Thursday, 27 November 2008

Evening Standard: Spot the Difference

Evening Standard editorial before Boris Johnson announced that he would scrap the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge:

Evening Standard editorial after Boris Johnson announced that he would scrap the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge:

Yeah but, no but, yeah but, he's a progressive really!


Anonymous said...

I spy the old chestnut of "it made no difference to traffic speeds".


The Troll said...

Of course allowing 30,000 more cars into the area is going to do wonders for those traffic speeds. Veronica Wadley is going to find it difficult to spin this one in 2012 (but I'm sure she'll manage).

Tom said...

That suggests that the Standard really didn't know which way the cat would jump, which further suggests that Boris actually had a difficult choice to make (which means he's made the wrong choice).

I suspect all Boris's Tory advisors were pushing him to abolish - Malthouse definitely would, Ranger I reckon would too, if he's worked out what his job is yet. All the Tory AMs would. He's bent in the wind like a reed. No balls, that man - the contradictions will expose his weakness sooner or later.

However, we can look forward to some awkward questions with numbers in at the next MQTs, though. Go get 'im, Val and Jenny!

Nick said...

I write not as friend of Boris.

However it is very hard to prove that the CC extension did 'make' £70 million a year. TfL accounts are deliberately obscure on this point, even though its a line that TFL have spun in the past, probably because Ken wanted it so.

And giving all the people who lived in this residential area of west London a free pass did push up traffic levels in the original zone, thus spoiling a good plan.

Now what is really needed is a much smaller CC zone that charges people driving to the new Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush. The site is well served by brand new transport facilities. Do you think Andrew Gilligan and the Standard might support such a campaignJ

The Troll said...

That sounds quite similar to the Lib Dem's plans to me, is it not? If Boris nicks them first, then yes I'm sure the ES would support them.

Tom said...

The changes of Boris introducing any road pricing scheme anywhere are zero, so no.

"TfL accounts are deliberately obscure on this point"

Hmm, I'll have to check, but the CC is legally bound to report to the Secretary of State for Transport on the progress of the scheme, so a degree of openness is built in. There's a yearly report, for instance.

Simon Fletcher said...

It's worth noting the comment of the London Cycling Campaign on the front page of its website:
"Mayor's triple whammy for cyclists. Motorbikes in bus lanes, less money for borough cycle routes, shrinking congestion charge: it's not been a good month for cyclists..."
More here:

Steve Platt makes a point (also to be found on the Progressive London website) about whether the public consultation process really reveals the popular support claimed in the Mayor's press statement:

He argues: "In the TfL survey, only 41 per cent of individuals (out of 2,000 surveyed) favoured getting rid of the western extension and only half of businesses (out of 1,000). Thirty per cent of individuals favoured keeping it as it is and 15 per cent said they would keep it but make changes to the way it operates (such as easing restrictions in the middle of the day).

"On a crude reckoning that makes a 45:41 per cent majority in favour of keeping a modified scheme – which is an odd sort of popular mandate for its abolition. If Bojo goes ahead with getting rid of it – and incurs all the costs of doing so, including the removal of signs and cameras and road marking and all the rest, as well as the estimated £70 million annual revenue loss – let it be clear that it is his decision. He should not be allowed to hide behind some floppy notion of the ‘people’ having spoken."

The Troll said...

I think there is little point in arguing over the figures, although I concede the point about the survey. Ultimately though this was Boris's decision. We don't elect a mayor to hold a series of consultations and surveys, we elect them to make decisions. Boris has made his decisions on transport and they will mean higher fares and less investment in infrastructure. If that's what you want from a Mayor then re-elect him in 2012. Personally I will vote for anybody who will reverse his increasingly pro-motorist and anti-public transport agenda. That's the choice that we will be faced with then and Boris will not be able to hide behind a list of consultations when the time comes.

organic cheeseboard said...

it is perhaps pointless to dwell on the consultation figures, but it seems clear that the 41% consultation was much more scientific than the one BoJo has been trumpeting as his reason for the abolishment.

I also find it odd that so many news reports have swallowed the idea that this is a truly popular decision whole based on the pro-scrapping figures.

I am waiting for the cycling community to get a better PR person so they can get their opposition to his policies into the mainstream media. BoJo relies a lot on the idea that 'he is a cyclist and understand their needs' but the reality is quite different - he occasionally cycles but seems to consistently champion cyclist-unfriendly policy...

The Troll said...

Yes I'm surprised you don't get more input from cycling groups on BBC London for instance. Jenny Jones seems to be on there almost every night and does a good job, but I sometimes think the BBC go to her almost as the default option on any vaguely green-related issue. It would be good to hear more from other campaigning groups.

Anonymous said...

The evening standard's impartiality has sunk to Daily Mirror levels.