    Boris would not be Mayor had we had a strong candidate rather than Ken Livingstone. Labour is in part to blame for this clown’s continued kakistocracy over our City – if only David Lammy, Alan Johnson or Tessa Jowell were our candidate then we would have won.

    • Helen

      I agree. I thought Oona King was a very credible candidate and couldn’t understand how we ended up with Ken Livingstone again. We’re always saying we need more women in politics and then when a strong woman does put herself forward she’s not supported.

  • Brad

    Somebody needs to set up an alternative free London evening paper to The Evening Standard, which is just a mouthpiece for Johnson and never challenges him.

Latest

  • News Labour’s next leader needs to get older voters back on side, urges Liam Byrne

    Labour’s next leader needs to get older voters back on side, urges Liam Byrne

    Liam Byrne has urged Labour’s next leader to get “the silver majority” back on side. Or he warns the party will be left “on the sidelines” at the next election. In an article for the Telegraph (£), the Shadow Minister for Universities, Science and Skills writes the Britain’s “silver majority” – those aged over the age of 55  – might for the first time “make up the majority of voters in the 2020 general election.” Byrne argues that the Tories won […]

    Read more →
  • News “Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack” – the full text of Ken Livingstone’s 7/7 speech

    “Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack” – the full text of Ken Livingstone’s 7/7 speech

    Today commemorates 10 years since the 7/7 attacks, in which 52 people were killed and hundreds were injured when four suicide bombers attacked London’s transport network. Ken Livingstone was London’s Mayor at the time. You can watch a video of the speech here and here is the full text: This was a cowardly attack, which has resulted in injury and loss of life. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been injured, or lost loved ones. I want to thank […]

    Read more →
  • News Tony Blair says terrorism threat “is not going away and will intensify in time to come”

    Tony Blair says terrorism threat “is not going away and will intensify in time to come”

    Tony Blair has said the threat of terrorism “is not going away and will intensify in time to come”. In an interview with the BBC to commemorate 10 years since the 7/7 bombings in London, the former prime minister  – who was in power at the time of the attacks – said Islamist extremism had spread “right across the world”. To deal with this he urged the West to show it has “the means of combating these people and combating […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Polling New polling indicates late Tory swing hurt Labour

    New polling indicates late Tory swing hurt Labour

    Conservatives gained more than any other party from late changes of heart, in what is being partially credited to their warnings against a Labour/SNP pact. In research for the Daily Record, Survation contacted 1,700 voters in England they had spoken to prior to the election to see which party they ended up supporting. More Tory supporters stuck with their initial choice than any other major party – just 12.5% of those who said they would vote Conservative gave their backing […]

    Read more →
  • News Mandelson slams Labour’s “awful complacency”

    Mandelson slams Labour’s “awful complacency”

    The Labour Party has “gone back to sleep” and allowed an “awful complacency” to set in since the election, according to Peter Mandelson. In an interview with Newsnight, the Labour peer lambasts that the desire for radical thinking that defined the party immediately after the election defeat has been lost. The former Cabinet minister said: “Everyone said in the 24-48 hours after our defeat this year: ‘Oh my God, we’ve really got to think radically, overhaul, and realise where we […]

    Read more →
Share with your friends










Submit