Tag Archives: Caroline Pidgeon

Questions left hanging over Boris’s cable car

Conservative politicians spend much of their time criticising their Labour counterparts for the often-inefficient way in which they spend public money. This is often quite justifiable: the many billions wasted through disastrous PFI schemes, abandoned IT projects and expensive-but-pointless gimmicks under Labour are a shameful legacy.

But the gap between this Tory rhetoric and reality is often rather stark, and nowhere is this more evident than with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

Take, for example, one of Boris’s pet projects of a cable car to transport people between the O2 arena and the Excel exhibition centre (both Olympic venues). Sounds like …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 5 Comments

Guide dogs allowed on London Underground escalators – Caroline Pidgeon campaign success

Following a campaign by Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, the legal ban on guide dogs travelling on the escalators on the London Underground is being lifted on Wednesday.

Transport for London and the Government are changing a by-law which originated in the era of wooden escalators which could expand and contract depending on heat and humidity. This meant larger gaps have to be left by default than on modern metal escalators, with resulting fears that guide dogs (now often called assistance dogs) might get their paws stuck …

Posted in London | Also tagged | 2 Comments

A tale of two holes – and a £39m price tag

In principle, I have no objection to people digging holes in the ground. Even very expensive holes. Potholes? Bad. But lift shafts, underground tunnels and other such excavations? Good. A big hole that loops back on itself and could* end the universe? That’ll do nicely. The combination of a hole, Bernard Cribbins and Lego? Excellent.

If I had to postulate a general theory of holes, I’d say that a hole that is not used is a bad hole. And two holes that are not used are doubly bad.

Which brings me to the question of the £39 million spent …

Posted in London | Also tagged , , , , and | 13 Comments

Brian Paddick selected as Liberal Democrats’ London Mayoral Candidate for 2012

Jonathan Fryer, Chair of London Region Liberal Democrats emails party members in London with the news:

The count has just been completed in the ballot for the Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate for 2012.

The selection contest turned into a really close race, reflecting the excellent choice of candidates London members were presented with.

I would like to congratulate Brian Paddick warmly on his victory, and all of us at Team London look forward to working with him and our GLA candidates over the next eight months to ensure the best possible result in May.

Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate for 2012

Posted in London and News | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

Mike Tuffrey writes… The Big Switch: turning London’s buses and taxis electric

Rudolf Diesel has a lot to answer for. The compression engine he invented has become the great workhorse of heavy duty vehicles like the buses, taxis and vans which fill our streets. But the nasty side effect of diesel fuel is fine particulate exhaust emissions that are creating a major health crisis. Tiny particles get deep into the lungs, causing thousands of premature deaths and a big increase in ill health.

The biggest culprit in central London, where the health problems are most acute? Yes, buses, taxis …

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Mike Tuffrey writes… My kinda campaign … working towards success in 2014

Ol’ blue eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, used to sing about “My kinda town…” Rest assured, I won’t be singing. But let me tell you about London – my town – and the kind of campaign I intend to run as our candidate to be Mayor of London.

The test of success in the 2012 campaign isn’t just the number of votes we win in the Mayor contest – it is how many Assembly members we get elected and how many councillors, councils and MEPs we get elected in 2014.

Our very best London-wide campaigning in the past – such as that led …

Posted in London and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Brian Coleman tops lists of expense claims, again

Conservative London Assembly member Brian Coleman has often been in the news over the years for his expense claims (not to mention his attempt to ban questions of himself), so I hesitate slightly to says it is “news” that new figures from the London Fire Brigade show him topping the list of expense claims:

Assembly Member
Brian Coleman April 2010 to March 2011 £3,480.20
Darren Johnson April 2010 to March 2011 £0.00
Gareth Bacon April 2010 to March 2011 £0.00
Mike Tuffrey April 2010 to March 2011 £0.00
Murad Qureshi April 2010

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Unpaid Congestion Charge fees and fines by embassies set to break £50m barrier

As of yesterday, the total in unpaid Congestion Charges and penalties run by embassies in London was £49.4m and at the current rate of growth that figure will break the £50m barrier later this month.

Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon has said, “The amount in unpaid Congestion Charges and Penalty Charge Notices owed by embassies is now so large that it could pay for more than 260 new buses on London’s streets, or fund the significant expansion of the cycle hire scheme, or alternatively reduce fare rises.”

Or, as she didn’t say, £50m could pay for one Fernando Torres.

Posted in London and News | Also tagged | 9 Comments

Transport for London offers up more data for free

Over the summer we reported the welcome news that Transport for London was making more of its data available for others to reuse:

It’s a smart move because it means the emphasis on working out how to make best use of the data shifts from TfL to the wider commercial sector. That means people can experiment (and fail) in a way that is much harder when politicians, media (and yes, bloggers) are looking over your shoulder waiting to shout “Waste of public money!” if an idea doesn’t pan out. It also means that Transport for London can concentrate on what it is (or should be) good at – running transport services, whilst letting those who are good at developing data services and marrying up different commercial ideas can do what they’re good at.

Posted in London | Also tagged | 6 Comments

Result: GLA Londonwide list selection

London Liberal Democrats have today announced their team of candidates for the London Assembly top-up list in 2012. Caroline Pidgeon AM topped the poll of London Liberal Democrat members to lead the London Assembly campaign in 2012.

The list is as follows:

  1. Caroline Pidgeon
  2. Stephen Knight
  3. Bridget Fox
  4. Shas Sheehan
  5. Jeremy Ambache
  6. Merlene Emerson
  7. Emily Davey
  8. Steve Bradley
  9. Marisha Ray
  10. Nick Russell
  11. Ajmal Masroor

Turnout was 55.6%.

Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington and London Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

The Liberal Democrats have a proud record on the London Assembly of holding the Mayor to account. Our Assembly members have led the fight for better value for money from City Hall, better transport services

Posted in London | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , and | 18 Comments

LDV survey: who Lib Dem members want to be the party’s candidate for Mayor of London

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum to discover what Lib Dem members think of the early race for the party presidency, the London mayoral selection, Trident, and the Labour leadership. Over 400 party members have responded, and we’re currently publishing the full results.

LDV asked: The following names have been suggested as possible contenders to take on Boris Johnson for the elected position of Mayor of London. Who would you like to see stand as the Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London?

  • 12% – Lembit Opik
  • 11% – Brian Paddick
  • 15% –

Posted in LDV Members poll | Also tagged , , , , and | 14 Comments

What Lib Dems are saying (or not) about Andy Coulson

The official Lib Dem line on Andy Coulson, David Cameron’s director of communications, could not have been clearer prior to the election: this Voice headline from July 2009 gives the flavour – Huhne on Coulson: “either complicit or incompetent”.

Yet the party leadership has been noticeably more reticent to comment on the most recent allegations, triggered by the New York Times’s typically thorough investigation.

(What does it say, by the way, about the quality of the British news media today that — with the honourable exception of The Guardian — it was left to a US newspaper to …

Posted in News | Also tagged , , , , , and | 33 Comments

Peddling myths over London’s bike hire scheme

In London one of the most exciting developments this year has been the long awaited launch of the bike hire scheme.

Despite its launch being associated with quite a number of problems – including a highly complex registration process, and a number of cyclists being overcharged – no one can deny that the scheme is proving incredibly popular.  And let’s be realistic, no major scheme ever starts without at least some minor teething problems. Of course I will be chasing hard until these glitches are resolved, and they certainly …

Posted in Local government and London | Also tagged , and | 10 Comments

Welcome news as London transport data opened up

As Wired reports:

Transport for London has announced that it’s lifting all restrictions on the commercial use of its data. The move could fuel an explosion in mobile apps that need access to the datasets, making them more attractive to developers who want to charge for their apps.

Currently, TfL offers up a selection of datasets, including live traffic cameras, Oyster card top-up locations, pier and station locations, cycle hire locations, and riverboat timetables. Some new data has been issued, including live tube travel info and departure boards, and the transport giant also plans to release further information on bus stops,

Posted in London and News | Also tagged | 9 Comments

London Assembly to review May 6 polling problems

The London Assembly has unanimously passed a motion calling for an investigation into how polling was conducted for the general and council elections in May.

From the BBC:

The review comes after hundreds of Londoners were unable to vote and left queuing as polling booths closed.

About 300 people were turned away in Lewisham and another 150 were unable to vote in Hackney. Long queues were also seen in Vauxhall and Brockley.

The review will look at the issues of overcrowding and as well as allegations of electoral fraud.

The review will be conducted by the Business Management and Administration Committee, …

Posted in London and News | 2 Comments

Caroline Pidgeon is new Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group

From a party news release:

Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport spokesperson, has become the new leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group.

She takes over from Mike Tuffrey, who has led the group since 2006.

Commenting on future plans for the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group Caroline Pidgeon said:

“The concerns of Londoners are the concerns of Liberal Democrats at City Hall.

“We recognise the vital importance of tackling crime and the fear of crime that affects every area in London. We will continue to be at the forefront of the campaign to protect police numbers and ensure that there …

Posted in London | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

LibLink: Mike Tuffrey – No accounting for Boris Johnson

Over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog, Lib Dem leader in the Greater London Assembly Mike Tuffrey argues that, though the mayor of London made many promises about changing the way the city is governed, nothing has materialised. Here’s an excerpt:

Alas, Johnson’s bold claims to change how London is governed have proved to be largely fanciful. The specific promise to introduce a cabinet system at city hall – an idea introduced by Livingstone, but afterwards abandoned by him – was quickly dropped, despite my constant probing. …

The mayor has also stopped holding regular press conferences at city hall,

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Cable: “Liberal Democrats committed to Crossrail”

Not exactly breaking news, but a reaffirming today of the Lib Dems’ backing for Crossrail, with a financial caveat:

Vince Cable has told the Evening Standard that the Liberal Democrats are backing Crossrail, the east-west railway now under construction in London:

The Liberal Democrats are fully committed to the Crossrail project and we certainly have no plans to scrap it.

However, as with all projects involving public sector money it is critical that Crossrail stays within its agreed budget.

Caroline Pidgeon, Chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee told Lib Dem Voice:

The Liberal Democrats have always been fully committed to

Posted in London and News | Also tagged , , and | 2 Comments

Daily View 2×2: 8 December 2009

A year ago today, Kirsty Williams was elected Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats – the first female leader of a political party in Wales.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Our fishy democracy
  • Duncan Stott’s worked out that in roughly 87% of seats, more people didn’t vote than voted for their MP. He proposes a visual way to remind “politicians to engage more with their constituents, and also the public to engage with politics.”

  • No trifling matter
  • Haringey Councillor Richard Wilson on patronising name-calling in the council chamber.

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

A long walk to victory
The Guardian’s Dave Hill on an issue which affects not only London pedestrians, but those living in any urban area:

Here are some useful facts. There are 2,244 signalled junctions in Greater London that include pedestrian crossing facilities, and 2,477 “stand alone” pedestrian crossings that have lights. Eleven percent of all signalled crossings lack either bleeping noises or tactile aids, which make them less safe for blind or partially sighted people. At the last count around 400 did not comply with the Department for Transport’s most recent design standards, which TfL adopts, though work on correcting this seems to have accelerated in recent months.

These stats have been unearthed thanks largely to the persistence of London Assembly Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon, who also chairs the assembly’s transport committee. She has remorselessly pursued the issue of road-crossing safety with TfL and Boris Johnson, and I’m grateful to one of her press office colleagues for bringing the fruits of her labours to my attention so comprehensively.

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London Underground: should lines be completely shut to speed up engineering work?

The London Underground is used by as many people each week as the total number of people who use the nation’s railway network. Caroline Pidgeon sets out why modernising the underground is so important and why new ways of undertaking the upgrades might now be necessary.

At London’s City Hall I’m leading an Assembly investigation into overcrowding on the Tube and what Mayor Boris Johnson can do about it. For many years now Tube passengers have been used to cramming themselves into crowded trains wedged against someone’s armpits. More recently stations like Victoria, King’s Cross, London Bridge and Holborn have had …

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

[email protected]: Caroline Pidgeon – Boris Johnson’s first year is no cause for celebration

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat Transport spokesperson on the London Assembly, writes in today’s Guardian on Boris Johnson’s first year as Mayor of London.

She says that although Johnson has promised much, he has failed to deliver on most of it:

On transport alone there has been a long list of broken promises.

Johnson pledged to establish a new express bus service that would orbit outer London. A year after being elected, not one orbital bus route has even been planned.

The mayor promised to convene an “emergency summit” of the train operating companies to tackle overcrowding and exorbitant fares. A year on,

Posted in LibLink and London | Also tagged , and | Leave a comment

London Assembly: Lib Dems teach Tories a lesson on value for money

There was a certain tension among the Tories yesterday at Mayor’s Question Time in London: In a change to the usual format, the London Assembly were considering the Mayor’s Draft Budget.

Naturally, value for money was being debated, and who better to champion it than Conservative Assembly Member Brian Coleman, he of the expensive taxi habit.

He was keen to question the Mayor on value for money – Boris seemed surprised that this was coming from Coleman’s direction, so inserted a little put-down later on – when it came to the discussion on how to encourage an increase in cycling, …

Posted in London | Also tagged and | Leave a comment

Bus prices go up – Transport for London runs posters saying they’ve gone down

A quiz question for you: back in September last year, Transport for London increased the price of a single bus ticket using an Oyster from 90p to £1. So what would you expect to see on posters on London buses during the last week?

(Pssst: the headline to this post may give you a clue.)

Yup, they are running a series of posters (spotted on more than one bus) saying Oyster single tickets have gone down in price:

Bus prices have gone up, but the posters say they've been cut

Posted in London | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Boris Johnson and Transport for London’s financial secrecy over Oyster

An interesting little question and answer from the London Assembly:

Q. What has been the cost to the taxpayer of TfL buying ownership of the Oyster brand? (Caroline Pidgeon)

A. Under the terms of the recent agreement between TfL, Electronic Data Systems and Cubic Transportation Systems TfL agreed to treat this information as being commercially confidential.

Certainly getting ownership of the Oyster brand could bring lots of benefits (though it raises the question of how it ended up in private hands in the first place and on what terms).

Spending 50p on it would be  a bargain. Spending £500 million would be a …

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Brian Coleman and his taxi bills

Conservative GLA member Brian Coleman has been in the news a bit today, criticising Lynne Featherstone for calling out the Fire Brigade when she feared that her boiler might be about to explode after it started making loud noises and shaking the house. Personally, that’s exactly what I’d do in the same circumstances, and indeed that’s what the Fire Brigade has said people should do.

But what really intrigues me about Brian Coleman’s attempt to score a political point (and he really should know better than rubbishing the Fire Brigade’s own advice, what with being chairman of the Fire Authority) is …

Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged and | 19 Comments

Boris Johnson says get elected to make your voice heard in City Hall

Mayor’s Question Time yesterday at London’s City Hall was interrupted twice, by protesters in five different parts of the public gallery.

They were calling on the Mayor to ensure a living wage for workers on the London Underground, particularly those employed as cleaners. I’d noticed the young woman sitting next to me, fiddling nervously with a piece of paper, but it was only when she stood up and shouted in Boris’s direction that I recognised her as one of the group who’d carried out a similar protest in July.

At first, the Mayor and Assembly Members looked on benignly as one …

Posted in London and News | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Election results: London and looking to the general election

London: you’ve probably seen the results by now I suspect (!), but if you’re after full vote share details for the London Assembly seats they are here whilst the London list results are here. Labour’s hold of Enfield and Haringey and gain of Brent and Harrow Assembly seats are striking results at a time of Labour defeats in so many other places. On the list, the election of a BNP member is the main piece of news. Overall, the Liberal Democrats lost two Assembly seats, with Mike Tuffrey, Dee Doocey and Caroline Pidgeon the three elected.

Looking to the general election, the

Posted in News | Also tagged | 21 Comments

What’s happened to the Conservative candidate for Lambeth & Southwark?

As discussed on Political Betting and UK Polling Report, the official list of candidates for the London Assembly appears to be missing Shirley Houghton, the expected Conservative candidate for Lambeth & Southwark.

Here in Liberal Democrat Voice Towers we don’t have a clue as to whether this is (a) a mistake in the official list, and she has actually been nominated successfully, or (b) an awful mistake by her and her team.

Speculate wildly at will (that is what the internet is for, isn’t it?).

If (b), this will be very good news for Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat candidate hoping

Posted in London | 4 Comments

GLA selection results (UPDATED)

Duncan Borrowman has the top 11 selected for the London Assembly list elections next year:

1 Mike Tuffrey
2 Dee Doocey
3 Caroline Pidgeon
4 Jeremy Ambache
5 Geoff Pope
6 Ben Abbotts
7 Stephen Knight
8 Shas Sheehan
9 Duncan Borrowman
10 Monica Whyte
11 Merlene Emerson

UPDATE: The summary and full results are now available.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 168 Comments

GLA candidates websites reviewed and rated

GLA site

Soon, members across London will select their candidates to run for election to the Greater London Assembly. Most of the selection campaign e-mails from candidates have included a link to a standalone selection website, which has been approved in advance for publication by the Returning Officer.

As a London-based member who will have a vote, but hasn’t yet decided whether to exercise it, let alone whom to excercise it for, I decided to put the candidate’s websites head to head. At the end of the post, in the interests of fairness, a full list of candidates appears. If I’ve missed off a candidate’s website, please let me know.

What criteria did you use to assess the sites?

Candidates scored big points for:

  • Having a manifesto that was easy to find and digest
  • A website that was well structured and easy to navigate
  • Meeting disabled accessibility and good coding standards (don’t worry if you don’t understand these tests in the review – failed is bad, passed is good).

Bonus points were received for e-campaigning wizardry such as blogs, online video etc. It’s important to note that candidates did not score points for having a website that was bigger than their rivals. In my estimation quality is more important than quantity – the goal of these sites is to win votes, not rival War & Peace.

The majority of sites were reviewed on 17 April. Ajmal Masroor and James Allie were reviewed on 21 April. By this point the selection campaign was well underway, and in my judgement, the sites should have been fully ready to be public. The sites are listed in descending order, the joint ‘winners’ first. Where two sites have a joint score, or no score, the sites are listed in alphabetical order by candidate surname.

Note: this review is a review of the candidate’s ability to put a website together. It’s up to you to decide how important that skill is when you come to cast your vote, so I wouldn’t obsess too much about ‘your candidate’ coming top or bottom of this review.

I’m a candidate, or I built a candidate’s website, and I think you’ve been unfair, what can I do?

I suggest you leave a comment underneath the post, and I’ll reply there too – so if your site is marked up or down for any reason, the rationale for doing so is immediately made public.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 38 Comments
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