Bear and hair and unfair

On Friday evening my wife wanted to go out to eat fish, so we took a walk over to the Dark Horse. They only had Salmon on the menu, however, which she didn’t fancy, so we kept on walking to The Bear. We’d been in there for a drink before, but this was the first time we would eat there. I chose Wood Pigeon with lentils and bacon, she went for Trout and peas (with something else that else that escapes me right now). It was pretty tasty. I’d never eaten Wood Pigeon before, and I felt a bit sorry because I think they’re pretty birds; but the weight of millions of years of omnivorous behaviour overcame that guilt.

Verdict on The Bear: Good. Not excellent, but good. An alternative to the Dark Horse if it’s faffy food you’re after. They’ve done a good job on the decor and the staff were attentive, but it’s quite far from my house and didn’t quite have enough to tempt me over there on a regular basis. Nice if you live nearby, though.

Saturday morning, and the sun shining through my bedroom window told me it was time to get the mop cut. So I headed on over to Cube — except, as I approached, I got a rather nasty shock; it isn’t Cube anymore. I began to fear the worst as I got nearer and saw that it’s now called Teamwork, and advertises braiding and other services; could it be that my hairdresser had joined the multitudes of Afro-hairdressers in Camberwell? I needn’t have worried, as the staff and owner haven’t changed; only the name has. Inside it’s the same. I wanted to ask what prompted the change of identity, but my hairdresser was the stern Eastern-European lady who intimidates me into silence. A good haircut, though.

Afterwards I met the wife in the rear courtyard of Seymour Bros, where we basked while enjoying a late breakfast. Then a walk up to Ruskin Park, where we sat and watched the ducks for a while, and noticed that work is going on at the former bowling green; does anyone know if it will be flower beds, or something else? To cap off a capital sunny day in the Capital we went to the Sun & Doves for iced cider in the garden.

On the way home we thought about buying a plant for a friend’s birthday, so stopped in Pesh Flowers. The wooden boards and the medley of aromas makes this one of the nicest places to pass a little time, away from concrete and cars. Unless you have a pollen allergy, I suppose.

And that was my weekend in Camberwell.

As you can’t have failed to notice, the Mayoral elections take place this week. I’ll be voting for Livingstone; not because I’m a dyed-in-the-wool socialist, but because I think he’s done a good job in the last eight(?) years, with some truly bold attempts at sorting out the transport problem. He’s not perfect — which politician is? — but I think he’s better than the alternatives.

Johnson is not a Londoner, and the peak of his experience is running a magazine, not one of the largest and richest cities in the  world. Add to this the fact that his policies don’t add up; there are lots of promises, but few mentions of how they are to be funded or implemented. Paddick suffers from the same problem everywhere except on crime, which he understands better than transport or housing.

On top of this, there’s the fact that I’d love to bloody the nose of the Evening Standard, who have run one of the most negative, biased campaigns I’ve ever seen, against the current mayor. But hey; that’s just me. You go ahead and vote with your conscience. But if you do vote for Johnson and he does get elected, you’re never allowed to make jokes about Americans electing Bush ever again.

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

184 thoughts on “Bear and hair and unfair”

  1. “If you do vote for Johnson and he does get elected, you’re never allowed to make jokes about Americans electing Bush ever again.”

    Bit harsh Peter!

    I’m sick of Ken’s brazen cronyism and his riding roughshod over public opinion on certain key issues (poll tax in miniature) and so want him out. Boris might get my second vote because of this (Ken won’t have either). It does not make me a Bush advocate. I know we’re supposed to be Labour ’til we die round here but politics is murkier than ever before with traditional divisions disappearing/changing all the time. Bush and Blair sitting in a tree…

    As for the Standard’s coverage of the buildup, I like the press challenging the powers that be (irrespective of the Standard’s own motives) and Ken going mental/to court whenever they do makes it quite fun. And if we’re discussing one-sided coverage we mustn’t forget The Londoner, Ken’s own invention that goes to every home and that we pay for.

    P.S. Know what you mean about that lady at the Cube. Let’s see which of us can get her name and life story first!

  2. I see it as more tribal than that. I could *never * vote conservative, whatever the policies or prevailing political climate. Simple as that.

    The betting is on Boris to win it, mind. What a donut.

  3. You know how to have a pleasant weekend, Peter; I’m sure your hair looks fine, but how’s the waistband? Or do you live on black coffe and undressed salads during the week? Only joshing!

    My thoughts on the mayoral? I’m increasingly sad that Tony Banks died…

  4. D-MAN, don’t be tribal! That’s all out of the window as New Labour have been lobbied into oblivion by big business (whether on mobile phone tariffs, bank charges, energy or transport policy). This has rendered party allegiance, based on class, meaningless. Only the candidates, their current backers and team of thinkers, remain relevant.

    The main question for me is who would do more to prevent the aggressive driving and — seemingly — often deliberate vehicular killings and maimings on our London roads, such as this recent incident. They far outweigh the casualties of gangsta-sheeeeeet so often bemoaned in the media and ID’d as the No.1 issue for Londoners.

    I don’t think it is clear who would be best for cyclists, pedestrians or even motorists. The delectable Ms Berry has my first preference, and the “practical vote” decision can wait until polling day as usual.

  5. Well i’m going to vote for Ken — there are a few issues i am unhappy with but in general i think he does genuinely care about London and Londoners. I think the congestion charge and his transport polices in particular have been a great success.

    I really would prefer there to be stronger candidates from the other aprties as although i am naturally a Livingstone supporter it isn’t good for London or democracy to have so little real choice. I can’t understand the voting for Boris thing — weven if i was a Tory or hated Ken i still wouldn’t vote for him, i just don’t think he will be able to do the job and he hasn’t got the policies.

  6. I’ve seen no improvement in transport, other than the introduction of the wretched bendy buses and a doubling in price for a single ticket. The CC was a great innovation, but he’s now abusing it with the rise to £8, the western extension (why not east?), and turning it into a rather pernicious tax on what cars people own (which will encourage greater congestion with its concessions for clockwork cars). The other candidates are dross though i agree.

  7. Hairdresser is actually from Kosovo, came over after her village was attacked by the Serbs. Although that probably gives her good reason to seem a bit grumpy, my husband tells me that she’s actually quite sweet just a bit shy. Frankly, I like the idea of an slightly scary hairdresser who gets down to business — the last haircut I had lasted 2 hours because you can’t cut hair with scissors in one hand and your personal mobile phone in the other.

  8. Well the improvements in transport are there to be seen for anyone who used buses as their main form of transport 8 years ago — there are more buses, more night bus routes and whilst i would be the first to say Bendy buses are not perfect and possibly on the wrong routes at least you can stand a chance of getting on a 12 or 36 now.

    Oyster is also a great innovation i think — if you don’t like the full fares on buses and tubes use Oyster top up.

    I couldn’t comment too much on the CC but i think the West End extension is justified by the fact there is probably greater car use and congestion in the West rather than the East. I also feel happy with the rise to £8 costs in admin go up over time as do peoples incomes the point of congestion charge is to stop people from driving their cars at peak times — if i have to pay a higher fare to use trains at peak times on crowded routes i see no reason why motorists should pay more to use roads in congested areas at peak times.

  9. Oyster is creepy. Did you know they can track your movements by checking the logs?

    Bendy buses seem to carry a lot of people, so for that reason they’re doing a useful job. They’re not in any way elegant, I’ll give you that.

  10. Good policies, even poorly executed, are far preferable to poor policies well-implemented. For that reason I do not feel obliged to vote for Livingstone based on so-called management experience and seriousness.

    In South London the Mayor is imposing super-localities to which people must travel by highly polluting bus, rather than allowing conditions where micro-communities and truly local shops and services could subsist and thrive, patronised by pedestrians.

    Camberwell is not such a locality under the Grand London Plan. Dulwich, Elephant and Peckham are. This encourages car ownership, so is an effective extension of the government subsidy of supermarket shopping which has gone on for decades, devastating local small business.

    The question is — does Boris share this approach? I would have loved to see him answer that question in a Camberwell Mayoral Hustings, which unfortunately did not take place.

    Some of Johnson’s policies are excellently thought out, such as the attack on Livingstone’s London Plan permitting the designation of gardens as “brownfield”, along with waste industrial sites! Others, such as allowing motorbikes into bus lanes, leave much to be desired.

    It seems as if Johnson has the capacity to listen and admit when he is wrong. If that is true, then it’s a powerful advantage over the incumbent…

  11. Yeah but so can your credit card and your mobile phone!!

    Believe it or not there aren’t vast departments of TfL dedicated to following you to work every day.

    The data is used to see if useful things like new bus routes or extra buses on overcrowded routes etc.. are needed. It can also be usefully used to catch crims as my stolen oyster card (plus CCTV) was used to get the guy who mugged me and stole my hand bag.

  12. Yep mobiles are dodgy too. But somehow it seems worse to have The State tracking this stuff.

    I can’t see how Boris will help this area at all. Conservatives don’t care for the inner city and will focus on suburbs. He’s a total donut.

  13. Reg: I like the sound of this…

    “micro-communities and truly local shops and services [that] could subsist and thrive, patronised by pedestrians.”

  14. Buses in my narrow experience are twice as expensive and, where bendies have replaced routemasters, take longer than they did pre-Ken. Bendies are free though if you want them to be, so i guess that’s an improvement. Those pesky conductors always made you pay.

  15. I’d actually like to see lots more community wardens on the buses, that’d help people feel safer.

    I don’t much care if people pay or not. Most people who can afford it do pay. As florian says, it’s gone twice as expensive so free-riders are natural.

  16. Boris is very funny chap. His act is great. He is not a dry, meeting wonk. That’s what London needs, though, and Ken with his newts and nasal whine is a natural London government wonk. Paddick is very fit and handsome. However, he is outshone by the green lady, Sian Berry.

  17. It’s Ken for me — He’s not perfect, but I think he’s done a good enough job in the last few years to merit re-election … and he’s a much better bet than the other, very poor crop of, candidates.

    I feel that transport has improved, buses are much more regular, I don’t see what the problem is with bendy-buses … even though I encounter them more often as a cyclist than a passenger (which is scary) … I’m not sure why people think buses are twice as expensive??? Tubes are also improving, and Ken was absolutely right about metronet … Let’s face it the reason why London’s transport was so poor was years of misrule and lack of investment by the Conservative party.

    The only problem with the congestion charge is that it isn’t high enough — and I can’t see a problem with making rich fools who insist on driving into central London pay through the nose.

    Cronyism? — show me a politician who’s not guilty of that, I guarantee we’ll see more of that under Boris — after all when Boris’s friend, the convicted fraudster Darius Guppy, was being investigated by a journalist, Boris offered to arrange to have the journalist beaten up … Now that’s democracy for you …

  18. Being multi-transportational and using many of the delights that TFL offer, Ken has done a great job with the buses they are cheaper Florian just get an Oyster Card you don’t have to register it and the money stays on it.

    The CC charge works I have an exempt vehicle which isn’t clockwork runs on petrol actually. Well it would be exempt except Capita who run the CC charge are a bunch of money grabbing gits and taking 4 weeks to process registration. The poeple I see in cars going through the cc zone are not generally rich fools mostly poeple who are working.

    Cyclists who have had a fortune spent on their needs compared to pedestrian routes or motorists are my only complaint. The large amount of those who jump lights, go over pedestrian crossings mowing down innocent Londoners shoul be publicly hung in Camberwell Green as a sort of lycra clad decorations. As none of the Mayor candidates have this in their manifesto my vote has to go to Ken because he doesn’t cycle.

  19. Great posting Peter… and I thoroughly endorse your endorsement of Ken Livingstone. And thoroughly admire your being so candid in ‘public’.

    As for caution there may be about KEN — the Green Party says ‘vote for us but vote for Ken on your second choice’.

    NEED ONE SAY MORE?

    I’d vote of Boris if I wanted a drink with a mate after he won.

  20. D-Man, thanks. All I ask is that people think about their vote and the policies on offer and don’t blindly vote on the basis that the incumbent is “always safe”, or “I’ve always voted this way”. I myself will wait until the last possible minute before deciding how to vote, welcoming more information each day on the candidates’ positions.

    Gnomee — I humbly suggest that aggressive driving is a greater societal problem than the minority of cyclists on the road who shoot reds.

    They are wrong to shoot the reds, mostly because it helps goods vehicle drivers to treat all cyclists as fugitives, disputing their very right to be on the road. If you’ve been hit by a rogue cyclist, then my commiserations. But more pedestrians have been killed on pavements alone by motor cars than cyclists have seriously injured pedestrians on the road, so let’s at least mention things in order of priority, and TfL’s stats indicate that it is sometimes more dangerous to wait at a red, as goods vehicles crowd out the cyclist boxes unpunished, and crush law-abiding cyclists on the left turn.

    We’ve a long way to go before reaching the cyclist-spending levels of more civilised cities such as Amsterdam and Berlin. But these cities’ denizens have a far more developed sense of environmental responsibility…

  21. If I wanted a comedian as a Mayor, I’d vote for Boris. As it happens, I’d rather have a mayor with some sort of proven experience of dealing with serious situations, large budget and managing a large quantity of people.

    If you want to back a candidate for Mayor who has only managed 20 staff.. then so be it. But there is no going back after 1 May!

  22. D-Man, thanks. All I ask is that people think about their vote and the policies on offer and don’t blindly vote on the basis that “the incumbent is always safe because ‘e knows the job already”, or “I’ve always voted this way”. I myself will wait until the last possible minute before deciding how to vote, welcoming more information each day on the candidates’ positions.

    Gnomee — I humbly suggest that aggressive driving is a greater societal problem than the minority of cyclists on the road who shoot reds.

    They are wrong to shoot the reds, mostly because it helps goods vehicle drivers to treat all cyclists as fugitives, disputing their very right to be on the road. If you’ve been hit by a rogue cyclist, then my commiserations. But more pedestrians have been killed on pavements alone by motor cars (as on Camberwell New Road last year) than cyclists have seriously injured pedestrians on the road, so let’s at least mention things in order of priority, and TfL’s stats indicate that it is sometimes more dangerous to wait at a red, as goods vehicles crowd out the cyclist boxes unpunished, and crush law-abiding red-bound cyclists on the left turn. What punishment do you suggest for motorists occupying cyclist boxes at red lights?

    We’ve a long way to go before reaching the cyclist-spending levels of more civilised cities such as Amsterdam and Berlin. But these cities’ denizens have a far more developed sense of environmental responsibility…

  23. 19 Gnomee: why the hatred of cyclists? It’s a new cliche that cyclists “jump lights, go over pedestrian crossings mowing down innocent Londoners” etc and I’m tired, bored and upset by it…

    As a cyclist I face daily dangers from all other road users breaking the law or mis-using their allotted space … and that includes pedestrians: several times in the last few weeks I’ve had to brake sharply to avoid a pedestrian who’s stepped out onto the road without seeing me — had I hit any of them and been knocked off my bike, into the road and then run over by a car/bus/motorbike/white van etc then I’d be dead or seriously injured … in collisions involving bicycles it’s almost always the cyclist who comes off worse, (even those involving a bike and a pedestrian) and it’s rarely the cyclist’s fault.

    So when everybody else behaves properly then the current ongoing open season on cyclists breaking the law is fair enough. But unless you can prove that you’ve never speeded, jumped a light or parked illegally in your exempt vehicle you’re guilty of hypocrisy and threatening to hang cyclists in Camberwell Green is neither clever nor funny.

  24. I would humbly suggest that the real reason cyclists are pilloried is because we see them jumping red lights every day, whereas we don’t see people getting killed by cars every day; therefore, the enormously high number of deaths each year — an estimated 1,120 since January 1, according to this website — seems of less importance than a day-to-day irritant. It’s to do with the Monkeysphere.

  25. I saw an amazing road accident the other day. A dog shot out of Oswyth Road into Vestry Road by the Spar shop and hammered into the side of a blue Micra passing — so fast and hard, I was looking for the dent in the car. The dog was after another one three times its size on the pavement with its owner. It may have wanted to be friendly, who knows. Anyway, it squealed and squealed. Two blokes sauntered up and said to the owner of the bigger dog,

    ” ‘E don’t fight, mate.”

    It was such a stupid thing to say, because the dog obviously now couldn’t do anything. It swizzled round in circles flat on the pavement in front of the bewildered and cared for big dog, either looking for help or trying to attack it. The big dog’s owner, who like me was really shocked, said, “He’s got a broken leg,” but I would have said the dog had internal injuries, too.

    I didn’t hang about. What is it with these fighting dog people? They always seem to have their mouths open and slobber. I do not think these two geezers would have been bothering with any vet’s bills for their hurt dog.

    Luck had it that a Citroen Light 15 passed by, right-hand drive, a dark blue with cream interior, Slough-made car, I’d say, which restored my faith in humanity.

    Later, I saw two black cats in a stand-off near the Spar. I intervened. Fortunately, a 1970 Ford Capri passed by which restored my faith in humanity yet again.

    Better Ken than Boris and all his lot stand for.

  26. Now there’s a surprise. London’s socialist web blog is supporting red Ken. Stop the presses. I’m tired of seeing 8,500 on the payslip but getting less than 5K when all is said and done (a small amount you’ll say but I’m young so give us a break). And seeing neighbours all ’round using it to stay home and do nothing but go to the pub. Bendy buses are a free ride for nasty people. Can we have a rule? If you ride for free shut up and sit down. No music either.

    Oh and just how many years can Labour argue it’s the Conservative’s fault?! If I see one more ‘transforming your tube’ sign. It’s been 12 years. Shouldn’t be transformed by now?

    Do people like DMAN really exist? Is he a wind up? We can have regular stabbings and beatings and robberies and shootings and people roaming the street throwing their bodily waste but that’s just part of Camberwell’s lovely cultural diversity. Use technology to improve transport and catch anti-social idiots and we’re up in arms about their rights. Sorry Hannah — the man who stole your purse and violated your space deserves better than to be caught!!!

    Vote Conservative! Less tax on those already paying for everybody else twice over!!! Go Boris!!!

  27. I’m sure you’re aware that the Mayor of London doesn’t set tax rates, aren’t you Johnny? If so, was that just an excuse to brag about how much you earn?

    And nice use of the ‘80s Thatcherite slang ‘red Ken’; you’re never afraid to trot out a cliche, are you?

  28. Cyclists are ok — however some of them do jump the lights and get very petulant when you point out that they have to stop at red lights too. However i don’t feel the level of hatred towards bad cyclists that others do.

    However i think the standard of road and pavement use in London by all people — drivers, cyclists and pedestrians is bad — maybe there ought to be some sort of mass education scheme for Londoenrs on how to use roads properly.

  29. Well let’s all get identity cards then. Or maybe we should let them chip us?

    I can see Hannah’s point, of course. As noted, we need more Wardens on the buses and streets.

    JohnnyM you’re not the only one paying vast amounts of tax. Look at it more positively – if you’re paying a lot of tax, it means you’re doing alright. Better than most. Don’t get so uptight about it.

  30. Now that’s a point i don’t get — you can either put travel cards or cash on oyster — the smallest amount being £5 and your daily bus journeys are capped at £3 — eg if you spend up to £3 in a day you won’t get charged any more no matter how many journeys you take.

    I would have thought that Oyster could help low income people by being able to allocate transport money where it cannot be used for anything else. Also there is now a half price Oyster scheme for people on income support.

  31. If you’re short of money having £5 locked-up in a bus pass is not viable.

    You might say it’s a trivial amount, but take a look around. As a percentage of available cash, it’s quite high for many people.

    I find it a little condescending to say low income people need help to allocate transport money.

    Wasn’t aware of the income suport scheme. How does that work?

  32. I didn’t mean to be patronising!! From my experience when money is tight it is soemthmes helpful to be able to “lock” away money for essentials such as transport so it is still there when money is tight at the end of the month — i know i would have found this useful when i was on a low (er) income.

    The half price fare scheme is exacly that half price oyster fares for those on income support — i think you fill out a form and get a special card.

  33. I know that’s not what you meant. Anyhow, it seems like TFL have got the message and reduced the minimum price.

  34. I find it equally patronising that the same lot who scream ‘the GOVERMENT should take care of EVERYONE like a parent’ are the same who scream ‘the GOVERNMENT is BIG BROTHER’. Take it or leave it. If you don’t want ID type cards, then if you choose not to work and spend all your money down the pub don’t scream it’s up to GOVERNMENT to give you a free ride.

    Brag?! I don’t earn as much as others in my peer group here at the office, but I’m working on it. I don’t think it is that much for what I do and how long I work. I worked two jobs to buy my first flat and gave a lodger the one bedroom for a year while I did the sofabed thing. That’s not the norm in Camberwell’s moaning classes though. Only one’s who do that are, and I’m being fair here, Central European migrants who work like mad and save like crazy. If only all our British homegrowns on the estate could do the same. Nope. Must beg off work, cheat on handouts and get to the pub. Why change? We’ve been living off the Gov’t for generations and it’s far easier to move upstairs than break the cycle of shame.

    Shameless. And the tele reference is on purpose.

  35. We like Shameless in our house, also Skins, both are harmless, pleasant fantasies. “Moaning classes” is quite good, John, but the people posting here are not really moaners at all.

    It must be great being Polish here — you really know that every quid you earn is worth about 5 back home. That’s a real carrot. No wonder root crops are so big in Poland.

    I don’t know why you moan about Labour — they have brought dynamic market economy practices to our country for many years now, beating many other countries to it who now have to adapt.

    Funnily enough, so to speak, old Brown has just called Cameron a “shallow salesman”, but old Broon does not realise that salespeople are an essential part of a diverse, service-based, entrepreneurial economy. It’s like insulting Slough, Walsall, Dudley, Bradford, Dewsbury, Accrington, Swindon, cyclists or civil servants. All these have their merits. What are they supposed to do, self-combust? We can’t a;ll be prime ministers and live in posh Westminster. Billie Piper and Diana Dors come from Swindon. Y’ get me?

    On the other hand it was a good pot-shot. Cameron is greasy and worked in slime & spin for Carlton all those years.

    Come on, Johnny, ‘ave a larf.

  36. Johhny i’m not entirely sure who you are criticising here.

    I disagreed with D Man over Oyster cards and their tracking abilities but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    Whilst i agree that there is, in some quarters, a culture of benefit dependency i think you will find that many of the not very well off are the working poor, people who do have jobs but have low wages. D Mans point, and a good one, is about cash flow. Often when you have little money and a lot of outgoings cash flow is a huge problem.

    Oh ansd i am in no doubt that our eastern european brothers work very hard to save for a better life but whilst they work hard much of the gain comes from being able to earn money in a currency which is worth a lot at home — i know Poles a few years ago who worked hard for a couple of yers and brought houses back home with the cash. I’m not criticising this at all — fair play to them but it’s slightly different ball game if you want to buy a house in London.

  37. Can I make a brief interjection here;

    Some of you may have seen the article in the SLP yesterday about the launch of Creative Camberwell, formerly the Camberwell Creative Network, an umbrella organisation that gathers together organisations active in Camberwell intersted in the arts, fashion, music, and urban regeneration.

    You can find out more about Creative Camberwell here

    http://creativecamberwell.net/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=29

    and more details of this Fridays launch party, at The Synergy Centre, 220 Farmers Road, here

    http://creativecamberwell.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=16&Itemid=29

    Come along and see the performances, take part in some creativity, and help put our little corner of London back on the cultural map!

  38. dickdotcom @ 24 I don’t hate cyclists far from it some of them are even my friends. It is the moniority who complain about car users as rich fools that upset me.

    I believe if you give out harmony on the roads you get it back. If you lose it you only get stressed and risk a punch up.

    National Staistics Office figures show that all those killed or seriously injured in Road Accidents in 2003 in London of the total number 5,164
    Car occupants 34%
    Motorcyclists 22%
    Cyclists 8.5%
    Pedestrians 29%

    The stats don’t tell you if the accidents are caused by exempt CC vehicles or cyclists. It looks like when I am driving or walking I more at risk than cycling which I don’t do as I thinnk it is too scary.

    I was hoping to hang cyclists up in the trees at Camberwell Green for a period time which will suit the offence they have committed. Those with the most Hi Viz lycra getting the longest punishment. Then allowing them down again not actually choking the life out of them. It could be punishment/art in the green. So don’t be upset dickdotcom.

    Regenguru @ 21 that unfortunate woman at Brixton killed by the group 4 van, suddenly stepped out in front of the car I was driving a few weeks ago,next to the Ritzy, can of white lightning in hand. She scared herself and me as I only very narrowly missed her by about 1ft. I was to shocked to say anything and she wandered off..

  39. “Moniority” is even better than “moaning classes”. Blimey, you had a lucky escape, Gnomee.

  40. Camberwell is .…. just Camberwell.

    It’s whatever you make of it — love it or hate it, but ask yourself why you spend time posting here if you really do despise the place — nothing better to do??

    Vote Ken, that’s what we will be doing. All politicians are the same in the end — lowest of the low, beneath even estate agents — but better the devil you know.

    And Ken hasn’t done that bad a job really — the south bank area looks nice, there seem to be more London-based festivals happening these days, the congestion charge might not have stopped congestion but imagine how much worse the traffic would be without it.

    If only he would persuade the councils to allocate more motorcycle parking bays in central London -I’d even pay to use them.

  41. 8.5 bags a month is about £100k p.a.

    That’s the thing. There are so many couples who met at law school/accountancy college or during the subsequent training contracts.

    They’ve inherited £50k. They’ve made £100k on their first property. Now aged 30 ish they can afford to spend 600k on a three bed house in East Dulwich.

    What crash? Where?

  42. The C Charge is not a great success. It reduced traffic for a month or two but then people realised the tube and bus are still mostly awful. Unless you like contorting yourself into a veal crate, catching the flu and smelling l’eau de piss. Or getting on yer bike to go jousting with the number 12. Many got back into the car. Most of those who have a corporate parking space can expense the CC anyway. Or go for the minicab license loophole.

    Johnny makes a good point about Poles busting a gut. First generation immigrants or migrant workers always do. It seems ridiculous that Brown tried to fleece low income workers. You’d have thought he was proud enough of the record he’s just set with the poverty gap. However, there doesn’t seem much we can do about benefit sponging bums. They believe their country owes them a living and will place their x next to the BNP.

    I doubt Ken’s supporters read The Standard, so they’re preaching to the converted. But there’s certainly been misappropriation of dosh at the GLA. Ken’s free propaganda paper (payed for by you and I) is a little shameful too, this side of Beijing. Boris has some good ideas, although, to be fair, Ken’s sensibly admitted he’ll nick the best ones.

    It’s all too close to call and I havn’t made my mind up yet. Perhaps I’ll vote Paddick, he’s not a politician.

  43. @37 — It’s going to be difficult for every earth country to emulate our unique blend of market dynamism and social justice, without interplanetary trade.

    For without backward nations such as France and Germany, who will remain for Government and citizen to be in debt to, to own and control our utilities, transport infrastructure and energy supply, except visitors from the beyond?

    Fortunately, London has already invested heavily in a European spy satellite, which may help to remove such obstacles.

  44. Usually I am a dyed in the wool labour voter, I am deliberating in not voting at all. I don’t want to vote for Ken, he has done some good things for London even enabling some to earn £8.5K a month and pay the same contribution to City Hall as the rest. But power ultimately corrupts and he should have stood down. If he gets in it will be 4 years of fighting allegations of cronyism and nothing getting done.
    This is the only way I can register my disapproval of the candidates and the main parties. Or perhaps I will spoil my paper and mark it with “Mayor for 2 terms only”.
    I don’t want to vote for a someone just to keep someone else out. If we don’t engage with the process they have no mandate. A 50% win on 24% turnout means whoever won would have to work hard to get consensus.

  45. I am not just dyed in the wool but died in the pub Labour. For the time being, a Labour wonk would be better than a Tory jester. London is an inner London kind of place and should be run by Labour people who are by and large sensible, well educated and clever. The Conservative suburbs don’t need as much organisation and are therefore the natural place for low taxes and privet enterprise.

    VOTE LABOUR

  46. Easy for me

    1 — Sian Berry,Green Party
    2 — Ken Livingstone

    I would like Britain to become a country where there is at the very least a 15% Green Party representation in Parliament — we need a Joseph Beuys type character to help endorse it…

    As Paul Weller said

    “Anyone but that Tory Div”

    which made me smile…

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