I also would be very hesitant to call Ken a blair-ite! I also don't think he was ever an out and out socialist!
He works very hard and makes a real effort to stand up for the actual people of London. He listens to points of view and, I think, manages to achieve a good Balance between representing business and the people.
OK, so (some) people have a problem with what he is doing with regards to development, but you have to remember that London is singnificantly bigger then SE1! We are a small minority in a relatively small area of London.
When Ken claims that 'English Heritage is the Taliban of British architecture,' and that unless they stop objecting to skyscapers
"they will do more damage to London's future as a world city than the Luftwaffe", I think this raises hackles more widely than just SE1.
There is a certain irony that one of Ken's populist actions when he was still at the GLC was to fund Coin Street Community Builders.
"...Livingstone began his career as the GLC's leader with a highly effective campaign to stop Richard Rogers building a so-called Berlin Wall of offices stretching a third of a mile across Coin Street on the South Bank. In those days Livingstone and his allies believed that what London needed was affordable homes in the city centre: schools and shops, not yet more offices." Article from the Observer in 2001
But, a vote for Ken is also a vote for Labour. The party that dragged us into war that should not have been there, to only name one issue.....Ken may not be a Blair-ite, he certainly succombed to his pressure. It'll be Simon Hughes for me.
I had huge hopes for Ken, and I voted for him in the last election.
But his riding roughshod over the local planning processes, to encourage tall buildings is hugley destructive. I think his encouragement for the tower block next to the Tate Modern, the advice to make the tower in Long Lane taller, and his support for the planned buildings at Potters Fields are misguided. He is persuing a policy to get the maximum of key worker housing at the expense of any other consideration. It is the 1960's all over again, when politicians thought they were doing the world a huge favour by building the huge concrete estates.
I',m also not impressed with his work on the tube or the congestion charge
The question that Ken cannot answer is whether Gordon Brown will bail his ambitious spending plans out - given the antipathy that Brown has shown to him previously, this seems unlikely compared with competing pressures in the Government's spending review.
I'm expecting bus fare increases substantially above inflation for the next few years to fill the gap.
bus fares in london are very cheap compared with bus fares in other places around the country.
We cannot expect good public services if we aren't prepared to pay for them.
The CC has been a good thing. The main problem with it is the company that run the financial aspect of it - i.e. capita.
It makes me sad that Ken is now having to deal with issues that should have been dealt with a long time ago (such as tube maintenance) but he is the one that gets criticised.
Ken has a tendency to look at the bigger picture. What he is suggesting regarding high buildings isn't a return to the huge concrete estates of the 60s. It's a realistic policy that embraces the fact that London is one of the most important urban spaces in the world. Urban architecture has to, in some people's opinions, be built upwards in order to create sustainable and modern solutions. London has relatively few high buildings in comparison to other big cities. Go up to Canary Wharf and wander around. That is a fantastic aream with high buildings. Few can complain about that.
Given that most people tell politicians that they want public transport to be improved (even the AA, RAC etc support this), it is surely a bit naive to suppose that this comes for free.
The argument in the Telegraph article saying that money currently spent on buses in London is being wasted on the basis of an (apparently low) bus occupancy figure calculated over 24 hours to support the argument is entirely specious and intended to mislead.
Buses are generally very full in the peaks - as any commuter who uses them will verify. These buses are then paid for and insured.
This gives the option of
a) letting them sit around in the off peak (saving only diesel and salaries - assuming you can recruit bus drivers on split morning/ evening shifts, which is unlikely), or
b) alternatively, you can maintain the service level to a standard that is likely to encourage usage, as is done now.
If you do the former, then average occupancy calcuated over the day will shoot up - but is that a good thing? I don't think so.
Note that even when occupancy is calculated over a full day, this still gives an average of 14.5 people on every single bus - the equivalent of 10-12 cars-worth.