Tag Archives: boris johnson

Edward McMillan-Scott writes…Postscript: The Tory Conference – more Euro-sceptic than ever

Edward McMillan ScottIt was a poignant watching the Tory Conference at Birmingham’s ICC on TV. After all, it was there at our Spring Conference in March 2010 that I became a Liberal Democrat, only to find my new party in coalition with the Tories two months later!

I described that as the happiest day in my political life: ‘the Lib Dems have tamed the Tory extremists’ I wrote as the Coalition Agreement was published, especially on the EU and human rights.

My impression is that the Conservative Party has made absolutely no progress …

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The Airports Commission says ‘no’ to a Thames estuary airport, but Boris hasn’t given up

borisislandBoris Johnson’s proposal for a new London airport on the Isle of Grain in the inner Thames estuary, to replace Heathrow, is not dead in the water despite being rejected by the Airports Commission. The Commission’s decision on the proposal was published today.

Whilst acknowledging that a new (‘ITE’) airport on the Thames estuary would provide extra capacity and improve noise impact, the report cites the loss of protected habitats, the issues with being sited next to a Liquid Natural Gas storage facility, plus the costs of infrastructure, housing and access improvements. The cost of the airport could be anything from £67 billion to £120 billion depending on whether it had three or four runways.

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ICM poll: Labour leads Tories by 7%, Lib Dems in third place on 12%

What a difference a month makes. In July, the Guardian’s ICM poll – the ‘gold standard’ – showed a narrow 1% Tory lead over Labour. Fast forward to August and Labour enjoys a solid 7% lead over the Tories, by 38% to 31%. The Lib Dems are in third place, unchanged on 12%, with Ukip trailing on 10%.

icm poll - aug 2014

Three brief points:

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Stephen Knight writes… Boris marginalises debate on Europe

boris and cameronBy making a Europe speech at Bloomberg, just like the Prime Minister did over a year ago, it was clear that the Mayor of London was sabotaging the launch of his Chief Economic Adviser’s report on our place in the EU as a (re)launch pad for his political career. What a good use of £36,400 of taxpayers’ money!

Predictably, the headlines are about Boris Johnson’s plans to return to the Commons. Once again, the debate about our role in the EU gets swept under the carpet and reduced to meaningless sound bites.

The Tories have now made ‘EU reform’ another such sound bite. Reform of what? And how? And when?

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Baroness Sal Brinton writes…Why we should be concerned about the Uber app

Taxis on Oxford StreetThere’s been much in the media today about the Hackney Cab blockade/strike in London this afternoon, protesting to TfL and Boris Johnson about the licence that TfL have given Uber to set up an app for hailing minicabs.

This isn’t a turf war. It’s much more serious than that, and there are some highly political issues here too that affect anyone who uses a taxi.

photo by: sermoa
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LibLink: Vince Cable: Smell the coffee, Boris. The Mansion Tax has slipped in already

Mansion Only - Some rights reserved by Gerg1967This story appears under the byline of a “Daily Mail Reporter” which is a bit odd, because I don’t think they’ve let any of them into the Cabinet yet, and certainly not any who oppose the Tories. The reference to “my Cabinet colleagues’ kind of gives the game away that it’s our Vince who has taken on Boris over the Mansion Tax. Now, there’s another debate I’d like to see alongside Nick vs Nigel. Vince vs Boris. One day, maybe..

Anyway,  Vince started by pointing out that action was taken in the Budget to tax corporate property buying:

One less publicised move was a crackdown on people using high-value property to make easy capital gains from property inflation and then dodge tax, hiding behind a corporate façade.

At a time when families are desperate for housing, thousands of luxury flats sit empty in tower blocks along the Thames. The Government is stopping this abuse by charging a penal rate of stamp duty and a charge on the property value – a mansion tax.

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Careful, Boris. Remember what happened to the last top Tory to liken the Lib Dems to a bird?

“The sooner we are shot of the great yellow albatross, in my view, the better.” So said Boris Johnson yesterday, taking a pop at both Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems.

But, as a classics scholar, Boris should beware a little thing called hubris. At the 1990 Tory Party conference, Mrs Thatcher poked fun at the Lib Dems’ new logo, the bird of freedom, by performing the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch:

Posted in YouTube | Also tagged and | 31 Comments

Boris has a right Mair in live BBC interview

It was a masterclass in TV interviewing from Eddie Mair, occupying Andrew Marr’s Sunday morning chair on BBC1. (You can watch an excerpt from the interview here.)

mair johnson -mar 2013With documentary-maker Michael Cockerell’s film, ‘Boris Johnson: The Irresistible Rise’, to be screened on Monday evening (BBC2, 9pm), Mair took the opportunity to put to the twice-elected Mayor of London the allegations he’s always previously been able to laugh off. There’s a good feature about it in the Daily Mail (sorry) here.

Usually interviewers indulge Boris; I could say …

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Boris’s Tory leadership chances: the lesson of Patrick Gordon Walker

boris and cameronA typically colourful quote from Mayor of London Boris Johnson on any ambition he might harbour one day to occupy Number 10:

“I would like to be the lead singer of an international rock group. That was my aim, or a good guitarist. I would love to have been a world-famous painter or a composer. There are many things that I would like to have been able to do. … Obviously, if the ball came loose from the back of a scrum – which it won’t – it would

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Call Clegg: The one where Boris agrees with Nick

I wondered if the Tories might try and turn up the heat on Nick on today’s LBC Call Clegg now that the starting gun has been fired for the Eastleigh by-election just 3 weeks from today.

I wasn’t expecting the unmistakeable tones of “Boris from Islington” telling Nick to get ministers out of their cars and onto bikes, and get some investment into infrastructure.

Sadly, the London Mayor (for it was he) didn’t quite have the guts to actually talk to Nick live. He’d pre-recorded his question. Nick lobbed the ball firmly back into Boris’ gob by asking him if he were …

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Your essential weekend reader — 8 must-read articles you may have missed

It’s Saturday morning, so here are eight thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices…

No, you’re not entitled to your opinion – Patrick Stokes at The Conversation argues that proper debate relies on contested claims based on relevant expertise: just holding to your own view ain’t enough.

Is The Economist left or right? – its digital editor Tom Standage answers the question ‘yes and no': which can

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6 things Lib Dem campaigners can learn from Boris Johnson and George Galloway

Boris Johnson has twice won a contest for a directly-elected Mayor. George Galloway has recently won a Parliamentary by-election.

That is why, for all the many reasons Liberal Democrats have for criticising both, smart Liberal Democrats also know that there are lessons to be learnt from their electoral successes.

Posted in Campaign Corner | Also tagged and | 22 Comments

Lords reform, Boris Johnson and Louise Mensch: Guardian podcast

This week’s Politics Weekly podcast from The Guardian features, ahem, myself alongside Martin Kettle, Nick Cohen and Tom Clark. Lords reform, Boris Johnson’s political future and the Corby by-election (so far, dreadfully lacking in jokes about trouser presses) all feature.

Nick Cohen made a particularly good provocative point about Boris Johnson – saying he’s the only Conservative in the UK to have won a major election since John Major won the 1992 general election. It makes the Tory right’s view of him rather contradictory: they really dislike some of his policy preferences (such as on immigration) yet also love him as …

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Hanging around

Yesterday Boris Johnson was in Victoria Park taking the first ride on a new zip wire. This is what happened, courtesy of ITV:

Posted in News | 5 Comments

The weekend debate: Is mandatory arbitration the answer to public transport strikes?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

With the Olympics approaching and not all the details of staff conditions on London’s public transport settled, talk of how easy or not it should be to call a strike is often popping up in political debates. The answer from many Conservatives is to make strikes harder by demanding a minimum turnout threshold for strikes. That idea often runs into criticism and the one time I’ve sent a tweet which trended on the front page of Twitter’s website in its old guise …

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LDV Caption Competition: Boris & Dave “Happily ever after” Edition

There’s no prize at stake – just the opportunity to prove you’re wittier than any other LDV reader…

Here is re-elected London mayor Boris Johnson with his fellow Etonian, Tory leader David Cameron. After this week’s local election results, what do you think might be being said or thought by or about them?

And the winners of our last caption comp is…

Some fantastic entries for our most recent caption competition, David Cameron & Jeremy Hunt “Human shield” Edition.

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Vote for change in London – Ashdown, Steel and Williams

Tomorrow those of you in London have the chance to make your voice heard by voting in the mayoral and assembly elections. It is vital that you do. We have an opportunity to do something to bring real change to London.

Throughout the campaign it has been clear that huge numbers of Londoners are undecided and unenthusiastic about voting for either Boris Johnson or Ken Livingstone. And the more they have seen and heard Brian Paddick the more they like him and believe he will bring real change. It is only now that election day is upon us that most of …

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

The Weekend Debate: Who’d get your 2nd preference after Brian in the race for London Mayor?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

This Thursday, millions of voters will go to the polls to cast their votes in local elections. And although London is only one of those elections, its electoral size and the colourful prominence of its candidates means it has got the lion’s share of the media coverage.

For the Lib Dems, Brian Paddick has fought a terrific campaign. The former Metropolitan police chief only narrowly squeaked ahead of Mike Tuffrey for the party’s nomination following what Brian himself has acknowledged was a tricky first outing as a Lib Dem candidate in 2008.

This time round, however, he has more than held his own in the televised debates, while his advertising, social media and online presence has achieved real impact. As I reported last month, the Lib Dems’ London fundraising has been a huge success, allowing the party actively to compete at this election in a way that’s not previously been possible.

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The Independent View: how London Mayoral candidates shape up on cycling and transport

The way that we travel and the places we live in have a massive impact on our lives, going well beyond what’s traditionally considered transport policy. Increased car use is driving up levels of obesity, polluting our cities and leading to more accidents. As London’s population grows, the demands on our transport system make it an ever tougher nut to crack.

Sustrans wants to see a London, and a country, where everyone is able to get around, to work, school, shops and leisure facilities. Making it easier and safer to walk and cycle for our short …

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LDVideo: Boris Johnson – Night Mayor

Here’s a really rather good (but unofficial) video promoting Lib Dem London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick:

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The weekend debate: Should Boris Johnson get his way on London’s tax take?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Incumbent Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson has developed plans for Londoners to keep more of the tax revenue generated in the city to spend on better public services. Boris said the capital should be getting a greater return from the tax it contributes to the exchequer.

According to the Evening Standard the equivalent of £2,500 for every Londoner goes to other parts of the UK rather than being spent on public services in the capital.

Boris Johnson said that London should no longer be …

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged | 8 Comments

The Weekend Debate: Should election candidates have to declare their tax records?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

The race to be London mayor took a fresh twist this week when the leading candidates pledged on BBC Newsnight to release their tax records. Lib Dem mayoral candidate Brian Paddick declared himself very happy to publish full details, which appear here on his website:

Brian Paddick has nothing to hide and is very happy to be open and transparent about his income and tax returns as a registered sole trader. His figures show he has never attempted to use any complex

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 17 Comments

Brian Paddick: It is vital that we maximise our vote for the London Assembly

The fantastic Sage conference hall was the venue for Brian Paddick’s speech to the Liberal Democrat spring conference.

Or rather, his co-speech. Because for the purposes of the London 2012 campaign, Brian Paddick is no more. Instead he has been merged into Brian-Paddick-Caroline-Pidgeon.

It is one of the lessons from previous London campaigns that the party needs to be far better at turning profile for a Mayor candidate into votes for the London Assembly list, the best prospect for the party to gain new seats.

This then was not Brian Paddick’s speaking slot. It was the Brian-Paddick-Caroline-Pidgeon speaking slot, preceded by the Brian-Paddick-Caroline-Pidgeon …

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Sometimes a bus is just a bus

When Boris Johnson promised that if elected Mayor of London he would introduce a new Routemaster bus, I don’t think many expected him to interpret that quite as literally as he has.

For by the end of his term in office, there won’t be hoardes of new Routemaster buses on London’s roads. Not even scores or dozens. But there will be a new Routemaster bus. One bus. Just the single bus.

As London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon puts it:

Posted in London and News | Also tagged | 25 Comments

Livingstone and Johnson: a record of unsavoury comments

Funny, pointed and relevant: this is one of the best pieces of campaign artwork I’ve seen put out by the party this year.

Posted in London and News | Also tagged and | 25 Comments

LibLink: Brian Paddick – London is increasingly policed by force not consent – thanks to its mayors

Lib Dem London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick had a piece on the Guardian’s Comment Is Free website yesterday on what is his undoubtedly his strongest issue – policing.

Here’s a sample of what Brian had to say:

Crime will be far more of an issue in the election of the mayor of London on 3 May because the mayor is now the elected crime and police commissioner for London. He alone sets police priorities and the police budget and he alone will hold the Metropolitan police to account. Far from holding the police to account, to date

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The weekend debate: Should Stephen Hester accept his bonus?

Here’s your starter for ten in our weekend slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

Since the £963, 000 shares bonus for RBS Chief Executive Stephen Hester has been revealed there have been opinions pouring out from across the political spectrum.

When Ed Miliband accused David Cameron of a “failure of leadership” over it, Cameron promptly distanced himself from the process altogether, with George Osborne claiming it was due to rules put in place by Labour.

Boris Johnson seems to be against it, as is our usually economically …

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Julian Huppert MP writes… Boris Island is no more than an election ploy

Just one week after the Government gave the green light to a multi-billion pound high speed rail network, taxpayers are being asked to consider another tranche of infrastructure investment.

But the case for a £50 billion Thames Estuary Airport, dubbed ‘Boris Island’ after London’s inimitable Mayor, is so confused that it no longer constitutes a coherent proposal at all.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 6 Comments

Ken Livingstone attacks Boris Johnson for, er…, agreeing with Ken Livingstone

Ken Livingstone has me a bit confused.

Hearing him attack Boris Johnson is certainly not a surprise.

But hearing him attack Boris Johnson for saying what Ken Livingstone himself said previously? That’s a bit odd, shall we say.

Compare and contrast now and then.

The now:

Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone were engulfed in a war of words today over whether Londoners are too “lazy” to find work. The Mayor claimed some young people in the capital lacked the “energy” to go out and get jobs which were instead going to immigrants. His Labour challenger Ken Livingstone immediately accused him of branding Londoners “lazy and workshy”.

And …

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London Lib Dems hit out at Boris’s fare hikes as “shameful”

London Lib Dem mayoral candidate Brian Paddick and leader of the London Lib Dems Caroline Pidgeon have criticised Boris Johnson’s 7% price hike for public transport fares which came into force today. Here’s the party’s official statement:

Commenting on the Mayor’s 2012 fare rises being introduced today Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat Mayoral candidate said:

“Once again we start the year with another painful fare package from Boris Johnson. For the fourth year in a row he has racked up fares by far more than the rate of inflation.

“His latest rises will simply add to the financial problems

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn Kelly 23rd Oct - 9:01am
    What's the date of the conference and where is it being held?
  • User AvatarJo Hayes 23rd Oct - 8:58am
    Douglas Carswell had been MP since 2005 and built up a large personal vote based on casework, of which his literature boasted. Impossible to say...
  • User AvatarLiberal Neil 23rd Oct - 8:54am
    This is utterly disgraceful.
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 23rd Oct - 8:52am
    @ George, Where to begin? I haven't had your experiences, in exactly the same way that you haven't had mine - as a BAME member...
  • User AvatarIan Sanderson (RM3) 23rd Oct - 8:37am
    Rabi I'll also apologise, if I am to be counted among the side-trackers. In mitigation, this whole question, and how as a country we seem...
  • User AvatarIain Donaldson 23rd Oct - 8:37am
    No Richard, with the likes of Donnachadh in the party it would be far less likely to be excluding those people. Sometimes you have to...