Friday, August 24, 2007

Havering's Newest Councillor

Is my good friend Lynden Thorpe, who tonight won the hotly contested Squirrel's Heath by election. The Conservative campaign was well planned, well supported and extremely hard work, which paid off with the following result:

Conservative 1,828
Residents 310
Labour 210
National Liberals 170
UKIP 134
Spoiled papers 5

On a low turnout in a strong ward, this still represented a swing to us from the residents and Labour. The Labour result was particularly poor.

I am looking forward to working with Cllr Thorpe, who will be a great member of our authority.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

September Londoner

Has just hit my doormat. This is the second 'bus fare cut' edition following last month's 'award winning' production. Typical - you wait three and a half years for a mention of fares, then two come along at once...

This time you can enjoy:

Bus fares down by 10% from the end of September Front page (pretty similar to August's front page)

Using Oyster slashes the cost of travel Pg2

Have your say on charging heavy polluters Pg3

Safer transport patrols in all 21 of capital's outer boroughs Pg5

Half price bus fares for Londoners on income support Pg6

Builders given green light on Olympic site Pg7

Freedom passes are a 'lifeline for over 60s' Pg9

The challenge facing the Met Pg10, double page interview with Sir Ian Blair

Pg13 features a picture of clowns gathering for a meeting - add your own caption.

This latest 'low fares' edition was sponsored by advertising from TfL (pg4), the Liberty Festival (pg6), Summer of Sport (pg12), TfL (pg16), and TfL, with the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela !! (back page).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Mayoral Hustings Comes to Redbridge

And I'm going to be chairing it!

The date is 11th September, the venue is the Lambourne Room at Ilford Town Hall. Hustings begin at 7.30pm and will provide an opportunity for all 4 Conservative nominees to lay out their proposals in front of a local audience.

The four candidates are:

Andrew Boff, former leader of Hillingdon Council and former Hackney Councillor.

Victoria Borwick, Kensington & Chelsea Councillor.

Boris Johnson, MP for Henley and newspaper columnist.

Warwick Lightfoot, former Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea.

To attend you need to register by contacting or you can ring Emma direct on 020 7984 8152.

We want a packed audience to put them (and me) through their paces...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Clearing my Desk

Just for summer, so don't anyone get too excited...

In one of the drawers I unearthed a plastic pass card with my picture on it. Unremarkable, until I realised that it had been issued on a visit to the World Trade Centre, dated 2 February 2001. Some members were visiting New York to see what Bob Kiley had done for their subway system - little did we know how the world would change in just a few months. Some quotes from New Yorkers we met have remained with me:

When I heard there were English people here, I just had to drop by to thank you for the way you have always stood by our country in difficult times - a senior official at the World Trade Centre made this prophetic comment.

Not every fare evader is a criminal, but every criminal is a fare evader -The subway police chief talks about their policy of following up the police files of ticket dodgers.

Giuliani only gets elected because the white European immigrants support him - One of many democrats we met who complained about the mayor being right wing, and popular.

There was this stretch of road in Queens where we had a lot of pedestrians being run over, so we deployed our police and prosecuted people for jay walking - One of the Mayor's transport advisors explained their approach to road safety.

We really loved your Margaret Thatcher - A senior representative of the subway workers union, clearly out of step with our own RMT.

And best of all, when we got back home:

He's made a much better job of your Tube than he did of ours - A New York tourist visiting London (Kiley was due to take up his post as London Transport Commissioner several months later)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

London is a Region - and that's Official

Another gem from the July decision list. the Mayor has agreed to the GLA becoming a member of the English Regions Network (whatever that is):

The annual membership fee agreed between the GLA and the English Regions Network has been established at £10,000 per annum. The first year membership fee will cover the period until the end of March 2007, costs of which will be met from the 2007/08 Borough Liaison Programme budget.

The date suggests that we have paid retrospectively for last year, let's hope it's a typo. The English Regions Network is pretty low profile - they should be paying us to join them...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Lights, Cameras, Inaction!

The Mayor's decision list is out for July, making interesting reading. There's lots of spending - obviously summer is an expensive time at City Hall. An example is the approval of a video for the launch of the draft Mayor's Housing Strategy:

The estimated cost of producing the video to the GLA is £32,000 and will be met from the housing & homelessness programme budget.

The GLA doesn't build any homes, but it provides something to watch - and this is just the draft strategy. Whatever will the video for the adopted strategy cost?

Capital Ring - Beckton to Woolwich

Completed the last stage this morning. Unfortunately the final river walk is closed off for development works (and has been for over two years) and the alternative is a less interesting walk along a road past the airport. Hopefully TfL and the LDA will sort this section out soon.

My next project will be the much longer London Loop.