Friday, 22 January 2010

Boris Johnson silences dissent at rail summit

Boris Johnson has written to London Assembly Members asking them to "not participate" at an upcoming summit with train operators.

The summit would have been a good opportunity for London politicians to question our notoriously unaccountable train operators.

However, in a letter sent out to Assembly Members this week Boris writes that:

"As you are aware, when I was elected as Mayor of London I made a commitment to hold a summit with train operating companies serving the Greater London area. I am writing to invite you to attend as an observer, to the summit on the 12th February. Given the time constraints, as an observer I ask that you do not participate in the business of the meeting."

AMs have been badgering Boris about this "emergency summit" ever since he promised to hold one in his manifesto.

Initially promised within his "first few weeks" in power, the summit was inexplicably allowed to slip.

He eventually explained that this was simply to avoid a row:

Caroline Pidgeon AM: "I would have thought it would be wise to have a meeting with them urgently to try to bash their heads together and try to make progress on this, so why have you not met with them and will you now commit to meet with them to try to get this deal signed as soon as possible?"

Boris: "The reason I have not met with them, as you will appreciate, is because we are trying to do the deal before we have the summit. Like most summits the summit is basically intended to be totally pre-cooked by the Sherpas of the summit and nobody particularly wants - least of all me - all the TOCs to arrive at a summit where we have a row and a walk out. I want to have a glorious summit in which we walk out having done the deal."

But now the deal has been done, and Boris is to have his "glorious summit."

And no amount of bickering over ludicrous permit systems, fare inequalities, or snowmageddon will be allowed to get in the way.


Political Animal said...

He's getting right snarky with AMs these days, isn't he? Tetchy MQTs, this, Jenny Jones' tweet today about being told not to criticise him or she'll never get another meeting...

Mark Lee said...

This smacks of a worrying trend where the mayor seems to be trying to undermine the Assembly.

Quite frankly I find this treatment of my democratically elected representatives unacceptable.

AdamB said...

Mark- There's lots more examples of that trend. It doesn't quite fit with the self-styled image for open government.

PA - Yes I had a similar thought when I read her tweet:

Anonymous said...

Boris's 101st achievement!

Anonymous said...

But did Jenny Jones ever criticise Livingstone?

AdamB said...

Maybe you should ask her.

Tom said...

"But did Jenny Jones ever criticise Livingstone?"

Undoubtedly - Ken wasn't particularly green until about 2006 and the Greens were strongly opposed to the Thames Gateway Bridge, and made their point repeatedly. Thus:

"Sadly, just when it was beginning to look as if a sustainable transport policy for London could be achieved, TfL dusted off a 27-year-old dinosaur of a road-building project that contradicts 'sustainable transport', whatever your definition. The Thames Gateway Bridge is being promoted in the name of ‘regeneration’, with the bizarre hope that traffic from a motorway-size road will somehow create jobs. The final sustainable transport measure that we insisted on in the Mayor’s budget was therefore £50,000 for the communities around the Thames Gateway Bridge to commission research demonstrating quite clearly that a six-lane superhighway is not a sustainable route to regeneration."

I'd say that was fairly critical.