Confessions of a Political Animal

November 10, 2008

The Silvertown Link: the answer to no-one’s problems

Thames Gateway Bridge

Scrapped: the Thames Gateway Bridge

Last week The Animal posted on the unambitious, short-sighted and generally depressing pair of strategy documents that emerged from the Mayor of London and Transport for London on the future direction of London’s transport networks. Today, at the risk of appearing a touch parochial and exposing myself to accusations of a conflict of interest, I wanted to look at the approach being taken to the issue of river crossings in east London, which demonstrate quite clearly the lack of coherence and strategic thought in these documents.

It should have come as no surprise to anyone that Boris Johnson announced last week that the plans for a road bridge in the Thames Gateway linking Thamesmead and Beckton were being scrapped. In his manifesto, Johnson had said

I support in principle the need for an extra river crossing upstream from Tower Bridge to ease congestion and aid economic growth. However, any scheme will have to deal with the issues on both sides of the river in terms of traffic management, safeguarding the (more…)

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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