If you can, read this on my work blog? Then I can show my boss that people actually read my stuff...
The London Mayoral Elections are happening on the 3rd of May. I've been asked, by friends and family, for information about candidates. It made me think that maybe other young people want this information too. So, over the next couple of weeks I'll do a series of posts on all of the major candidates.
What people want is unbiased information. I can't give you that, I don't think anyone can. Whatever I write, even if it's just facts, gets affected by how I think. But I'll try to make it clear what's fact and what's not, add links to other people's opinions, and links to where I get my information from.
Conservative Boris Johnson
OK. I'll start with what the candidates themselves say they'll do if elected.
So, Johnson has promised1 to…
Cut waste at City Hall
Freeze the mayoral share of council tax
Create 20,000 new jobs (This figure includes short-term jobs during the Olympics)
Put 1,000 new police on the beat
Restore 300 acres of green space, plant 20,000 new trees.
Invest £221 million in high streets to support local businesses
Ensure a true Olympic legacy (11,000 new homes, 10,000 new jobs)
Reduce tube delays by 30% by 2015, by building Crossrail and orbital rail to connect the suburbs, and extending the bike-hire scheme.
Secure the best deal for London from the government, because of his relationship with the David Cameron and the Conservatives.
I don't think we can judge politicians just on what they say. So, where possible, I'm going to add some information about what they've done before when they were in power.
Johnson as Mayor 2008 to 2012…
Increased tube and bus fares throughout London (5.6% this year alone) 2
Increased funding to Rape Crisis Centres in 2010, after he'd been mayor for two years, in response to a grassroots campaign and pressure from the London Assembly. 3
Put in place the "Barclays Bikes" for hire in central London to encourage cycling.
Banned alcohol on the public transport.4 (If people have to finish their drinks before getting on, won't they be more drunk on the train? Am I missing something here?)
Reintroduced the routemaster buses. They're supposed to be very green. But, they were expensive (more than 7 times more expensive than a standard double-decker). 5 Personally, I'm sure there were cheaper options for green busses.
Scrapped the Western extension of the congestion charging zone, and scrapped the low emissions zone.6
Overall... (Yes, this bit's my own opinion)
Boris Johnson has worked hard to create an image of being independent from his party and its leadership. However, when you look at his policies, he's a Tory through and through. He wants to cut taxes, decrease public spending, and increase fares. This will hit lower-income people the hardest, while helping people who are better off. He tries to appear environmentally friendly, spending money on green spaces (an interesting priority right now); but when it comes to tough decisions, he backs down.
Next post – Labour candidate Ken Livingstone. Hopefully up in the next few days.
2 ./news/uk-england-london-16379656, ./news/uk-england-london-16391637
3 ./politics/2009/oct/21/boris-johnson-rape-crisis-centres , http:/www..uk/page/s/rapecrisis , ./ , ./news_?id=30
5 ., ./news/uk-england-london-17173625
6 ., ./politics/2009/feb/04/london-emissions-mayor