Confessions of a Political Animal

November 6, 2008

A good day to bury bad news?

tramAs the country’s attention is focussed across the Atlantic (hopefully a post on that will emerge before long), the Mayor has chosen  today to quietly announce – without mentioning it at yesterday’s public TfL board meeting – that he is, as predicted, dropping the continued development of at least three major transport schemes:

  • the Cross-River Tram (as discussed here)
  • the Docklands Light Railway extension via Barking Reach to Dagenham Dock (as discussed here)
  • the East London River Crossing

Yesterday was all about transport related bluster from Boris in his ludicrous Way to Go! document, admirably dissected by Diamond Geezer here. As far as I can see, the document was drafted by TfL officers before being sent up to the eighth floor of City Hall for various Boris-isms to be added, with the odd bit of Latin and phrases such as ‘traffic-throttling excrescences’ – I think that’s traffic-calming to you and me. Given this is a public-facing consultation document, I’d love to see the Plain English Campaign get its teeth into it. (more…)

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October 31, 2008

Short hiatus and some updates

I am away this weekend (the picture should be a clue as to where) and today looks busy, so probably no posting this side of Monday. Don’t cry too much, please.

However, I thought it might be worth providing some updates on a few of my earlier posts, just so they don’t feel forgotten (and so in some cases the Animal can say “told you so”).

October 28th Is the Game Afoot? The Animal speculated that a prolonged period of single figure Conservative poll leads over the next couple of months would suggest that the narrative about the next election would change, with a hung parliament maybe becoming a stronger possibility than a stonking Tory majority. We’re a long way off a prolonged period yet, and the latest Yougov poll does show Labour moving out a smidgin, but the Tory lead remains (just) within the psychologically important single figure zone. 

October 27th European Left Watch: Out of Office in Lithuania The Animal reported on the defeat for the parties that formed the Social Democrat-led government in Lithuania by a mixture of (more…)

October 9, 2008

Slash and burn: Part 2 of a continuing series…

I posted here last month about Boris Johnson’s fast disappearing support for the Cross-River Tram project. Since then, there has been nothing to suggest that he is in anyway minded to reconsider this position. Indeed, the news on transport has got yet worse, with ‘modally agnostic’ (a Labour self-description, but if the cap fits…) Transport supremo Kulveer Ranger threatening to withhold funding from the scheme to make the disastrous Elephant & Castle roundabout a bit more pedestrian and cyclist friendly because it might slow down someone’s car journey.

Now, news is emerging (courtesy of Labour Matters) that the plug has been officially all but pulled on another transport scheme: the extension of the Docklands Light Railway to Dagenham Dock. This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky scheme, but has already gone through several phases of consultation and was due to go to public inquiry next month – officially, TfL have only asked for a delay to the public inquiry (which the DfT has granted), but with funding apparently missing from the TfL business plan (more…)

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