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London Conservatives meeting at conference

(I still owe a write up of the integrated transport session from 8AM, but this is more entertaining as it involves Boris)


The London Conservatives fringe event attracted a big audience, possibly because of the quality of wine and victuals laid on by the session's benefactor, Canary Wharf group, and possibly because of the number of star attractions.

Anyway, the topic was what a Tory mayor, IE Boris, should do in a first 100 days.

Richard Barnes was first up and noted that the City Corporation would be discussing funding for Crossrail tomorrow and it is strongly rumoured that Ruth Kelly will make an announcement giving the go ahead slap bang in the middle of Cameron's speech on Wednesday,so was keen that we should pre-empt her on that. So, I am happy to do my bit to publicise that.

So, the first thing the new mayor should do? Lock the doors to keep Livingstone's advisers and wonks inside while a thorough forensic audit is connected of who does what, why it is done and so forth. Similarly, the accounts will need to be gone through carefully. The London Development Agency has an enormous spend but cannot account for it. The mayor will need to go through the cheque book and look at the stubs. There would appear to be two lots of policies - the open ones and the secret one.

Then TfL needs to be brought under proper accountable and democratic control, and not to be run by a bunch of 1979 throwbacks intent on class war and making life unpleasant for motorists.

The establishment of the Metropolitan Police by the 1829 Act called for the force to engage in the prevention and detection of crime and to ensure public traquility. (I cannot pin down the precise text, but those are the key words) Those are worthy aims, and the people of London, all the people of London are entitled to the full protection of the police 24/7, 365 days a year etc etc. The police spend too much time form filling, and meanwhile in part because of the PC cocoon that impacts law and order, the Met has the worst detection rate of any police force in the country.

Merrick Cockell's first 100 days started with sending a skip to city hall,for the political hacks to fill up and exit the premises by lunchtime. (Looks like Barnes and Cockell were not co-ordinating responses, but the divergent sentiments are both pretty good). These advisers are 70s throwbacks disconnected from the real London. And after that, well, throw a party.

As to the other civil servants, they need to be told that unless that they are prepared to work with the mayor, in the manner of civil servants everywhere, then they need to resign. The lease on City Hall needs to be investigated, with a view to getting new premises, possibly overlooking the Treasury, given that it gets £13 billion a year net from London. Further, TfL needs a new chairman, someone with real business experience. Costs need to be cut, expenditure needs to be trimmed. Then appoint a chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority with real clout - the mayor. The chair of London Councils, the leader of the assembly should meet and talk about future co-operation, and cost cutting.

The mayor should appoint a London cabinet,with people who support Boris, who need not be Tories. The boroughs and the assembly officials should meet once a month, and the diary should be cleared to allow 33 half days a year for the mayor to visit each of the boroughs at least once a year.

We should send an e-mail to Venezuela saying ‘It’s cancelled – it’s Caracas’ (Cue groans from the audience). The deal with Chavez demeans London.

Following the pattern of Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor needs to say ‘This is GOING to happen’ and then see how that expression of will galvanises. One of the things that needs to happen is the equivalent of 311 - a non-emergency number for all public services.

The 1500 (?) TfL police community support officers need to stop ticketing on red routes and get on to the buses etc and start dealing with anti-social behaviour and the like. Further, contracts with bus operators need to be re-examined and bus conductors should be brought back.

Next up was the chap from Canary Wharf, the event’s sponsor, the name of whom I failed to take down as I assumed he was going to ramble at length about CSR and the like. Which is unfortunate, as he gave a nice brief outline of how he had come to become a Conservative, and then gave his take on the first 100 days. Sacking the spin doctors also figured, as did connecting with people in the boroughs and getting ordinary Londoners more involved via consultation. He described the attacks on Boris as personal and unnecessary, and said that from his experience such behaviour shows panic and insecurity (prolonged applause),and ‘Say what you like, my money’s on the blond’ (further prolonged applause).

Whereupon the man himself too the lectern…. (taking notes when Boris speaks is not easy, so if the narrative seems a tad erratic, that is more a reflection on me than on Boris)

There is a conviction that there will be change in London, and we have 113 days before the election and we need to work together.

We need to get rid of the bat-eared labour spin doctors, who will hang on to the radiators with their finger nails to avoid being dragged out. A manifesto will be published in the new year

Once I’m inside the Mayor’s office – and what does it look like? – Stalinist Brutalist I would imagine, I will end the civil war between the Mayor and the boroughs, and I will work with the boroughs, not against them.

We need a more imaginative housing programme and Conservatives have always been great at helping those who want to help themselves. Meanwhile, if Brown is in a mess, a hornets' nest, and if he wimps out of calling an election we can tell him he's a big girl's blouse - the Grand Old Duke of Brown, he had 10,000 men etc etc...

I will work together with the boroughs and end the civil war. The police budget needs to be looked at , in order to get more police on the beat. (He contrasted the cop per pound in NYC and London, although did ask us not to follow his figures like bloodhounds,so I have not included them) .

As to transport, Livingstone's record is far from great, and the operation of the congestion charge is far from perfect. A Code Red is when a bus driver just cannot take it any more, stops the bus and radios for help - these are up 230%. There has to be a crackdown on hooliganism etc on buses, and we should have PSCOs on buses, conductors AND commission a successor to the Routemaster (Much applause - are London Tories all closet omnibologists, perchance?) and rid London of the bendy bus.

There are more than 100 people at LT paid more than £100,000. There are just seven at the treasury....

I will axe The Londoner, Livingstone's propaganda sheet, and spend the money on where it came from in the first place - trees.

So,my priorities -tax payer value, democratic accountability and working with the boroughs. London will be a model for the planet, and as the lion shall lie down with the lamb, so shall the cyclist be reconciled with the bus driver. (Much applause)

TBC. Although Dizzy has already blogged the best jokes.

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Blogger Newmania said... 9:13 am

Green with envy .....eaten with bitterness....bile rises in throat

Have a lovely time :)  

Blogger hatfield girl said... 12:22 pm

Well, yes, all those things, but what is actually going on? Are we fully up to date here? Personal as well as public event reporting is just as interesting. What's everyone wearing?  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:38 pm

N - All you have to do is be a member, cross the party's hand with silver etc etc. Fancy Brum next year?

HG - Well, where to start? The Big Cheeses are going in for suits, former MP Bill Walker sports a kilt, and the bloggers are a bit on the scruffy side.  

Blogger James Higham said... 2:39 pm

Lock the doors to keep Livingstone's advisers and wonks inside while a thorough forensic audit is connected of who does what, why it is done and so forth.

This appears sound advice.  

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