There is a Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ documentary on Monday about Ken Livingstone and his tenure as Mayor. Worth a watch since Ken,as reported by Harrys Place, has sent a letter to the chief executive of Channel 4, Andy Duncan, claiming that the programme is, in effect, a party political broadcast on behalf of Boris Johnson.
Nick Cohen in the Observer today, also via Harrys Place, ‘who begins with the essential truth of why Ken Livingstone is unfit of be the mayor of London’
"To understand why Ken Livingstone is unfit to be the Labour candidate for mayor of London, you have to grasp that he has never moved away from the grimy conspirators of the totalitarian left, who have always despised the democratic traditions of the Labour movement."
This is my city, it’s our grand Capital, i love it and it deserves better than gang culture, vile rape stories and slimy fascist loving mediabug Ken. I couldn’t care less for personalities and media hype when it comes to these elections, though Ill concede his whiny twang and surly face make me reach for the remote every time he appears. It should be fought on policy.
This is Boris’s new website. Since he won the primarys he has been rather quiet. He intends to run City Hall in 4 months time and this is a series of posts about the policies on the agenda and a bit about London from someone who loves this place. This is a long one because its my bugbear. The rest will be shorter!
On his website Boris suggests that his new site will be "the chance to share what you love and loathe about the borough you live in…" Well, I already know what i really love (a LOT) and i know what i truly loathe about the borough I live in – and it all falls into the areas he is tackling.
Safety, gang culture, thuggery, knife crime.
Boris launched his strategy for tackling the growing problem of gang violence in London with a hard-hitting advert in the Evening Standard. In an accompanying article he outlined the key themes of this strategy: "using the direct involvement of community groups and mentoring schemes across London to counter gang culture", and "toughening up policing in the capital to make streets safer" "Use mobile scanners in hot spots around London at tube stations, festivals, etc" To "Drive out political correctness" but before you get excited he means that it is not about one section of the community in London: The knife is colour blind and does not discriminate. "Get more police on the streets". "Sports Funding: Ring-fence a part of the LDA budget to invest specifically in community sports projects around London". "Housing: Make designing out crime a key priority in the London Plan so we don’t make the mistakes of the past". "Transport: Make public transport safer by running a live CCTV trial on buses".
There are a number of issues in there. Ill take a couple. For Boris it’s about working with the police and communities to prevent young Londoners becoming victims of gang violence and investing in more full-time officers, whose numbers are in decline. Here’s what i think.
Yes we need more police, freed up from paperwork with a proper ‘remit’ to arrest criminals and for them to know the thugs they arrest will see a court and go through a legal process that doesn’t see them back out on the streets having had a light slap on the wrist.
We need tougher looking MALE police officers! I don’t care about race and religion but officers seem to be shrinking in more ways than one. I walked past 3 this evening who were employed for their gender and race and who looked about as menacing as me. They were shorter than me – by some way. It’s not rocket science that police officers should command authority and inspire confidence. And that it isn’t all about carrying firearms. I’m talking about beat officers – not the ones that race around in cars all day or S019. It’s beat officers we need in droves.
Maybe we could have SO19 stationed permanently in some travel and key areas? They used to be stationed in the City at checkpoints. We need more of them too. Although I’m not sure about this little plan either. (Contrary to what some may think I’ve never been that keen on female officers or for that matter female soldiers on the front line).
But this is the killer:
- We must strengthen neighbourhood policing and beef up the powers of community support officers so that they can take action to protect Londoners.
Community officers?? Give me a break. They’re crap. I direct about 14 tourists a day to the British Museum and noone pays me.
In an interesting write up on gang culture relating to the points above he summarised:-
To make our streets safer, we must of course begin with the police. It’s not just a question of ensuring a more visible police presence, and cutting the paperwork that keeps so many officers in the back room. We need a clear signal – from the top of the Met – that tackling the gangs is a priority. We need to do far more to end the prevalence of knives and guns on the streets and on public transport, and it is time we at least considered the use of remote hand-held scanners that can detect weapons at a distance. The idea has been promoted by Lord Stevens, the former Commissioner, and it has the advantage of allowing officers to "search" without stopping, and without being seen to victimise some communities. We need to prevent the teenage gangs from treating the buses as getaway cars, and intimidating other passengers (correct!). That’s why I have proposed a trial of live CCTV on some routes, so that the police can see the violence taking place as soon as they are alerted to it by the bus driver – and immediately go to the scene".
Mobile scanners and the latest CCTV all sound good if there is a response to it that works when needed. I’ve seen the live CCTV try outs on our buses and its pretty incredible technology, very clear. I’m in two minds about CCTV. Obviously it was of enormous benefit in 2005 and 2007. But its pointless unless its reinforced with regular officers, armed officers who can get to you quickly.
And this is where Ken also really screwed up.
Getting rid of the Routemaster. In taking them off our streets he removed the freedom to get off the bus when you want and the security of a conductor. You cannot get off the bendy buses in a major hurry. I really hate the way the driver jams the doors shut unless he is at a stop and with the ‘kids’ on the buses forever kicking off at the back it gets frustrating and frightening.
- The Mayor could be doing so much more to encourage competitive sport of all kinds, with all its potential for developing em
otional maturity and for allowing young males to let off steam. There is so much that could be done with the arts.
What are we talking about: Ballet? Jeez.
Boris writes some good stuff about the culture behind..and reasons for gangs. But if i was in charge these boys would have their welfare stopped and be shipped off to boot camp ‘to let off steam’ rather than focusing on the arts and before the focus on sports. Welfare may be out of his control but he could bring pressure to bear on London borough councils where it relates back to crime.
Every morning when i leave to go to work, the loony kid opposite is sitting on the wall, a wall attached to what would, on the market, be a £3 million Georgian house but instead is council property. Swinging his legs without a care in the world. Always has ‘something’ to tell me. I’m paying for the little twerp to sit on that wall all day. There is no reason he cannot work. His brothers are the ones who used to tear up and down the street on brand new mopeds c/o my tax money. And naturally the LA and NYC styled gang culture is a BIG draw when you’re bored or should i say lacking in ‘emotional maturity’.
Bottom line. I don’t want to pay anymore towards their ‘emotional maturity’ or lack thereof. I have no doubt that just stopping welfare won’t stop the styled gang culture that offers them the kudos they feel they need, spoon fed them by every aspect of modern culture. But before we pay out on any more schemes – we can cut back on a few. Boris is a Tory. Let’s hope this filters through.
Conservative proposals to force the long term unemployed to work for their benefits were drawn up after studying the experience of similar schemes in the US, in places such as the state of Wisconsin..
Overall Boris gets: 7/10 on crime and safety proposals.