The Argument Over Transport

Articles, Election 2008, LondonUnlockedEditor

Dave Hill writes a thoughtful piece in Comment is Free about the battle for ideas - and London - currently going on between Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson.

Key to Mr Hill's argument is that whilst Ken Livingstone appears to have a better grasp of transport policy, Boris Johnson has ideas which have the potential to capture the public's imagination:

Despite the trouble they've caused [Mr Johnson], bus conductors still appeal to Londoners, as Ken Livingstone himself acknowledged on Monday. Johnson proposes to re-introduce them on to a fleet of new-style Routemasters, the legendary London double-deckers that all but went out of service three years ago. This too seems an idea with popular potential if Johnson can convince voters that it is more than a nostalgic fantasy.

The issue of crime, in and out of buses, is one which Mr Hill also argues gives Boris Johnson a potential edge over the Mayor:

...the safety issue hasn't gone away. Whatever the crime statistics say - and that's a whole other story - Londoners are nervous about crime - more nervous than people in the rest of the country, be it on public transport or anywhere else. This is a tricky topic for Livingstone. We all know bad stuff goes on. He must not appear complacent, yet to concede there is a problem after eight years at the helm risks inviting the charge of failure.

Mr Hill is an incisive observer of London politics, and his blog London, Mayor & More is well worth a read.

Otherwise you can read his entire Guardian article here.