Sunday, 30 November 2014

What exactly is the point of the Mayor of London

We had eight years of Ken Livingstone and we are six and a half years into the reign of Boris. The question is, has the idea of a directly elected Mayor been a success? What have the Mayors delivered? Here's my list

Congestion charging
Low emission zones
London overground
Oyster cards
Bendy buses
Boris buses
Boris bikes
Cable cars
The Olympics

Quite an impressive list, isn't it. You could say that having a Mayor has been a brilliant success. Sadly that is only half of the picture. What are the problems in London which KenBoz have failed to address?

Atrocious air quality
Chronic suburban overdevelopment
Growing poverty for the bottom 33%
Atrocious outer suburban orbital public transport
Parking mayhem
Destruction of commercial real estate
Increased response times for emergency services
Huge public transport fare increases
Atrocious late night and weekend public transport
No coordination of road works
Decline of live music venues
Increasing road congestion

It's pretty clear that if you have an elected mayor you get grand schemes and snazzy pet projects. What it seems you are far less likely to get is someone who is interested in the unsexy nuts and bolts that really matter to the vast majority of residents in the city. In there own ways and by their own criteria, both mayors have been outstanding successes. The trouble is that their criteria and their priorities are not shared by average Londoners.

I asked 'what exactly is the point of elected mayors'. It seems to me that the answer is to give trouble making egomaniacs something to do with their time where they can't cause too many problems for their parliamentary colleagues.

2 comments:

baarnett said...

The Supplementary Planning Guidance produced by Barnet council for Brent Cross/West Hendon predicts 29,100 extra cars/day, due to redevelopment.

Both Ken and Boris went along with that.

So there's no-one to vote for, if you didn't/don't want that, is there?

Andrew Rush said...

As far as I can recall, the only solid reason (apart from the woolly "everyone else has got one" type) given at the time of the vote for having a London Mayor was to help with a bid for the Olympics.

That's been and gone, so no more need for a mayor and assembly.