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Thread: London - a City Expecting Changes ?

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    London - a City Expecting Changes ?

    Boris Johnson's London will be a Tory lab

    By Matthew d'Ancona (editor of The Spectator)

    Telegraph 04/05/2008


    As we looked over the multi-coloured "Back Boris" ice sculpture across the dazzling evening cityscape - what Peter Ackroyd has so rightly called "infinite London" - the full enormity of what was happening began to sink in.

    We friends of the Tory candidate had gathered on the 29th floor of Millbank Tower to celebrate Boris's achievement, win or lose. It was a win, that much was already clear. But it was so much more than a victory. It was a moment with a true claim upon posterity, a moment to savour and remember in detail.

    I linger on that majestic cityscape because in that early evening vista was to be discovered a most important truth: this election did not mark the transfer of a fief from one king to another, but the liberation of the city. eyes:

    The paradox of the Boris campaign - the overturning of the class caricature - was that he ran as a people's tribune, not as a royal pretender. Reviled by his opponents as a toff, the Etonian aspired to wrest the city from its Cockney monarch and restore it to its citizens.

    Boris was the John Wilkes of this contest, not the restorationist of an old Tory order. There is no such order to restore. It is long gone. The builders of the Cameron generation start from scratch (indeed, that is their fundamental insight).


    Some political quotations are overworked ("Events, dear boy, events", "A week is a long time in politics"), but Thursday's results really do merit the use of Jim Callaghan's famous remark in 1979 to his adviser Bernard Donoughue: "There are times, perhaps once every 30 years, when there is a sea-change in politics. It then does not matter what you say or what you do... there is now such a sea-change and it is for Mrs Thatcher."

    The sheer scale of Labour's trouncing was indeed remarkable. It takes a lot to get Gordon Brown to admit that something for which he is responsible is "disappointing", still less "bad". But even those words seemed woefully inadequate to describe the seething rebellion that had just swept the nation and was about to be capped by Boris's victory.

    Etched into the Prime Minister's grey features was the same old expression of hurt, perplexed irritation: why can't they all see that what I am doing is right? Don't they understand how lucky they are?

    Early in the New Labour era, Maurice Saatchi wrote a masterly article for the Daily Telegraph in which he identified Tony Blair's triumph as fundamentally linguistic.

    Blair, Saatchi said, had colonised vast swathes of verbal terrain that had once belonged to the Tories: good words like "aspiration", "hope" and "prosperity" had been snatched from under Conservative eyes, leaving John Major with the linguistic dregs.

    Eleven years after New Labour's first landslide, the power is at last draining from its language. When Mr Brown promises to "listen and lead", when ministers undertake to turn their attention to "bread and butter issues", when Labour strategists brief those of us in the Westminster village about the importance of "getting outside the Westminster village", you can sense that there is absolutely no traction left in their words.

    What, exactly, does Mr Brown mean by "long-term decisions"? He means, I suppose, measures which we hate now, but will learn to love. But to the ears of the electorate that phrase simply signals protracted pain: a PM with whom the voters are already bored, frustrated and angry declares that he intends to stay around for a long time yet, like a dinner party guest who refuses to leave and, instead of ordering a cab, goes to the fridge and opens yet another bottle of wine.

    Tony Blair acted as a human shield between the Labour Party and reality, ensuring they would win. Gordon Brown acts a human shield between the Labour Party and reality, giving them an excuse for losing.

    The Young Turks in the Cabinet console themselves that they are brilliant, and that the PM is rubbish. They are breezily confident that the alleged "progressive consensus" in which they believe remains incontrovertible, and that they themselves are right about everything. It is psychologically convenient for them to have Mr Brown to blame: if he did not exist they would have to invent him. Gordon saves them from confronting the much scarier truth that it is not just Brown that people are sick of, but Labour.

    Cameron got the message pitch perfect on Friday. "I don't want anyone to think we would deserve to win an election just on the back of a failing government," the Tory leader said. "I want us to really prove to people that we can make the changes that they want to see."

    That's exactly right. The general election must be more than a referendum on Labour.

    To borrow the analysis popularised in 1970 by Albert O Hirschman in Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, the voters need to be wooed away from a "voice" relationship with Labour, in which they complain furiously but stick with the Government, to an "exit" strategy, where they shift allegiance entirely.

    Mr Brown calculates that such an "exit" will be made much less likely once the Tories' policies are subject to serious scrutiny. But, as one Shadow Cabinet member put it to me: "Scrutiny means more attention, more publicity. Unless you don't believe in what you're offering, you should welcome that."

    More scrutiny and media coverage of their proposals is precisely what the Cameroons want. Of course such attention will be demanding and relentless. But anything which conspires to present the Tories as the Government-in-waiting is fine by Dave.

    Nor will this be an abstract process. In Boris's London, there will be a pilot project for Cameron's Britain, an exciting laboratory in which the nation can see whether the revived Tory Party is up to it.

    Of course, Labour will continue its smear campaign and present Boris as the mayoral face of a new "Fool Britannia". That strategy will backfire because, if London's new boss has proved one thing to the doubters above all else in his gruelling campaign against Ken, it is that he is no clown.

    Mr Brown's greatest intellectual error has always been to underestimate the Cameron Conservative Party. As he wakes this week in the heart of a city his party no longer controls, he may, perhaps, be having second thoughts about the opponents he has long dismissed to colleagues as "public school bullies".

    Embattled in Downing Street, the PM will wonder how he came to be a stranger in the nation's capital, how he lost touch with the people of this country. As so often in its history, infinite London has roared out an angry, insurgent truth.

    ====================

    However great the need to remove Labour -- will returning the Tories resolve the real problems face the Land ?? As always -- what alternative is there - really ?!! dreams are one thing - politics quite another.

    But there has been a shift .... and none too soon!! Hard to see how Clunking Brown can ever restore his credibility now, surely ?

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    From The Sunday Times
    May 4, 2008

    Boris Johnson tells Met (police) chief to cut crime – or else!!

    BRITAIN’S most senior police officer has been put on notice that he faces being axed unless he dramatically cuts crime......

    The warning was delivered at a meeting between Boris Johnson, the new London mayor, and Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner.

    In his acceptance speech yesterday, Johnson spoke of the “dreadful scourge” of knife crime and gang culture in the capital.....

    (( well - it isn't little old white ladies , is it!))

    The new mayor, who has made no secret of his concern at Blair’s performance, is ready to force a showdown with the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, over the Met commissioner’s position. He has told Tory colleagues that - he will demand that Smith fires Blair if significant progress is not made in cutting violent and petty crime.


    Johnson also warned his staff will use the first days of the new administration to expose any evidence of corruption linked to defeated Ken Livingstone’s regime..............

    He said: I imagine there are shredding machines quietly puffing and panting away in various parts of the building ...... Heaven knows what we shall uncover in the course of the next few days.”

    In his rambling debut speech, Johnson also signalled he would not tolerate officials who begrudged the Tory victory, saying: “If there are any dogs in the manger, then I will have those dogs humanely euthanased.........”


    ((............. he really is a scream !!!))


    Johnson met ( police chief) Blair for a private briefing yesterday, when the Met chief was warned he must deliver or quit. The new mayor has already signalled his desire to remove Blair, setting the scene for a battle of wills with Labour.

    He does not have the power to sack Blair, who is appointed by the home secretary. However, he is expected to assume the chairmanship of the Metropolitan Police Authority, which could hold a motion of no-confidence in the commissioner............

    A senior Johnson aide said: “If Blair does not have the confidence of the mayor, the position of the Met commissioner is in doubt. The problem with Ian Blair is that he is not a policeman’s policeman. He is more interested in getting all the boxes ticked, in meeting targets than actually fighting crime.”

    Tory MPs say Smith will have “no moral authority” to refuse to sack Blair. Mark Field, MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, said: “Ian Blair’s position may not technically be in Johnson’s hands, but he has a mandate from 1.2m people. Jacqui Smith will find it very difficult indeed to stand her ground if Johnson wants him out.”

    Speaking after he was sworn in, Johnson pledged to “lead the fightback” against crime. The ceremony at City Hall came just hours after another boy was found stabbed to death in south London — the latest victim of a wave of knife crime among young people in the capital.

    Johnson said: “I cannot help but remind you that another teenager — a 15-year-old — tragically lost his life to knife crime in this city and I do think that it’s time that we lead the fightback against this dreadful scourge.”

    Johnson won the mayoral contest with 1,168,738 first and second preference votes, compared with Livingstone’s 1,028,966 on a record turnout of 45%.

    ((.... no-one is really surprised . Such is the depth of feeling ....))


    During the campaign, Livingstone faced repeated allegations that taxpayers’ money was abused during his regime. His equality policy adviser, Lee Jasper, quit amid claims he channelled £100,000 to a project run by a women he bombarded with sexually charged e-mails.

    As Johnson prepared to take up office, a “lock down” was ordered at City Hall and the London Development Agency, amid fears that documents related to ongoing police investigations may be destroyed.

    Johnson is also preparing to make a swathe of redundancies to streamline the administration at the Greater London Authority. “It’s high time we had a city administration that concentrated on value for money, and we will deliver that,” he said.

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    Boris Johnson brings in the sleazebusters

    Telegraph 08/05/2008

    Boris Johnson vowed to root out corruption, cronyism and waste as he launched plans to "clean up" the way London is governed. The newly-elected mayor set up a "forensic audit group" of leading business people and public figures that he said would end mismanagement and deliver better value........

    The panel will be led by Patience Wheatcroft, the former Editor of The Sunday Telegraph who is a non-executive director of Barclays plc and Shaftesbury plc. The group will look into claims of financial mismanagement at the London Development Agency and the Greater London Authority.

    Mr Johnson said: "I am delighted to have recruited some of the most capable and experienced people in the capital to scrutinise recent performance at the LDA and GLA and suggest ways to prevent mismanagement and waste."

    He said the review of the LDA would focus on allegations of mismanagement and corruption in the awarding of grants, how conflicts of interest are detected and recorded, and the monitoring of those who receive grants to make sure they deliver what they promised.

    Examination of the GLA would look at spending on publicity and advertising, the use of external consultants and agency staff and all areas where expenditure has grown since 2004.

    The review will suggest areas where savings can be made without compromising performance, submitting a progress report to the mayor within 30 days and a final report within 60 days.

    Mr Johnson, whose policies are being closely monitored by Tory headquarters as potential models for a Conservative government, said the audit group would be "fearless and dogged in pursuit of the truth about recent practices at the LDA".

    Miss Wheatcroft said: "It is crucial to understand how public money has been wasted or misspent in the past so that we can make sure that it doesn't happen again."

    Other members of the panel include Stephen Greenhalgh, leader of Hammersmith and Fulham council; Patrick Frederick, chief executive of Aimex International; Edward Lister, leader of Wandsworth council, and Andrew Gordon, a senior executive at the financial firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, who will act as independent expert adviser.

    Ken Livingstone's bid for a third mayoral term was dogged by allegations of corruption and cronyism. His senior race adviser, Lee Jasper, faced allegations that he used his position to fund projects with which he had a personal connection.
    Mr Livingstone, who denied the claims, was accused of showing "total disregard" for the way public money was spent.

    --------------------------------

    So. A Conservative reaction against massive former 'socialistic' expenditure - especially on doubtful topics of interest. None too soon in the eyes of countless taxpayers!!!

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