Boris, not Bob Crow, is the one behaving outrageously

When Boris ran for office in 2008, he opposed the closure of 40 ticket offices by his predecessor Ken Livingstone.

Over the coming days strike action by London Underground staff will be characterised in certain quarters as the action of out of control union ‘barons’ intent on ‘holding the country to ransom’.

Last week the rich were threatening to elope if Labour introduced a 5p increase in the top rate of income tax; this week London Underground staff will walk out over a plan to close every single London Underground ticket office and cut up to 1,000 jobs.

Yet only one of the above will be on the receiving end of vitriol in the press.

I’m sure you can hazard a guess as to which one.

Particularly lamentable is the extent to which London Mayor Boris Johnson is escaping the scrutiny visited upon those who will be walking out tomorrow.

In his £250,000 a year weekly column for the Daily Telegraph, the Mayor wrote today that, while he did not begrudge Bob Crow his holiday (Crow has scandalised the right by taking time off), the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) boss was not entitled to “disrupt the lives of millions of people who are not on holiday but who want to work”.

“It is absolutely outrageous that London, the motor of the UK economy – now contributing 25 per cent of GDP – should be held to ransom by this tiny minority,” he wrote.

The assumption is that it is the union boss, rather than the Mayor of London, who is rocking the boat unnecessarily by leading his members on a walkout.

What short memories the Mayor and his supporters have.

Whether or not ticket office closures on the London Underground are inevitable, almost no criticism is being levelled at Johnson (I won’t call him Boris, because he’s not my friend) for pledges made by him whilst running for Mayor in 2008 and then again in 2012.

When Johnson ran for office in 2008, he opposed the closure of 40 ticket offices by his predecessor Ken Livingstone. During that campaign, Johnson even signed a petition calling for London Underground to abandon plans to “drastically reduce the opening hours” of ticket offices.

Boris J tickets-JPEG

In his manifesto he also promised to ensure that “there is always a manned ticket office in every station”.

He repeated this promise again in 2010.

And yet, today the closure of ticket offices is being billed as something which tube workers should have been expecting all along – despite the fact that the Mayor had been saying the opposite for a number of years.

Three quarters (77 per cent) of RMT members who voted in the ballot backed strike action, whereas Boris Johnson won the 2012 Mayoral election with 55 per cent of the vote – and many who voted for the Mayor did so under the impression that he would not close London Underground ticket offices.

If nothing else, the Mayor’s giant u-turn is certainly more newsworthy than pictures of Bob Crow sunning himself in Rio de Janeiro.

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13 Responses to “Boris, not Bob Crow, is the one behaving outrageously”

  1. Ame

    The fare prices are greater than inflation, to keep up with all the retirees of the tube network… if you can find somewhere else to cut I’d like to know.

    In the bigger picture I’m afraid this is called progression. Computers will automate a lot of work in the future, ticket offices will be going the way of the dodo too. New york doesn’t have a person at every ticket office – why do we need to spend the extra money?

  2. swatnan

    You may remember that old joke about the monkey and the astronaut sent up together. The monkey was the brains and did all the work, just like these automated machines, and the astronaut’s job was to feed the monkey. TfL is becoming just like that ; any personnel left will just be there to oil the machinary every now and then.
    Unfortuantely the machines can’t stop you getting mugged or advise if you lose your way.

  3. John Smith

    Greedy bastedos £50,000 pa and they just keep on hitting their fellow workers.
    Not so much comrades as pariahs

  4. uglyfatbloke

    So Boris is exposed as a lying get…as he should be….but he got away with the old tory chestnut of ‘London produces 25% of the GDP….bollocks. The revenue may accrue in London for accounting purposes, but a lot of it is manufactured grown elsewhere.

  5. Sparky

    I can tell you live in the North.

  6. uglyfatbloke

    Or in the Midlands – or in Wales – or in the West Country – or in Scotland – or in anywhere that is n’t London.

  7. Mike Oxenfire

    This is excellent news. The underground does not need manned ticket offices in the second decade of the 21st century.
    The L.U. exists for the benefit of its customers, and not to provide jobs, which can be better performed by machines.

    There will still be members of staff on duty to give assistance, and answer questions.
    What is the problem?

    This is all a done deal, and anyone that opposes it is a dribbling leftist moron.
    The drivers will be the next to go, The Docklands Light Railway has been using driver-less trains for years, with excellent results.

    That enormous ring piece, Bob Crow, is only hastening the advent of driverless trains on the L.U. and the idiot drivers are too stupid to see it!!
    They are cutting their own throats!!

    Never mind they can all blame Thatch when they are all down the dole office.
    Socialists are fools.

  8. Mike Oxenfire

    If you try to think like a leftist moron, you will realise that the London Underground only exists to keep people employed.

    Its secondary purpose is to provide a service to its customers.

  9. Dave Stewart

    why do you come on a leftwing blog to do nothing but level abuse at people with opposing views to you? Does it make you feel good about yourself?

  10. Mike Oxenfire

    Dave, I am here to give an alternative viewpoint, one that leftists don’t particularly want to hear.
    Leftists love diversity, but not diversity of opinion.
    I would hardly say I am doing nothing but dishing out abuse, but perhaps what you would consider to be abuse, I call FACT.

    Bob Crow is a half pint Scargill, he is leading his members on exactly the same silly dance to the slaughterhouse, and they are all to blind to see it.

  11. will

    isn’t the suggestion to get the people out from behind the shatterproof glass, and onto the platforms/halls?

  12. Tony Gelt

    Mike what do you think we should do when there are no jobs left because computers and machines have taken the place of humans just look in the banks and supermarkets people are being replaced to gain more and more profit. We need the jobs because we have family’s to feed machines don’t.

  13. Michael

    “I won’t call him Boris, because he’s not my friend”

    You called him Boris in the post title

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