Thursday, 1 May 2008

Livingstone "extraordinarily successful Mayor"

A very fair analysis this morning from the Indie's Steve Richards:

(...) many elections present difficult choices. Today's contest in London is not one of them. Livingstone has been an extraordinarily successful Mayor under difficult circumstances. Presumably some voters have complacently forgotten what the city was like before he got the job, queuing for tickets to go on a hopeless underground service, waiting for buses that never came, no hope of a new Crossrail linking parts of this unwieldy capital.

Now travellers whiz through the ticket machines with their oyster cards, the rate of increase in cars entering the city has stalled and buses run around the clock. Recently I met on holiday a non-Labour voter who lived in Bristol, despairing of her local authority that had failed to seize the initiative on every front. "I wish we had someone like Ken Livingstone", she added.

Richards continues:

Presumably those striding to the polling stations seething with misjudged fury at Livingstone, and hailing Johnson as a decent chap, have decided that it is a coincidence that their teenage kids are now able to get around the city relatively smoothly on the buses. Perhaps those over 60 who travel for nothing believe that their free access is a gift from God. (...) so sheltered in their disconnected, atomised lives that they assume things happen around them without reason, no buses one year, lots the next, cheaper houses one year and none the next.

They have failed on a second count too. They have fallen for the relentless anti-Livingstone propaganda in the Evening Standard, spiced by the spineless imbeciles at Channel Four who echoed the orthodoxy by making a one-sided anti-Livingstone film. Would it not be a triumph for democracy if the voters of London showed that they are bright enough not to be brainwashed by an unelected newspaper?

Unfortunately, most of the people who can still make a difference today probably don't read the Independent.

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