Here’s what Boris didn’t say…

Alex Hern explores the negative record of London Mayor Boris Johnson in office, something strangely glossed over in his speech today at the Tory conference.

Boris Johnson was in his normal jocular mood this morning, giving a speech that was so whimsical that conference-goers could be heard chuckling at the end of literally every sentence, joke or not.

Hidden amongst the jokes and strange extended metaphors was little of substance, largely dominated by congratulations for a good year gone by – in this narrative, even the riots themselves prove Boris right, arguing that they demonstrate that the zero tolerance policing he wants is necessary.

Apparently we were all wrong, and there aren’t any complex socio-economic causes to the disorder, we just have to stop people swearing at the police and everything will be fine.

The self-congratulatory part of the speech didn’t cover a huge number of areas, however, possibly because Johnson doesn’t have a huge number of areas to congratulate himself on.

For everything like the Olympics – which is, of course, largely independent of the Mayor’s office – or planting 50,000 trees – five times the original plan, to be sure, but also five per cent of amount promised by Ken Livingstone – there are fields he will be less eager to touch upon.

He made a big deal in his speech that he would

“not allow police numbers to fall below a level I believe is safe or reasonable for a city like London”

But some may wonder just how low that level is. Johnson has already cut London’s police by almost 2,000 officers, including over 1,000 locally assigned borough police officers in the last year alone.

He may not believe that these cuts are unreasonable, but their effects are hardly positive. Since his election, the number of  young people injured by knives is up 34 per cent, common assault is up 8 per cent, and shoplifting is up 20 per cent. And for all the fuss he made of the number of Cycle Ride bikes stolen – an impressively low 18 since the program began – those who own their own bike aren’t so lucky, with bike theft more than doubled.

When it came to transport, Johnson was all about looking to the future, with a plan to offer the Treasury a “wheel deal” (it’s a pun, you see) to get more investment in London’s infrastructure. Looking forward is probably a good idea, since looking to the past highlights some of his biggest failures of all. The most obvious, to all Londoners, is his attitude to fares.

A single bus fare is up 56 per cent , and a Zone 1-4 travelcard up 23 per cent since his election – indeed, fares have risen above inflation every year since Boris Johnson was elected. And Londoners aren’t getting a better service for this money. Tube delays are up almost 10 per cent since 2008, leading to over 3 million customer hours now lost every month (PDF).

As Ken Livingstone said after the speech:

“Today we saw the real Boris Johnson – an out-of-touch Conservative, failing to put ordinary Londoners first on the issues that really affect them, from rising fares to police cuts…

“Under the Conservatives, Londoners are less well off and increasingly less safe, under a moonlighting mayor who meets bankers more than the police. People in London are feeling the squeeze but Boris Johnson doesn’t see it.

See also

Livingstone starts the mayoral race on policy, not personalityShelly Asquith, September 26th 2011

Housing will define the London Mayoral electionSteve Hilditch, September 12th 2011

Why isn’t Boris coming up with any solutions to London’s housing crisis?Jenny Jones AM,September 9th 2011

Double-counting Boris’s latest sleight of hand should come as no surpriseNicky Gavron AM, September 2nd 2011

It’s Ken v Boris the rematchShamik Das, September 24th 2010

25 Responses to “Here’s what Boris didn’t say…”

  1. paulstpancras

    Here’s what Boris didn’t say…: http://t.co/vccAafhZ by @AlexHern #ToryCon #CPC11

  2. Legal Aware

    Here’s what Boris didn’t say…: http://t.co/vccAafhZ by @AlexHern #ToryCon #CPC11

  3. Political Planet

    Here’s what Boris didn’t say…: Alex Hern explores the negative record of London Mayor Boris Johnson in office, s… http://t.co/J5bvo0ev

  4. .

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  5. Jane Leach

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  6. david white

    Here’s what Boris didn’t say…: http://t.co/vccAafhZ by @AlexHern #ToryCon #CPC11

  7. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Here’s what Boris didn’t say… http://t.co/198MkUZI

  8. Troy Watts

    Here’s what Boris didn’t say…: http://t.co/vccAafhZ by @AlexHern #ToryCon #CPC11

  9. Daniel Elton

    @shellyasquith @ken4london @tomcopley Here’s what Boris didn’t say…: http://t.co/bjY7HdVn on @leftfootfwd #ToryCon #CPC11

  10. Samantha Johnston

    Here’s what Boris didn’t say…: http://t.co/vccAafhZ by @AlexHern #ToryCon #CPC11

  11. Alex Braithwaite

    Here’s what Boris didn’t say…: http://t.co/vccAafhZ by @AlexHern #ToryCon #CPC11

  12. Michael

    Here’s what Boris didn’t say… l Left Foot Forward – http://j.mp/qWNLfa

  13. Sir Muppet of Smegg

    RT @TheRightArticle: Here’s what Boris didn’t say… l Left Foot Forward – http://j.mp/qWNLfa

  14. Alex Hern

    THIRD TRY. A trio of reasons to back #ken4london: http://t.co/efuSr7hL http://t.co/1tOzVZJM http://t.co/xgNyiOdN

  15. A lesson from Delhi for Boris | Left Foot Forward

    […] all this, Boris Johnson has scaled back the congestion charge, introduced above inflation rises in rail fares and government spending cuts have delayed the Crossrail […]

  16. Rob the crip

    But of course we will see soon enough whether the people agree with Boris or Ken, I suspect if Kens loses this, his days will be behind him and his hope of getting into the house of lords will be the last goodbye.

    I myself like Ken he’s the last of the old Labour party I remember, but sadly this type of politician has been replaced now and whether the people will trust Ken will be seen.

  17. Shelly Asquith

    What Boris Johnson didn't say in his speech to #cpc11: http://t.co/i2cKJm7w – via @leftfootfwd

  18. Alex Hern

    @ShellyAsquith see this? RT @alexhern: A trio of reasons to back #ken4london: http://t.co/efuSr7hL http://t.co/1tOzVZJM http://t.co/xgNyiOdN

  19. Sadiq Khan

    What Boris Johnson didn't say in his speech to #cpc11: http://t.co/i2cKJm7w – via @leftfootfwd

  20. Shelly Asquith

    @ShellyAsquith see this? RT @alexhern: A trio of reasons to back #ken4london: http://t.co/efuSr7hL http://t.co/1tOzVZJM http://t.co/xgNyiOdN

  21. David Morgan

    What Boris Johnson didn't say in his speech to #cpc11: http://t.co/i2cKJm7w – via @leftfootfwd

  22. Boris’s policies are making London less safe | Left Foot Forward

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