Election Day and Our Verdict

Election 2008, LondonUnlockedEditor


Voting has begun across the country in local elections and in London in the Assembly and Mayoral elections.

The BBC is updating its coverage throughout the day and will be issuing results as soon as they are made known.

Meanwhile, there is a final flurry of activity in the Mayoral race:

  • The Mirror offers Ken Livingstone's 20-Point-Plan for London.

LondonUnlocked has been disappointed by the level of debate in this election, and the sad focus on personality over substance. In a campaign where there are real ideological differences between the two leading candidates, little other than froth has been discussed.

Given the Mayor's degree of control over the transport network he must by nature be open and accountable. In the view of this website, Ken Livingstone has shown himself to regard accountability at best as a triviality, and at worst an inconvenience.

Boris Johnson's calls for a more open Mayoralty are welcomed, especially given the growth of the network under the control of TfL and the Mayor. With increasing numbers of rail services, the Metronet lines, and Croydon tramlink now part of the network which the Mayor controls, a transparent system of governance is now more essential than ever. For business, the City and Londoners to have faith in the Mayor, his methods must be above doubt and proper scrutiny applied to his office.

With regards to transport planning, the candidate which listed the most exciting ideas is Brian Paddick. He is the only candidate who has thought beyond the norm to understand how to connect outer and inner London better, and considers a system which parallels the tube to be essential. Whilst there are many flaws in his policies, his are certainly the best of the main contenders.

So, what is there to like in the candidates?

Ken Livingstone's determination is welcomed. He introduced the Congestion Charge boldly (and as the article above suggests, rashly) at a time when putting up taxes in London was thought to be a body-blow for a politician. He has also championed the Olympics and CrossRail.

Boris Johnson's determination to be accountable is welcome, as is his insistence that a true Cabinet will run the city under his control, loaded with experts. It is sad that we don't have more details of the people due to fill this team, though it is a welcome development.

Brian Paddick, as we have mentioned, has the better transport policies and has proved a thoughtful if unexciting candidate.

LondonUnlocked doesn't feel that it can endorse any one candidate based on their transport policies. However, our hope is that if Boris Johnson wins (as the latest YouGov poll suggests that he will) he will take time to settle in before developing new policies for transport in London. If Ken Livingstone retains the top job, this site believes that he should heed the powerful voice for change which has driven this election and submit his office to greater scrutiny, and his plans to open consultation.

Remember: no matter who you vote for, it matters that you vote.

Polls close at 10pm and we will carry the results of the election as soon as they are released.