There was loads of good news for the Mayor to report at Mayor’s Question Time, not least that the London Olympics will be the best prepared of any Olympics held, on time and under budget. There is so much negativity in the press these days, let’s have the good news and concentrate on that for once.
THE CABLE CAR is a smashing success. In one weekend alone, 32,000 visitors took the trip, paying £3.20 each for a return ticket. So popular is the cable car that the Mayor asked Kit Malthouse to investigate the possibility of extending the scheme to other areas. Congratulations to the Arab Emirate for having the foresight to back the scheme.
WORLD PRIDE, at one time under the threat of cancellation, is going ahead. The Mayor is supporting the event with a donation of £100,000. Wesstminster Council has banned floats and also restricted parking, on the grounds of health and safety. The Pride organisers got themselves in a muddle and Peter Tatchell asked the Mayor for a loan. The £100,000 is a donation that does not have to be repaid. Although the event will be scaled down, Boris believes it will be a happy and enjoyable occasion.
CYCLING has increased by 173% since 2001. Any fatalities and accidents are too many, but the Mayor made the point that cycling has become safer too. He then outlined some of the measures he is taking to make cycling safer. Vast sums are being spent to make 500 junctions, roundabouts and signalling safer for example.
THE BORIS BIKES are key pieces of London infrastructure, a compliment from Assembly Member Stephen Knight. They are not tarnished by their link with Barclays, as he suggested. Barclays is a historic British brand, a great employer and Boris says he will continue to stand up for the bank and the financial sector. Any employee guilty of criminality should be prosecuted, but that is not to deride the work of the thousands of Barclays employees who do good work. After all, LibDems were funded by fraudster Michael Brown, and they have seen no need to change their name, nor indeed has Stephen Knight resigned in protest from the tarnished LibDem party. It is vital, said the Mayor, for City Hall to work with the private sector in tough times, when they can reduce the cost of important projects.
THE NEW BORIS BUS will be on the road by the time of the Olympics, 8 of the prototypes now and 600 by 2016. This bus is the cleanest and greenest bus of all time, beautifully designed and showing every sign of being another smashing success. It is twice as fuel efficient as a diesel bus and the most environmentally friendly bus of its kind. (Jenny Jones must be happy about the bus and the cable car from a green point of view.) Fare evasion is down to record lows in Boris’s reign.
CAPITAL CLEANUP is being supported by Proctor and Gamble in partnership with the Mayor as part of his Team London project. This is another positive benefit of capitalism, pointed out our Mayor.
JOBS AND GROWTH in abundance are being provided by the initially derided cable car and Boris bike schemes. This is the benefit of working with the financial sector and accepting sponsorship from companies such as Barclays and the Arab Emirate and this is a positive and very good thing.
THE INSPIRING ART EXHIBITIONS being held throughout London this summer were not discussed, but they are described in full here, and are a cause for pride and rejoicing for all Londoners.
OLYMPIC BUNTING is beautiful to see, the Mayor suggested we all buy it to adorn our homes.
OPERATION FERROUS, a police operation to tackle metal theft, has made 173 arrests.
Much more was discussed, but a podcast of the meeting in full is here. PS. One more bit of good news! The bus strike tomorrow is suspended.