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Boris is GEIL
May 2, 2008 4:20 PM   Subscribe

It's Boris. London has elected Boris Johnson as its new mayor.
posted by MrMustard (163 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I heard about this guy on NPR and thought to myself, "No way this guy could win in London, America totally, but not London." It's nice to see the Brits playing a little catch up.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 4:23 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fuck nooooooooo.

Well, I don't live there anymore, but next time I return I fully expect London to be a smoking crater.
posted by Artw at 4:24 PM on May 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


The ravens have started packing...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:24 PM on May 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Be afraid. Be very afraid.
posted by paduasoy at 4:26 PM on May 2, 2008


I don't fully understand the British electoral system. This round of elections was for local elective offices, right? It wasn't a Parliamentary election. Reports are that the Tories picked up a huge number of council positions, and now hold a strong plurality, though not an outright majority. And Labor is now in third place, slightly behind the Lib Dems.

So what I want to know is, will this force Gordon Brown to schedule Parliamentary elections? Will the Tories and Lib Dems combine on a vote of no-confidence? Or will Brown try to sail through?

IIRC there have to be Parliamentary elections at least once every five years? How long since the last one?
posted by Class Goat at 4:29 PM on May 2, 2008


Big party at the Evening Standard tonight, I reckon. Wish I were there. Cheers.
posted by bondgirl53001 at 4:29 PM on May 2, 2008


When did the London mayoral race become the Special Olympics of British politics?
posted by GuyZero at 4:30 PM on May 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


wait, so was paddick the spoiler?
posted by kliuless at 4:34 PM on May 2, 2008


Well, Ken was considered pretty wacky back when he usurped whatever the boring Blairite choice was in the first one, so you could argue it's always been that way. Boris though... well, he's taking thinsg to a whole new level.
posted by Artw at 4:35 PM on May 2, 2008


Some come the end of Beijing, there will be Boris accepting the torch on behalf of London... can the whole of Tibet take that opportunity to give him a good kicking.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:36 PM on May 2, 2008


Kliuless, it looks like they're using "instant runoff" voting, which means no one is a spoiler. (That's what the "2nd Pref" column means.)

The point of IRV is to prevent that kind of thing.
posted by Class Goat at 4:38 PM on May 2, 2008


I'm not allowed to editorialise in the FPP, but I'd like to make it clear that I consider this to be a very, very bad thing for London. Like, really bad.
posted by MrMustard at 4:40 PM on May 2, 2008


this is awful, terrible news. It's such a retrograde step for London - Boris is the epitome of all that's wrong with the British right: disdainful of real people and ignorant of issues affecting the majority of Londoners. He's smug and power hungry and has won. Fuck. Sensible analysis can wait for the morning, but this is enough to get me looking for jobs abroad.
posted by patricio at 4:42 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


To all the Brits who didn't understand how Bush got elected: this is how.

But hey, I'd rather have a pint with Boris, wouldn't you? After he "shakes up" Transport for London senior management and destroys the bus system, I hope I'll still be able to get to the pub somehow.
posted by grouse at 4:42 PM on May 2, 2008 [7 favorites]


Well, I guess they'll hold another election in 4 years, if the office, and the city, still exists.
posted by Artw at 4:43 PM on May 2, 2008


You have got to be kidding me.
posted by jokeefe at 4:43 PM on May 2, 2008


ok ic /clueless murican :P

thanks!
posted by kliuless at 4:43 PM on May 2, 2008


... WHAT.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:47 PM on May 2, 2008


LOL.
posted by chrismear at 4:49 PM on May 2, 2008


I hope they do one of those fascinating demographic breakdowns of exits polls taht teh Americans like so much, so I know who to hate for this. A "What the fuck were you thinking?" free text box on the next ballot form would be a good idea too, though ideally it would be made of some kind of special animatronic paper that was able to punch teh voter in the face if they write something stupid like "I thought it would be a laff".
posted by Artw at 4:49 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


LOL. I am winner. Fear my bendy buses.
posted by Boris Johnson at 4:50 PM on May 2, 2008 [16 favorites]


For all the rubbishing London got from its inhabitants, it was looking up under Ken. He was taking the kinds of bold initiatives in transport planning other cities hadn't dared to (like the Congestion Charge, and integrating public transport into Transport For London). BoJo has already indicated that he intends to review the Congestion Charge (which, presumably, means it'll apply only to bicyclists or something), and it wouldn't surprise me if he dissolves Transport For London and sells individual Tube lines off to bus companies. And as for a Paris-style bicycle rental scheme, we can forget about it.

The good news is that it'll be really easy to find parking at the Olympics.
posted by acb at 4:54 PM on May 2, 2008


Ugh.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:54 PM on May 2, 2008


This result totally blows. I really can't believe it.
BoJo is a poncey, foppish wanker. Fuck the suburbs and the stockbroker belt who've elected him.
posted by Flashman at 4:54 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


The next fucking whine I hear out of another British subject about Bush on Metafilter, I will yell "BORIS" right before smacking them in the head with a pair of Doc Martins.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:55 PM on May 2, 2008 [7 favorites]


A lot of Londoners believe that the average Londoner is just plain smarter than the average American. This myth is shattered.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:55 PM on May 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


ITV have a fantastic looking documentary on the future of London coming up this weekend.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:57 PM on May 2, 2008


Maybe he'll bring back smoking in pubs. Heritage, you know.
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:59 PM on May 2, 2008


invective
posted by patricio at 5:00 PM on May 2, 2008


um but oh, wait again sorry, doesn't that violate arrow/condorcet then!?
posted by kliuless at 5:08 PM on May 2, 2008


todo list

1. Reduce crime.
2. Stop over spending.
3. Arrest Polly Toynbee.
4. Declare war on Liverpool.
posted by Boris Johnson at 5:09 PM on May 2, 2008 [9 favorites]


Blazecock, a lot of Londoners feel exactly the same way tonight. I mean, I'd always assumed that a large number of my fellow city dwellers were dribble-brained cocktards, but that there was some sort of essential London thingy that kept everything okay. Confronted with the sheer obstinate reality of the dominance of the cocktards, I'm just pretty much lapsing into alcohol-fuelled rage and despair (and checking out rental prices in Manchester and Edinburgh). And yeah, my fellow Londonscum have basically given up their Bush-joking rights.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
posted by flashboy at 5:09 PM on May 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


nevermind :P
posted by kliuless at 5:10 PM on May 2, 2008


So is he going to abolish his own position?
posted by pompomtom at 5:10 PM on May 2, 2008


It's an absolute fucking embarrassment. What's odd is that the only person I know who seems to be pleased with this result lives in Slough. All the Londoners I know are aghast.

Pickaninnies? Watermelon smiles? It's just a slightly more modern version of this.
posted by liquidindian at 5:11 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


A lot of Londoners believe that the average Londoner is just plain smarter than the average American. This myth is shattered.

That's only because the average mistakenly includes the idiots of Outer London. Fuck them and their Harvesters.
posted by cillit bang at 5:14 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Johnson: “I, really, I want to know…”
Guppy: “I guarantee you he will not be seriously hurt.”
Johnson: “How badly will he be…”
Guppy, interrupting: “He will not have a broken limb or broken arm; he will not be put into intensive care or anything like that. He will probably get a couple of black eyes and a… cracked rib or something.”
Johnson: “Cracked rib?”
Guppy: “Nothing which you didn’t suffer at rugby, OK? But he’ll get scared and that’s what I want… I want him to get scared, I want him to have no idea who’s behind it, OK? And I want him to realise that he’s ****** someone off and that whoever he’s ******* off is not the sort of person he wants to mess around with.” […] The conversation ended with Johnson saying ‘OK, Darrie, I said I’ll do it and I’ll do it.’ *
What a guy.
posted by 15 step at 5:17 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is like the time they gave that Kissinger the Nobel Peace Price.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 5:18 PM on May 2, 2008


That's only because the average mistakenly includes the idiots of Outer London.

Don't forget the good people of Westminster, Kensington, Chelsea, Hammersmith, and Fulham.
posted by grouse at 5:19 PM on May 2, 2008


What's the IT job market like outside of London? Is it still mostly towns along the Thames Valley, or is there stuff happening in Edinburgh or Glasgow? (Scotland sounds pretty good about now.)
posted by acb at 5:20 PM on May 2, 2008


So, other than drinking heavily for the next four years - which I had planned to do regardless of the result - is there anything else I can do to blot this out?
posted by MrMustard at 5:21 PM on May 2, 2008


...the good people of Westminster, Kensington, Chelsea, Hammersmith, and Fulham.

What, both of them?
posted by flashboy at 5:21 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


The next fucking whine I hear out of another British subject about Bush on Metafilter, I will yell "BORIS" right before smacking them in the head with a pair of Doc Martins.

You can do this only until this happens again in six months with McCaine...
posted by tapeguy at 5:22 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Still, chin up, eh? You survived the Blitz... why don't you have a sing song or something.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:24 PM on May 2, 2008


grouse - I happen to be off to Fulham tomorrow. Maybe I should quiz a few residents?
posted by MrMustard at 5:25 PM on May 2, 2008


Also, the BNP now have a seat on the London Assembly. They're even worse than Boris, just on a smaller scale.

This is democracy inaction.
posted by tapeguy at 5:25 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I suspected people were, on average, dumb enough to vote for the shit-eating charlatan, but it's unpleasant and depressing to have that suspicion confirmed. Charlie Brooker's assertion that people would vote for a cartoon character if it had clever enough lines is looking more believable with every passing year.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:25 PM on May 2, 2008


Also, the BNP now have a seat on the London Assembly.

Oh fuck, that's beyond a joke.

You utter utter twat Brown... it says something when you start becoming nostalgic for Blair.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:27 PM on May 2, 2008


Love to be in the room when he explains his pickaninny reference to President Obama.
posted by jtron at 5:27 PM on May 2, 2008


Dire. Bad news for all, I'm afraid.

One hopes that he is quiet and efficient for his time, and then goes away,
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:35 PM on May 2, 2008


The next fucking whine I hear out of another British subject about Bush on Metafilter, I will yell "BORIS" right before smacking them in the head with a pair of Doc Martins.

No, you have to wait to do that until after we re-elect him.

I was at school with Boris. He was a shambolic arse then, and I see no evidence that he's changed.
posted by Hogshead at 5:43 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


.
posted by runincircles at 5:44 PM on May 2, 2008


so looking at the map, not knowing anything about london, it looks like only enfield & haringey (+4), brent & harrow (+3), greenwich & lewisham (+8), lambeth & southwark (+10), city & east (+25), and north east (+20) went for red ken; swinging the other way for boris (often by around ten or a lot more) in the other districts(?)

so, kinda wondering, is there anything about them, demographically, that explains the turnout?
posted by kliuless at 5:45 PM on May 2, 2008


He'll be fairly restrained I suspect; I'm sure Cameron only put him up as a last resort not particularly expecting him to win, and he'll be under instruction not to remind people the Tories are the nasty party in the run-up to a general election.
Also, lots of days off for RMT members in the ensuing industrial action.
posted by Abiezer at 5:50 PM on May 2, 2008


Which means lots of days working from home for me! Oh thank you, thank you, thank you Abiezer for providing me with a crumb of comfort from tonight's disaster.
posted by MrMustard at 5:53 PM on May 2, 2008


Also, it's a worse showing from the BNP both in London and nationally than they'd hoped or many expected. Not all doom and gloom, but work to be done. Shame about the IWCA in Oxford.
posted by Abiezer at 5:54 PM on May 2, 2008


It's an absolute fucking embarrassment. What's odd is that the only person I know who seems to be pleased with this result lives in Slough. All the Londoners I know are aghast.

"I can't believe Nixon won, I don't know anyone that voted for him." -Paulene Kael (I know that is out of context and that there is no record she even said it).

I am American but I did live in London about six years ago. From what I remember, the London mayor didn't have a lot of actual power besides transportation, although Red Ken made his opinion known on many issues. Is this true that the London mayor is pretty constrained? If so, it doesn;t seem that big of a deal on a practical level although it might be disturbing on a symbolic level.
posted by Falconetti at 5:56 PM on May 2, 2008


On the plus side, I expect the boost to the sales at Oddbins, Threshers and other off-licenses will do great things for the London economy in the short term.
posted by flashboy at 6:00 PM on May 2, 2008


The London Mayor has more executive power now than before. Ken Livingstone certainly has used his to push his agendas (such as more integrated public transport, the congestion charge, an emphasis on multiculturalism, and the odd bit of old left anti-Washington geopolitics, such as the bizarre fuel deal with Venezuela).

Having said that, for the most part, he has been good for London. The best we can hope for from Boris is that he'll turn the office of Mayor of London into Mascot of London and confine his duties to photo opportunities, without replacing the officials who actually run things with hard-right tory ideologues.
posted by acb at 6:01 PM on May 2, 2008


On the plus side after the next generalelection the Tories will most likely be in, and this sort of thing will be less fashionable.
posted by Artw at 6:11 PM on May 2, 2008


chuckdarwin writes 'One hopes that he is quiet and efficient for his time, and then goes away,'

I'm hoping the exact opposite: that he's a complete and utter fuck up, completely trashes the city, and so single-handedly scuppers the Tories at the General Election. Sorry Londoners, but I've got to cling to the idea that some good will come of this.

Also, can any London folk confirm my impression that it was the Evening Standard wot won it?
posted by jack_mo at 6:19 PM on May 2, 2008


From what I remember, the London mayor didn't have a lot of actual power besides transportation, although Red Ken made his opinion known on many issues.

He has almost dictatorial control over transport issues though, and it's an incredibly important issue for somewhere as dense as London.

But yeah, the mayor's powers are a bit vague, because most local services are provided and controlled by boroughs. Only London-wide issues are controlled by the mayor, which Wikipedia says amounts to oversight of the police, fire brigade and general planning policy.
posted by cillit bang at 6:28 PM on May 2, 2008


jack_mo - That's something quite a few people are clinging on to, to be honest. Unfortunately, Ken's done a decent job and all Boris needs to do is keep things ticking over making a few concessions to the traffic lobby and all will be seen as going well. I seriously doubt Boris can make enough of a hash of things to seriously threaten the Tories stroll into power at the next general election (yes, typing that makes me feel sick).

It's not just the Evening Standard. Boris has had all three free sheets (there is one free paper available at every tube station in the morning and two more in the evening) rooting for him and uncovering scandal after scandal about Ken. It's been a deliberate, concerted, vicious and, ultimately, successful hatchet job. I hope those involved are very proud of themselves.
posted by MrMustard at 6:33 PM on May 2, 2008


Gah. On the TV Boris looked like some tosser who did it for a jape and couldn't give a shit either way at this latest development in a gilded lifestyle, while Ken looked like a responsible politician defeated by a lololol legend funnee hair git would.

It was like the face of the capable sanitation commissioner when Homer got elected to his job. You know what this means, right? We're going to have move all of fucking London eight miles down the road after Boris sells the Tube for nuclear waste storage.
posted by bonaldi at 6:39 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I hope those involved are very proud of themselves.
Oh, they are.
posted by bonaldi at 6:40 PM on May 2, 2008


Yeah, well in an election of more consequence, Mugabe has lost to Tsvangirai, officially, though of course it means jack shit and supposedly a "runoff" will be held during which Mugabe will tighten the chain around the neck of Zim's people

Boris is an assclown
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:41 PM on May 2, 2008


Boris has had all three free sheets (there is one free paper available at every tube station in the morning and two more in the evening) rooting for him and uncovering scandal after scandal about Ken.

I don't think that's actually true - Metro's been pretty neutral (disclaimer: I work there, but I'd have few qualms about criticising them if they'd been biased) and thelononpaper has, if anything, skewed slightly pro-Ken (they need a niche, after all, and the Standard/London Lite have pretty much had the Ken-hating sewn up.)
posted by flashboy at 6:49 PM on May 2, 2008


Nevermind. You're all living in my nightmare, in which Berlusconi had won again in Italy* and conservatives are taking over europe. Someday I'll wake up and everything will revert to status quo, like in the best simpson episodes.

* don't forget rome: choosing francesco rutelli as the candidate was very stupid.
posted by darkripper at 6:53 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


noooooooooo. I can never move back home now.

I hope Andrew Gilligan's happy. Tosser.
posted by little apollo at 6:55 PM on May 2, 2008


Good point, fourcheesemac. Couldn't just have sat on the results, and then demanded a meeting with everybody to decide whether or not he was going to accept them?
posted by bonaldi at 6:58 PM on May 2, 2008


Couldn't Ken
posted by bonaldi at 6:59 PM on May 2, 2008


And meanwhile in the US, the Democrats look set to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Thank you very much, Hillary.

At least Australia (finally) voted for the progressives last year.
posted by acb at 6:59 PM on May 2, 2008


I wish tonight's election coverage had been as awesome as last night's.
posted by cillit bang at 7:01 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


On the plus side, I expect the boost to the sales at Oddbins, Threshers and other off-licenses will do great things for the London economy in the short term.
posted by flashboy at 9:00 PM on May 2 [+] [!]

Could someone please tell me what this means, uninformed American that I am?
And sorry to hear the news, Londoners. Ken seemed like a good fellow from here.
posted by etaoin at 7:09 PM on May 2, 2008


.

And the BNP? Seriously?
posted by awesomebrad at 7:13 PM on May 2, 2008


etaoin: Liquor stores. They're liquor stores.
posted by awesomebrad at 7:13 PM on May 2, 2008


Those are all places that sell booze. It means that we're going to take the same steadfast, noble approach that we Londoners have always taken in times of crisis. We're going to get utterly wazzocked.

/currently putting this plan into action
posted by flashboy at 7:15 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ha, thanks, Flashboy and others. You know, I went over to one the links above and scrolled down a bit to the point where the top portion of his head and hair was cut off. He looked just like Donald Trump.
posted by etaoin at 7:18 PM on May 2, 2008


Oddbins

When I lived in London I was 19 and it was the first time I could drink legally, besides going to Toronto for my 19th birthday. Oddbins basically introduced me to wine and London pubs introduced me to beer (I was a goody-two-shoes before moving to London). For that I will always be grateful to the British. And I lived on Edgware road near Marble Arch, so I will always be grateful to the Arabs for introducing me to shwarma and white sauce. College introduced me to socialism, so no need to thank Red Ken.
posted by Falconetti at 7:23 PM on May 2, 2008


I love Ken. I've loved Ken for many, many years. But I also love Boris. Do not despair. They are both better than many of the alternatives.
posted by unSane at 7:24 PM on May 2, 2008


How can 1,168,738 people be so stupid?
posted by Cyrano at 7:34 PM on May 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


It means that we're going to take the same steadfast, noble approach that we Londoners have always taken in times of crisis. We're going to get utterly wazzocked.

Here's to the hope that your 4 years of getting sand kicked in your face won't last as long as our 8. *raises glass*

Bush has been so very bad for my liver.
posted by treepour at 7:36 PM on May 2, 2008


If the election was for jester, town crier or Mascot of London, Boris would be the obvious candidate, unless someone persuaded someone more suitable to run. (Perhaps Ireland could lend us Dustin the Turkey?) However, as it was for someone wielding actual power over policy that affects the lives of 7+ million people, saying that Boris was better than some of the alternatives is not much consolation, given that he's (a) a member of the Lucky Sperm Club who, by virtue of birth, has never had to demonstrate his competence at anything, (b) lacking in any vision or ideas on how to run a city, other than bringing in magic Routemaster buses, and (c) lacking in empathy for most of the people his decisions will affect.
posted by acb at 7:41 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


On a tangent, a question to the Californians here: how's Schwarzenegger shaping up as Governor? Has he managed to not make a total hash of things? Is someone behind the scenes pulling the strings?
posted by acb at 7:43 PM on May 2, 2008


I can't understand why anyone is equating this election to Bush becoming USA president... twice.

Boris Johnson may or may not have been a good candidate, but he's been elected to be London's mayor that's all.
posted by selton at 7:46 PM on May 2, 2008


"If Boris Johnson gets elected it would be a case of the lunatic having no clue how to run the asylum. Good luck to Ken, good luck to all of us." --- Alan Rickman

I enjoy imagining Alan saying this in his Hans Gruber/Severus Snape voice.
posted by SPrintF at 7:47 PM on May 2, 2008 [2 favorites]




"If Boris Johnson gets elected it would be a case of the lunatic having no clue how to run the asylum. Good luck to Ken, good luck to all of us." --- Alan Rickman

I enjoy imagining Alan saying this in his Hans Gruber/Severus Snape voice.

ANOTHER reason to be totally in love with Rickman.
posted by etaoin at 7:49 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yesterday I was queuing at the shop to buy milk when the shopkeeper asked the white haired old buffer in front of me what he thought of the mayoral elections.

"I want Boris," he pronounced. "It's time for a change."

This pretty much ended the conversation.

I spent the walk home wondering if somehow this idea of an electorate deliberately voting the other party in every so often whether or not it actually made any sense to do so wasn't some kind of general revenge of the ruled-over on the ruling. You could argue that the revenge fails because it tends to entrench the existing ruling class at the expense of allcomers, and on another night I might.

But Boris has won now, and I have been drinking. Not in celebration either.
posted by motty at 8:03 PM on May 2, 2008


> this is awful, terrible news. It's such a retrograde step for London - Boris is the epitome of all
> that's wrong with the British right: disdainful of real people and ignorant of issues affecting
> the majority of Londoners. He's smug and power hungry and has won. Fuck. Sensible
> analysis can wait for the morning, but this is enough to get me looking for jobs abroad.
> posted by patricio at 7:42 PM on May 2 [+] [!]

That's the ticket, pat. You'll be much happier on the continent.
posted by jfuller at 8:11 PM on May 2, 2008


the only person I know who seems to be pleased with this result lives in Slough

“I like it here,” she said. “It’s got nice shops. You can buy baked potatoes on the high street!” And, she added, using the British term for an industrial park, “It has a big trading estate!”
posted by lukemeister at 8:17 PM on May 2, 2008


Isn't the mayor of London (a new political office created by Labour) nothing more than a glorified transit commissioner? I thought power resided in the boroughs (fiscal policy, governance, taxes, etc). So big deal. At least London got rid of an anti-Semite like Red Ken.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:28 PM on May 2, 2008


jfuller - I saw the pictures of Alemanno supporters giving the fascist salute and Bossi hinting that he has 300,000 thugs ready for a bit of street politics. I agree it puts Boris in perspective.
posted by Abiezer at 8:33 PM on May 2, 2008


Also, the BNP now have a seat on the London Assembly.

Really?? Didn't our granddads all fight a war against those fellows or something?
posted by Avenger at 8:38 PM on May 2, 2008


Anti-Semite? How so, KokuRyu?
posted by jtron at 8:50 PM on May 2, 2008


I'm just guessing here, but I suspect it's one of the funky new uses of the word and not the traditional one of "hates jewish people".
posted by Artw at 8:54 PM on May 2, 2008


Also, the BNP now have a seat on the London Assembly.
I think they were hoping/expecting two though, and I have every confidence in Barnbrook making an even further utter tit of himself and thus continuing their marginalised status as a party.
What I would like to see is someone emerging to address the concerns of those of their voters who aren't just racists - community-based politics looking at housing, anti-social crime and resource allocations that doesn't just blame it all on immigrants. Hence my liking for the IWCA in Oxford. I'll be interested to see their post-match analysis of why they lost two of their three seats.
posted by Abiezer at 8:56 PM on May 2, 2008


I'd just like to say that everything I know about British politics I learned from House of Cards. And yet I'm following all this pretty well.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:59 PM on May 2, 2008


Oh well, could be worse, could be Kilroy.
posted by Artw at 8:59 PM on May 2, 2008


Anti-Semite? How so, KokuRyu?

Ah right, well you might be Jewish, but actually you are just like a concentration camp guard, you are just doing it because you are paid to, aren't you?
posted by Krrrlson at 9:08 PM on May 2, 2008


Intemperate, perhaps, but I don't see the anti-Semitism there.
posted by jtron at 9:28 PM on May 2, 2008


I take it back, I suppose. Livingstone seems to be an equal-opportunity hater and a creep in general. It's folks like him that give the Left, in this new century, a bad name.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:32 PM on May 2, 2008


How can 1,168,738 people be so stupid?

Geez, where have you been the last ∞ years?
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:38 PM on May 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, what's the dirt on him, then, KokuRyu? I ask not to try to Gotcha! you, but because I'm genuinely curious, and because Ken's always the one who comes up closest to me in those political compass tests.
posted by jtron at 9:43 PM on May 2, 2008


I take it back, I suppose. Livingstone seems to be an equal-opportunity hater and a creep in general. It's folks like him that give the Left, in this new century, a bad name.

You realise you are saying thsi ina thread about Boris Johnson, right?
posted by Artw at 10:06 PM on May 2, 2008


Intemperate, perhaps, but I don't see the anti-Semitism there.

It's a wild stretch, but enough to allow the paper to put it down "on record." Idiots can level accusations of anti-Semitism against anybody if they want to, if they work for tabloids that and have good lawyers, or claim that their Jewish heritage absolves them of any responsibility for their own behavior.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:17 PM on May 2, 2008


The next fucking whine I hear out of another British subject about Bush on Metafilter, I will yell "BORIS" right before smacking them in the head with a pair of Doc Martins.

There's an upside to this, though. It's proof that the British no longer give a flying fuck about who their politicians happen to be fucking. Being a serial adulterer is no bar to winning a majority at elections provided the candidate is amusing enough. Boris has finally achieved the breakthrough that 'Shagger' Norris could only dream of and future Conservative sex scandals will no longer be a cause for resignation.

Following this revelation, I hear that the queue of Tory politicians cruising Horse Guards Barracks in the hope of being spit-roasted by a fine pair of strapping Guardsmen is growing exponentially by the hour -- and every single one of them is wearing a Chelsea strip underneath their lounge suit, all the better to do that lap of honour after they finally score.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:02 PM on May 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Lord, what fools these mortals be! (both stateside and in yr green and pleasant land.)
posted by exlotuseater at 11:04 PM on May 2, 2008


No ones really doing any back-tobasics moral flappery these days are they? It makes sex scandals much less fun when theres no massive public hypocracy involved.
posted by Artw at 11:10 PM on May 2, 2008


The Card Cheat
::whoosh::
posted by Sangermaine at 12:05 AM on May 3, 2008


And the BNP?

Somebody managed to get the taxi driver vote out, obviously.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:58 AM on May 3, 2008


Man, I had the weirdest dream last night... what? Wait a minute...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:21 AM on May 3, 2008


It doesn't surprise me. All the folks at work just HATE Red Ken. "He's too greedy, my car is too expensive, and riding the tube to work this morning I had to sniff the armpit of some filthy banker who earns 10 times what I do. Ergo, Ken must go!"
posted by Sparx at 1:48 AM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Last July, when it was announced that Boris would be standing for Mayor, I confidently predicted that he'd be totally unelectable. So much for my political judgement.

I still think it's an extraordinary result. Whatever you think (thought) of Ken, there's no denying he is (was) a tremendously skilful politician, with an instinctive understanding of political power and how to use it, and a very clear strategic grasp of the Mayor's office. Boris, on the other hand, is an able journalist with a quick mind and a short attention-span. His right-wing politics don't worry me -- I'm old enough to remember the days of Sir Horace Cutler, who was far to the right of Boris -- but the short attention-span does. I think we may see the Mayor becoming more of a ceremonial figurehead, with Boris as an amiable frontman while most of the real work is done behind the scenes by a team of advisers.

Well, well, we shall see.
posted by verstegan at 2:32 AM on May 3, 2008


I don't fully understand the British electoral system. This round of elections was for local elective offices, right? It wasn't a Parliamentary election. Reports are that the Tories picked up a huge number of council positions, and now hold a strong plurality, though not an outright majority. And Labor is now in third place, slightly behind the Lib Dems.

The vote was for about 1/3 of local councils across the country. Councils are local government; collecting regional council tax, running schools, funding hospitals (sort of), roadworks, refuse collection, public transport, that sort of thing, and are generally split into county councils at the county level, with parish, borough or city councils for individual towns or areas within a county. It's a complex system thats not uniform across the country, as organisations have grown up organically over hundreds of years as population densities changed.

So what I want to know is, will this force Gordon Brown to schedule Parliamentary elections? Will the Tories and Lib Dems combine on a vote of no-confidence? Or will Brown try to sail through?

The number of MPs in the house of commons for each party hasn't changed. Currently, labour have enough of a majority in the commons (66) to see off a vote of no confidence, unless a significant number of labour MPs also vote to topple their own leader - they'd be more like to pull some sort of back room coup, instead. Given Gordon Brown was elected only last year unopposed by the labour party, and there's no clear alternative for them, this seems unlikely at this point. If the tories were to repeat the percentage of the vote at a national general election for MPs, they'd win a clear majority - some 130 odd - and would then form the next government, with a similar mandate to Tony Blair when he first came to power.

IIRC there have to be Parliamentary elections at least once every five years? How long since the last one?

Labour have a maximum of two more years before they have to hold a general election, thoough they can hold one early. Brown secretly floated the idea of an early general election last autumn when he first took over from Tony Blair, saw that the numbers were iffy, and decided against it, thus earning him a reputation as a ditherer. Given the amount of bad news he's had since, including the credit crunch, I bet he wished he'd taken the gamble back then. He's got no chance of winning the next election as things stand at the moment.

Hell, London just elected BORIS. I mean, Ken was an asshole who made going into london a misery, but people must be really pissed at Labour to vote for Boris.
posted by ArkhanJG at 2:39 AM on May 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I voted for Ken. But as I said last time, Boris isn't as stupid as the act he's put on. So, I don't think it's going to be a disaster. Boris' biggest problems:

1. Administrative inexperience: he's never run anything significant.

2. Local politics inexperience. I think Ken was a very shrewd political operator who managed to get more real power than the post suggested by manipulating the assembly, because of his influence over the Labour grassroots, and by out-maneuvering the national party. In real terms I think Boris will have less power than Ken did.

3. The bizarre plan for a "new routemaster". Engineers tend to be better at vehicle design than politicians.

This was a relatively narrow victory, and I think it's due to a number of factors. Partly it's because local politicians have generally had little power in the UK, and local elections tend to become referenda on the Prime Minister. Ken is being punished for Gordon.

But there is a real degree of suburban rage at an integrated transport plan explicitly designed to favour public transport over carts. I know quite a few people (mostly through work) who really hate Ken for charging their cars and shoving all those damn buses full of plebs in their way.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:42 AM on May 3, 2008


Aaargh, cars not carts.

One silver lining: I think it shows that at least we're not heading for a political culture where media-hyped "gaffes" are critical electoral issues.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:45 AM on May 3, 2008


A victory for the fourth estate.

All I can hope for is that this was not a vote for the Conservatives, but a vote against Labour. If it was then there's still a chance Gordon Brown can resurrect Labour's chances.

Preferably by dropping plans to increase pre-trial detention limits from 28 days; dropping plans for the National Identity Register and its ID cards; and learning not to screw up the implementation of a tax change and giving the Tories an easy ride.
posted by knapah at 3:08 AM on May 3, 2008


Hell, London just elected BORIS. I mean, Ken was an asshole who made going into london a misery, but people must be really pissed at Labour to vote for Boris.

For drivers. Those of us who aren't arrogant enough to demand our own four wheels in a city of millions when there's a pretty good and improving public transport system are quite happy going into London.

Boris isn't as stupid as the act he's put on.

That's a worry, not a comfort. Someone being an idiot and saying/thinking stupid things is forgivable. Here we have a man who obviously isn't the buffoon he portrays himself as, yet he, for example, was against gay marriage and the repeal of Section 28. Some twat in the pub who gives something 10 seconds of thought and gives you an idiotic and bigoted opinion is to be expected. An educated man who does that is either being cynical or just plain nasty.
posted by liquidindian at 3:10 AM on May 3, 2008


Actually, liquidindian, I was referring to the public transport. Public transport was dirty, delayed, crowded and expensive when I lived in london, and it's no better now, having just been back a few times by train and tube. I've never driven into the congestion zone, and wouldn't start now - people only drove into the centre of town because they had to, not because they wanted to. Just like higher fuel taxes, they just penalise people that have very little choice.

The congestion charge has barely touched actual congestion, while massively reducing the privacy of everyone involved. The police have just gained live unlimited access to the cameras last I heard. Great if you want an ever growing surveillance society, not so great otherwise.

I left London because of the insane price of property and the awful transport system. Nothing I've experienced personally or via friends still in town have lead me to believe he's actually improved either significantly, and anyone slagging (fairly) Boris for odious personal opinions has a chunk of wood in their eye if they don't also admit Ken had some pretty nasty skeletons of his own.
posted by ArkhanJG at 3:31 AM on May 3, 2008


On the basis that amusing performances on Have I Got News For You are the starting point for mayoral election, I propose we start a campaign to get Brian Blessed into the job. He would seem equally qualified and sane enough for the idiots who voted Johnson in.
posted by TheDonF at 3:38 AM on May 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Actually, liquidindian, I was referring to the public transport.

Really? Public transport in London is certainly better than Glasgow and Edinburgh, despite being a much bigger city. According to my girlfriend, it's better than Manchester. It doesn't beat Tokyo, but that's, you know, Tokyo.
posted by liquidindian at 4:06 AM on May 3, 2008


Brian Blessed seems to lack crucial Have I Got News For You experience. According to this he only appeared once. Ken Livingstone is ahead with 8 appearances (series 1,2,3,4,10,12,14,23) against Boris' 7 (series 15,18,22,24,26,30,32).

Perhaps Angus Deayton has time on his hands now. He seems to have the obligatory interesting private life...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 4:52 AM on May 3, 2008


Fucking hell. Everytime I think that the human race can't get any more stupid, something like this happens.
posted by ninthart at 4:52 AM on May 3, 2008


: I think it shows that at least we're not heading for a political culture where media-hyped "gaffes" are critical electoral issues.

TheophileEscargot

I wish your "at least" was true - assuming you're talking in part about the Boris bonking thing - as well as his various silver-tongued pratfalls?

But I'm not sure. I kept getting the creepy feeling it was Johnson's great charm, his social class and his bred-to-the-bone witty confidence that was giving him the magic margin on that score.

That is, it's the specific Boris personality that's made him proof against media-hyped immolations for personal blunders, not a newly sophisticated electorate?

It's been all very rum watching from here (Londoner long in Long Island) but I wasn't entirely astonished by the result. Ken was able, certainly, but he had his despotic tendencies!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 5:05 AM on May 3, 2008


Well, I was thinking more of the "piccaninnies" thing, where Boris was clearly using the word to ironically indicate that it was Blair who had a patronizing neo-Colonial attitude.

Mind you I was reading something a while back that claimed that one reason for Bush's success was that his constant misspeaking made him gaffe-proof. Any mistakes he made were attributed to his verbal fumbling, whereas any mistake by his opponents was seized on.

Maybe the best defence against media-led "gaffes" isn't to tiptoe delicately along the lines like Clinton and Obama, but just make so many that they fade into the background...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 5:17 AM on May 3, 2008


TheophileEscargot writes 'Boris" biggest problems:'

4. He's a racist, a homophobe, and not terribly keen on anyone from the lower orders.
posted by jack_mo at 5:31 AM on May 3, 2008


Brian Blessed was on HIGNFY last night, charing it. It's well worth catching the repeat if you can, it was one of the funniest episodes in a long time.
posted by TheDonF at 5:39 AM on May 3, 2008


I'm very pleased that Boris won, and to have Oxford reclaimed at last from the socialists makes it even sweeter.
posted by Spacelegoman at 6:27 AM on May 3, 2008


I'm very pleased that Boris won

That MeFi/Youtube divide isn't always clear-cut.
posted by liquidindian at 7:04 AM on May 3, 2008


and to have Oxford reclaimed at last from the socialists makes it even sweeter.
This seems to suggest you're engaging in a bit of pointless trolling, as the Labour Party enhanced its existing majority in Oxford. I'm guessing you were responding to my lamenting the fate of the IWCA (seats lost both went to Labour) rather than agreeing with me that the Labour Party isn't very socialist. Sad sod ye.
posted by Abiezer at 7:26 AM on May 3, 2008


Oops,my bad; it was No Overall Control and remains so, but with an increased Labour group leading Liberals by 23 to 16 seats, Greens 7 and both Tories losing their seats too, IWCA retaining one. The rest of the point stands though; your comment makes no sense.
posted by Abiezer at 7:32 AM on May 3, 2008


Trade you Dick Cheney for Boris in a New York minute.

Thought so.
posted by Dizzy at 7:34 AM on May 3, 2008


London appears to want maverick mayors. When Ken was first elected he was the anti-establishment candidate. Despite the weight of both major political machines against him, he won a convincing victory. Demonstrating competence in the job was enough to get him reelected, and readmitted to the establishment. The 10p tax-rate fiasco, Gordon's dithering and lack of charisma, Iraq, and plenty more besides have the country more than happy to tell Labour where to go. In London the target was Ken and the outcome shouldn't be a huge surprise. It was Labour, especially Gordon Brown, not Ken, that lost it.

On the surface he may be a bumbling, gaffe-prone clown, more than enough to establish his maverick credentials, but I suspect Boris isn't the complete idiot some suggest. His tenure as mayor may be decided by those he chooses to advise him, which is a scarier thought. Ken's advantage in the beginning was that he'd already run the Greater London Council (as was). Boris? A low-circulation magazine for snobs. He's now in the most powerful position of any elected Tory. Hopefully he'll make a total hash of it before the next general election.

Meanwhile, despite their enthusiasm for it, proportional representation doesn't seem to have done much good for Brian Paddick. Shame, he's one of the good guys. Would definitely been my second preference...
posted by normy at 7:49 AM on May 3, 2008


"Hopefully he'll make a total hash of it before the next general election."

If I lived in London I sure as hell would hope the mayor wouldn't make a total hash of it.
posted by aerotive at 7:57 AM on May 3, 2008


If I lived in London I sure as hell would hope the mayor wouldn't make a total hash of it.

Sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the greater good.
posted by normy at 8:02 AM on May 3, 2008


"Hopefully he'll make a total hash of it before the next general election."

If I lived in London I sure as hell would hope the mayor wouldn't make a total hash of it.


It's not an entirely stupid thing to say of a politician though, is it?

I certainly heard enough Americans say it defensively about Bush during his first term - without meaning they hoped the whole country would be ruined!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:14 AM on May 3, 2008


Liquidindian: oh fuck off, your implication that all "true Mefites" are left-leaning is bullshit and you know it.

Abiezer: I didn't follow the Oxford results so I said that in response to your earlier post.
posted by Spacelegoman at 8:23 AM on May 3, 2008


So you were celebrating a New Labour win there then, Spacelegoman? Well, I can agree that wouldn't make you of the left.
posted by Abiezer at 8:29 AM on May 3, 2008


I don't really see the George W. Bush comparison.

As I recall it, at the equivalent stage, before he actually took office, Bush didn't seem too terrible a choice. He'd had some experience running businesses and a state without anything too disastrous happening to them. The received wisdom at the time seemed to be that there wasn't really much to choose between Al Gore and George W. Bush.

I don't see why Boris Johnson is necessarily going to be a disaster. His powers are going to be pretty limited, especially for the first two years, with a hostile party in government and no power base in the assembly.

And predicting a disaster could be a poor strategy if no disaster actually happens.

I think the biggest danger is a series of transport strikes if he's serious about taking on the RMT, with Gordon Brown laughing up his sleeve and refusing any help. But even that won't necessarily trouble Boris's suburban power base too much: they'll just drive off to their business parks as normal.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:43 AM on May 3, 2008


The next fucking whine I hear out of another British subject about Bush on Metafilter, I will yell "BORIS" right before smacking them in the head with a pair of Doc Martins.

And if you did that to me, I'd take a big fucking map of the United Kingdom and hit you until you bled from your ears. London does not encompass the entire country you idiot. It's like me blaming New Yorkers for Arnie becoming elected in California.

This Boris Johnson crap is pretty awful, but the BNP gains are far far worse for this country as a whole. We all need to talk about them more than we are, increasing numbers of people are voting for them because they get all their information from the tabloids, are frustrated and basically don't know any better.
posted by saturnine at 8:50 AM on May 3, 2008


oh fuck off, your implication that all "true Mefites" are left-leaning is bullshit and you know it.

Not what I was implying. But able to spot someone who is either a genuine idiot, or hamming it up to cynically grab votes, I reckon most would. And I reckon most here would prefer elections to be decided on policies rather than funny hair.
posted by liquidindian at 9:14 AM on May 3, 2008


I see Boris started as he means to go on by nearly falling over, tripping on the scenery, as he started his first press conference.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:20 AM on May 3, 2008


I spend a month or so in London each year, and travel to many other cities in both the new and old world...

I hate to tell you this, Londoners, but your transit system is one of the best in the world. Tokyo's is the only one I can think of that beats it categorically.

You have no idea how bad some of the other ones are.
posted by rokusan at 9:53 AM on May 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Considering how much it costs to travel on the tube, it damn well ought to be one of the best in the world. I lived in London until recently, and in my 4 years there the prices increased significantly, especially if you didn't posses an Oyster tracking travel card.
posted by iso_bars at 10:16 AM on May 3, 2008


Have liberals or progressives won anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere lately?

I hate to say this, but I'm just not sure parties which focus on some form of the common good can prevail in countries with significant or emerging racial and ethnic divisions.
posted by jamjam at 10:41 AM on May 3, 2008


The road to hell is paved with amiable buffoons. [/doom]

And the BNP has a seat in the London assembly. WTF homecountry?
posted by eponymouse at 11:12 AM on May 3, 2008


Considering how much it costs to travel on the tube

96.8% of people using the tube aren't paying the £4 fare (by using Oyster PAYG or travelcards), so citing it as the cost of a journey like the Guardian does is ridiculous. On the buses it's 98.1%.
posted by cillit bang at 11:18 AM on May 3, 2008


At least London got rid of an anti-Semite like Red Ken.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:28 PM on May 2 [+] [!]


That's bullshit. I know people have been trying to slander Livingstone as an anti-Semite, and it's disgusting. The man likened someone else to a Nazi, as an insult. He's anti-Nazi - are you pro-Nazi? Well, neither is Livingstone. The person so called happened to be Jewish; he also happened to be more authoritarian than Livingstone. (It's been a while, but I don't remember whether Livingstone even knew he was Jewish - funny enough, gentiles who aren't anti-Semetic tend not to pay attention to whether someone is Jewish or not, unless they are coming for dinner and they plan to serve pork.)

Or are you saying that Jewish reporters deserve extra special treatment because of their religion/ethnicity? Wouldn't that be kind of racist?
posted by jb at 11:58 AM on May 3, 2008


(after seeing link farther down thread) - apparently Livingstone did not know the reporter was Jewish, and had to be told. I do feel like a lot of context is missing from those quotes. I thought he had a previous relationship with the reporter; I was wrong, he just hated the reporter's paper (and considered them to be homophobic).
posted by jb at 12:03 PM on May 3, 2008


Frankly, the election of a self-proclaimed Fascist in Rome should be freaking the hell out of people.
posted by jb at 12:04 PM on May 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


And the election of the BNP anywhere. That is just chilling.
posted by jb at 12:09 PM on May 3, 2008


Judging by this footage of his acceptance speech, the BNP guy is not much cop; he's basically the usual foaming-at-the-mouth petty fascist thug, with his sole concession to trying to be more appealing being some incongruous, insincere-sounding references to "governing for all Londoners regardless of race or creed" or what have you. Chances are he'll have a hard time working with the other councillors and basically end up taking up space.
posted by acb at 4:56 PM on May 3, 2008


oh fuck off, your implication that all "true Mefites" are left-leaning is bullshit and you know it.

Konolia,
Dios,
ParisParamus,
Capt. America Steve Elvis The Great Satan,
StevenLostHisVest...

Me: Adds SpacedoutLegoBoy to the list.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:40 PM on May 3, 2008


I enjoy imagining Alan saying this in his Hans Gruber/Severus Snape voice.

I enjoy imagining him saying a LOT of things in that voice. Most of them involve me being pantsless.

As I recall it, at the equivalent stage, before he actually took office, Bush didn't seem too terrible a choice. He'd had some experience running businesses and a state without anything too disastrous happening to them. The received wisdom at the time seemed to be that there wasn't really much to choose between Al Gore and George W. Bush

Hmmm. No. If you had read just about any Molly Ivins column in the preceding years (and in particular, the book-length summation of many such columns and articles, Shrub), you would've known Bush was a fucking moron who could run a 1-car funeral into the ground and then expect his daddy's friends to bail him out. I guess you could say nothing "too disastrous" happened to those businesses if you're looking at it from his golden parachute perspective and not the perspective of the people who lost a lot of money on those deals to improve their relationship with the Bush clan.

Contrasted with the talented and progressive leadership Gore'd exhibited in the vice presidency (which, unless you're Darth Cheney, is almost never a leadership role -- compare the Reinventing Government Initiative to Cheney shooting people in the face and whatever the hell else he does when he's not busy being full-time evil, for example), the Bush OOOH LET'S DRINK A BEER WITH HIM candidacy was even more annoying to anyone who was paying attention in 1999-2000.

I mean, if you really want to push the Bush/Boris comparison, it's not terribly difficult. Texas has a weak-governor system, and the mayoral position in London is also designed to not wield huge amounts of power, yes?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:35 PM on May 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I live in Toronto, and as far as embarrassing mayors go, I think our furniture huckster compares well with London's louche ex-journo.

From the Globe and Mail (and reminiscent of a character in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency):

"At a recent debate, Mr. Livingstone hammered home his central argument, that Mr. Johnson's only management role has been running the Spectator magazine, 'although he often made difficult decisions about where to go for lunch.' "

My condolences to Londoners.
posted by sixswitch at 8:17 PM on May 3, 2008


>> If I lived in London I sure as hell would hope the mayor wouldn't make a total hash of it.
>
> Sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the greater good.

That's right. Sometimes we just have to destroy the odd village in order to save it.
posted by jfuller at 8:20 PM on May 3, 2008


I am a little surprised reading the MeFi response to the results. Labour has been on the decline for a while since the ouster of Blair. The provides more evidence that the political pendulum in the UK is swinging back from left to right. It swung the other way when Blair's Labour defeated the Tories in a landslide in 1997. But all that political capital was lost with the way the Iraq fiasco turned out (not that the Tories would have faired any better).
posted by appleyar at 1:39 AM on May 4, 2008


I lived in London full-time between 2000 and 2002, then for regular 3-6 month stints between then and now. The only public transport improvement has been MORE BUSES. Cycling to work still means taking your life in your hands, taking a bus is still only marginally faster than walking inside zone 1 (and if you need to change buses, forget it), and the tube is still an unreliable overcrowded nightmare at the times when most of us have to use it.

What should be a 25 minute journey to work has taken over two hours twice in the last twelve working days. One instance involved chucking 3 packed trains full of people out at Edgeware Road and telling them to get a bus.

As far as the congestion charge goes, only an idiot (or a professional driver) would choose to drive in central London anyway - so all he's done there is impoverish those who have to do it and empty the streets a bit for the richest idiots. Not so Red after all!

I don't see how Boris could be much worse, to be honest. I didn't vote in the mayoral election but if he makes proper cycle lanes he'll be a success in my book.
posted by dickasso at 2:43 AM on May 4, 2008


The improvement that having more buses has brought really shouldn't be underestimated - a few years back, you simply couldn't rely on buses to get you anywhere in a reasonable time. Now you can - plenty of my colleagues take the bus to work now, which would have been unthinkable even five years ago.

As far as the Tube goes, the trouble is that improvements take longer to implement, and it requires a loss of service while those improvements are made. So currently, what improvements have been made are canceled out by the delays and closures that engineering works cause. In addition to this, Ken's been hampered by the ludicrous Public-Private Partnership deal forced on the Tube by the government, which he opposed, and which has been a disaster. But regardless, while I have some issues with the ways in which some of the engineering work has been implemented, it's something that has to be done and it will leads to real improvements in the service.

And that's my worry about Boris (in addition to his apparent desire to get into a fight with the unions). He's already made it clear with his Magic Routemaster plan that he favours back-of-the-napkin populism when it comes to transport policy, and I can easily see him giving in to short-term pandering and scrapping a lot of Tube improvement schemes - which, yeah, will improve the service a little in the very short term, but will utterly fuck us in the not-very-long term.
posted by flashboy at 6:02 AM on May 4, 2008


I haven't lived in London for a few years, but it's still my city. Boris is going to be a fucking disaster. I really can't believe that one of the greatest cities in the world is going to be run by a fucking clown and a bigoted one at that.
posted by ob at 7:30 AM on May 4, 2008


abour has been on the decline for a while since the ouster of Blair.

More like since Tony Blair decided that George W. Bush was his new best friend and dragged Britain into the Iraq War on false pretenses. Though the seeds of decline were sown with (New) Labour's strategic decision to outflank the Tories on the right, thus alienating a lot of their left-wing base (who were some of the most committed True Believers, even if they were on the fringes of actual decision-making).

I imagine an analogue would be the US Republican Party deciding that it is a firmly secularist institution and freezing out the religious wing.
posted by acb at 10:22 AM on May 4, 2008


All the seething and bitching here is an excellent indicator that Londoners made the right choice.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:33 PM on May 4, 2008


London Underground chief operating officer Mike Brown is the first one to jump ship.
posted by grouse at 6:41 AM on May 13, 2008


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