Saturday, May 17, 2008

Master Weasel

Author's Note: The author of this post is not The Devil's Kitchen

A timely reminder that a politician with blonde floppy hair and a semblance of a sense of humour is still a politician.

Boris Johnson's supporters justified the piece of illiberal fuckwittery that is the banning of the drinking of alcohol on public transport, saying "he is carrying out a key manifesto commitment".

Remind me. What was the key-est of all of Boris' manifesto commitments? The flagship policy, if you like? Was it perhaps:
  • The bendy bus is unsuitable for London's streets, they are twice as dangerous as non-articulated buses and have almost three times the rate of fare evasion. I will phase out bendy buses and run a new competition to find a 21st century Routemaster that has full disabled access, runs on clean fuel and has conductors.

Are, we, after less than two weeks, starting to see the Boris Team weaselling out of this particular manifesto commitment? Er...

The Mayor's plans for a new generation Routemaster may not happen, his new transport boss admitted today.

Kulveer Ranger, Boris Johnson's director of transport policy, said that a design competition would be launched - but if no bid was good enough they would look again at the pledge. He added that although Mr Johnson is very keen to bring in a new-style bus in place of bendy buses, they would not press ahead with the idea for the sake of it.


But in a departure from Mr Johnson's policies, Mr Ranger said the new design would not necessarily be "hopon, hop-off" with a conductor, as on the old Routemasters.

He said: "Whether or not we have a conductor depends on the design of the bus. We want people to be creative...If we find there are initially no suitable bids we will review [the policy]."

So, to translate: There's a good chance there will be no new bus and, even if there is, it is very unlikely that it will be one that could reasonably be described as a 'Routemaster'.

It's the oldest trick in the book of representative democracy. Wait until you're elected, then tell the people who elected you that your policy is unworkable, despite the fact that you've been aware of this all along. Not a whole lot the voters can do about it now, is there?

Boris Johnson: Disingenuous cunt.

More: Boris Watch


Anonymous said...

Stupid Bendy-Bus!
What is a Routemaster?
What is a Routemaster not?
A Routemaster
Is the shadow of a dream.
But when there comes to buses
A gleam of divine brilliance,
Then rests on them a light of glory
And blessed are their tyres.

Anonymous said...


It was EU regulations wot done it for the much loved routemasters. There was some elf and saferty bollocks about the rear open section and of course they are not able to used by the disabled in wheelchairs - another key requirement of the EU's public transport diktats.

So, Boris can come up with as many fab new designs for the bus as he likes, but the fact remains the London bus, just like the London population, is run by the EU.


"Manifesto pledges are not subject to legitimate expectations"herein lies the clause for all future deceptions of the voter!

Anonymous said...

Talk about policy changes. Check out his views on man-made climate change before he entered the race and then look at how he wants to save the planet now. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Anonymous said...

It's all very well showing your balance by kicking Boris, 10 days after getting elected.

I do feel that your outrage is somewhat, how shall I put it. Shrill, overdone, a little contrived?

FFS, Look at what Labour have done over the last ten years, be outraged at that but give Boris a fucking chance and if you've got some complaints, make tham and see what kind of response he gives.

As for drinking on public transport, I couldn't give a fuck, nowhere else in the 'civilised' world can you either smoke, drink or eat on public transport, in fact whenever I have to suffer the indignity of public transport I would be all for banning my fellow travellers from fucking breathing let alone drinking.

Sweary enough for you?

Roger Thornhill said...

"If we find there are initially no suitable bids we will review [the policy]."

Well then, I'd better enter my idea to it then, so there will be no getting away from it.

Anonymous said...

The simple answer is to run shorter buses, more frequently.

Or to convert the old Routemasters to LPG and fit the back end with a fold-out disabled ramp and/or that lowering suspension many buses have now.

As for the open back end being dangerous, isn't that what conductors are for? Part of their job was to not let us stand there.

These hand-wringing, bubble-wrapped, scared-of-shadows health and safety people are terrified of the slightest risk. They are the reason you don't see schoolkids with scuffed knees and bruises any more. Oh, they look very nice, clones all in a row, but they aren't having a childhood. They are not learning to cope with real life, which does damage people somtimes.

But that's a different rant.

There needs to be a provision in 'trades description' that politicians must make all reasonable efforts to fulfil their promises. Okay, they might find they can't do everything they said they would, but this attitude of 'I'm elected, stuff the voters' has to go.

I hope Boris comes good on his bus promise. Since he's a politician I won't hold my breath.

Anonymous said...

I think it was The Disability Discrimination Act backed up by Yuman Rights, rather than Elf 'n' Safety which did for the Routemaster. I've no doubt that all this lot comes from the EU in some form.

If Boris wanted nothing more in the world than to bring back the Routemaster, it could be a big deal.

Check out the Wiki page on the Routemaster.

Who said, "Only a de-humanised moron would get rid of the Routemaster"?

No marks will be awarded to candidates who appear to be making wild guesses.

Anonymous said...


Who said, "Only a de-humanised moron would get rid of the Routemaster"?

It was Ken, the Living Stone of Redness.

He was right, as it turned out.

Anonymous said...

Do you really think people vote on the content of a manifesto?

In this of all elections votes were cast (the legitimate ones) based purely on personalities and/or to give Brown a shoeing.

And why not? As good a reason as any.

John Trenchard said...

christs sake - we now have a CONSERVATIVE in charge of london.

are you seriously saying that Boris is no different to a full-on Red Marxist-Leninist, which was Red Ken?

come on guys. ease off a bit.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

A commentator was right. We are run by Brussels. Wake up, smell the coffee.

Mark Wadsworth said...

What Number 6 and Leg-Iron say. It's as simple as that, this has been common knowledge for years.

Anonymous said...

This is what the Tories are up to in the Crewe by-election when they mention Post Office closures without saying how they will stop them.

Anonymous said...

In the interests of balance. Yes, banning alcohol on public transport is a bit of shameless showboating. Doesn't affect me cos I don't do it myself, although I am a committed drinker. But that's not the point, so naughty Boris. One shouldn't expect to agree with a party or a person's WHOLE manifesto. I support a 3rd runway at Heathrow, BJ doesn't. And his freshly adopted green tinge makes me uncomfortable. But his promised attack on badly scheduled and overrunning digging up of roads particularly appeals and I shall be keeping a sharp eye on progress on that one. Improving traffic light phasing is a fave of mine, not sure that was in his manifesto though. It's an easy one.

QT said...

For all of you (e.g. @number 6) pointing out that the EU is behind the demise of the Routemaster.

Well, OK, I don't doubt that there's some truth in that (IIRC, the disabled access is EU, but the health & safety thing is more to do with insurance).

But it's missing the point of the post, which is that Boris Johnson promised something that he couldn't deliver - and made a big song and dance about that promise to boot.

@john trenchard: If a blue-rosetted politician acts like a disingenuous cunt as in the above example he'll be called on it in just the same way as if red-rosetted ones (or any other colour for that matter) do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Ian, the primary motivation behind the ending of the Routemaster has its roots in the EU public transport diktats.

The EU commands, Westminster rubber stamps the decision and then gold plates it to keep legions of fucking government jobsworths squeezing their pencils until it is time to pick up their nice public sector pension. More often than note, in the case of the politican, to look forward to a nice sinecure within the bastard EU.

The only way we will regain our independence is to leave. I say it again, the only party that gets my vote is the party that advocates leaving the EU as the central plank of their manifesto.

Final thought, the Labour party might be wiped out in the next election, but as long as we are in the EU, socialism (as the EU is socialist, bordering on communist construct) will still rule the country, with Dave 'Boy Green' as it blue sock puppet.

Old BE said...

If the Routemaster is illegal, how come there are still some in operation?

Anonymous said...

Blue Eyes said..."If the Routemaster is illegal, how come there are still some in operation?"

Because new ones cannot be used, but there are still a few oldies left.

From Christopher Booker "Yet, as [Boris Johnson] coyly admits in The Daily Telegraph, "alas, I don't think that current legislation would permit me to reintroduce the Routemasters as they were".

What he [BJ] is too lily-livered to explain is that the law that would make it illegal to bring back the much-loved, user-friendly Routemaster is the EU's Bus and Coach Directive, 2001/85." (Telegraph 10-09-2007)

Anonymous said...

Why don't you just wait and see what happens, before letting your Tourette's do the talking?

Boris always said that he would have a design competition. It's therefore pretty obvious that, if no design comes forward at a reasonable cost, he needs to think again.

If anyone thought that the new "Routemaster" would just be an LPG version of the old one (designed in the late 1950s) then they are a bit thick.

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