Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

State of London "debate"

Last week I went to the LBC sponsored State of London debate with Boris Johnson. It was very disappointing. He knows so little detail and always passes people on to his minions. It seems most of his achievements, like the bicycle scheme, were founded under the previous Labour administration, then left to wallow under his mayoralty (much like recycling in Barnet). And he is totally unwilling to share credit. Did you ever hear him thank the Councils for their considerable input into the successful planning of the Olympics?

His actual achievements seem few and far between. His record on transport has been to unnecessarily raise fares to pay for a new routemaster bus. The only reason he did this became apparent on the night, when he touted how many jobs it had made across the country. It was something he can say when he challenges Cameron. Throughout the evening, I got the impression this is a playground for him to hone his skills, have some things down on his political CV and work up a head of steam to challenge the Prime Minister. He seems to care little for London or our needs.

His record on Housing is abysmal, as anyone who has tried to rent in the Capital knows. His record on policing is the one that will do the longest term damage though. By keeping to his 24,000 officers pledge, he is destroying the most important part of modern policing, the community policing. What a joke that local Safer Neighbourhood teams have been slashed to two from nine, and in Barnet they are to be based out of only two stations. Officers for East Finchley will have to come from High Barnet. Good old joker Boris eh? The severance between policing and the front line will do a huge amount of damage, as local knowledge and relationships will be lost. It is more tragedy than farce.

And don't get me started on fire services cuts.

The thing that galls me though, is that he seems to get away with it. There is no press scrutiny, and because he can tell a joke or a funny anecdote he seems to escape any serious questioning, except from the Assembly members. It will take a long time to put all these right.