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London Mayoral Election

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Neotenic
901357.  Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:54 am Reply with quote

OK, for a bit of light relief and a step away from the Boris-and-Ken show, I've just had a quick look at the UKIP manifesto.

In fact, it's impossible to have anything other than a quick look at it, because it includes just a single page of bullet points, clearly written to speak to those Londoners that like to sit shaking with rage over their cornflakes with a copy of either the Mail or the Express.

Despite the brevity, there's plenty to smile about - a citizens arrest scheme that includes weapons offences sounds like a good way for angry pensioners to get riddled with stab wounds. Reducing VAT on booze and giving pub landlords discretion to allow smoking are things entirely outside the capabilities of any Mayor.

But, most splendidly, the first of two points under arts and culture is 'stop spending money on public sculpture whilst pensioners can't afford heating'. But the second is 'charge all overseas visitors a 25p levy to restore Big Ben. Why not charge the levy for heating the homes of pensioners? And, indeed, where or how would one collect that levy? A ticket barrier at Heathrow, maybe?

 
dr.bob
901414.  Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:57 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
the only reason there is a conflict is because Ken's team effectively invented a number by subtracting one sum from another that should never have been in the same equation, and then presented this as being an 'operational surplus shown in their published accounts'.


Politicians massaging figures? Good lord, whatever next!!

Well, I'm glad that Boris' camp would stoop so low.

Oh, apart from claiming a council tax saving based on what the Tories thought Ken might have done had he won the last election. Talk about inventing numbers.

 
CB27
901503.  Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:23 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Question for you CB.

If it is ok to use the government grant to finance an election promise of cutting fares, where does the money come from when the work the grant was for needs doing?

I'm thinking that pretty soon they will have worked out a way to repair the Hammersmith flyover, and that will cost millions. Along with all of the oher bridges/flyovers that are of a similar construction that don't seem to be as robust as first thought. And projects like crossrail that will no doubt cost twice as much as planned - because that is what happens with public projects.

That's part of why I'm not in agreement with the complete argument presented by Ken's team, I think it was on par with Osborne's Budget calculations :)

Looking at the numbers they used I can't help wondering why they didn't just point out the income that came above projected income, as that would have been enough. I can't help thinking that in an attempt to show that there's plenty more in order to portray Boris as incompetent, they overstretched themselves. My point is not to defend their claim completely, simply to point out that their argument is one used in accountancy all the time when organisations are looking to reduce taxes or improve margings for investment opportunities, so it's not a clear cut case as neo claims. I also think that linking the argument over the surplus numbers to whether or not fare reductions will take place is also wrong because there are two pledges in place; one is to reduce the fares, the other is that this reduction will not decrease investment. I can't see Ken going back on the first after all the hype, but if his figures are wrong then the second pledge might be broken, and though I prefer to see plenty of investment in public transport, I doubt the public will notice a few millions cut.

 
Neotenic
901531.  Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:43 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
My point is not to defend their claim completely, simply to point out that their argument is one used in accountancy all the time when organisations are looking to reduce taxes or improve margings for investment opportunities, so it's not a clear cut case as neo claims.


If it is used, the calculation behind the surplus is certainly nothing like what they have presented.

And businesses/organisation most definitely would not use such a ridiculous concoction to claim they have made 'massive profits'.

That's the bit that's really got me going - if they'd just left the clumsy accountant-speak as a justification for the cut, then that would almost be forgivable, but to crowbar it into an attack on his opponent - and the tube network itself - in this context, is palpably absurd.

All of this makes a particular line in Miniband's email to supporters rather amusing;

Quote:
They’re petrified they are going to lose and they’ve resorted to smears and lies


Honestly.

I think the only people that can deploy a line like that are those that are running an entirely positive campaign. And it's pretty clear that nobody is.

I suppose the thing here is that a bad result for the Tories in the local elections can be, to a large extent, written off as a cost of doing business - sitting governments rarely do well in interim elections.

But could a poor result for Labour result in changes at the top? I can't help but think that if I was a Labour voter at heart, that's what I would want. And, it seems, so do other Labour supporters - Phillip Collins wrote quite an eye-opening column in the Times today (and it's such a shame the internet version is hidden behind a paywall) saying that it was Labour that were really 'the nasty party', particularly in the way they deal with internal conflict, and I guess he's in a position to know.

FWIW, I've also been ploughing my way through the first volume of Alistair Campbell's diaries, and the internal warfare evident even before they all moved into no 10 is breathtaking.

It's also quite pleasing to note that 'better off with Labour' was a slogan back in 1996, so it's good to see that Ken is coming up with some nice, fresh ideas.

 
CB27
901552.  Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:34 pm Reply with quote

Strange how it's one thing for Labour and another for Conservatives, very much not tribal :)

Labour politicians are the only ones that aren't running a positive campaign while at the same time and then claiming others are resorting to smears and lies...

Losing a mayoral election means nothing to the Tories, but a loss for Labour is catastrophic and must lead to changes...

Labour politicians are the only ones that have conflicts among themselves...

Labour is the only party who will use old slogans they think are still good...

 
Neotenic
901564.  Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:01 pm Reply with quote

When did I say they were the only ones?

 
brunel
901566.  Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:29 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Question for you CB.

If it is ok to use the government grant to finance an election promise of cutting fares, where does the money come from when the work the grant was for needs doing?

I'm thinking that pretty soon they will have worked out a way to repair the Hammersmith flyover, and that will cost millions. Along with all of the oher bridges/flyovers that are of a similar construction that don't seem to be as robust as first thought. And projects like crossrail that will no doubt cost twice as much as planned - because that is what happens with public projects.

You're rather late on that front - they have already worked out a method for stabilising the Hammersmith flyover, with the initial reconstruction work under way.
Besides, for an experimental design (this was a very early prestressed concrete bridge) that has been relatively poorly maintained over the years, the fact that the bridge has remained in service and operational for more than 50 years with no real problems until now is quite remarkable.

 
barbados
901755.  Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:19 pm Reply with quote

Oh that's alright then, all this money set aside for infrastructure work can be used to reduce the fares.

Incidentally Ken still needs to learn how to do his sums.
if you reduce a £1.35 fare by 7% (as promised) the fare will be £1.26 not £1.20 as suggested. And his claim that Boris has increased bus fares by 50% in the four years since his election - again that isn't stricly true is it? 4 years ago the fare was £1, it's now £1.35 - that is a 35% increase by my calculations unless of course, you know better...................

 
dr.bob
902021.  Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:50 am Reply with quote

Neotenic wrote:
Phillip Collins wrote quite an eye-opening column in the Times today (and it's such a shame the internet version is hidden behind a paywall) saying that it was Labour that were really 'the nasty party', particularly in the way they deal with internal conflict, and I guess he's in a position to know.


There's always a slight problem with those kinds of pieces: anyone who's in a position to know the truth about a party is almost certainly going to have some kind of axe to grind. And anyone truly impartial is probably so far removed from the goings on that they don't have a full understanding of how things work.

Mind you, I'd be frankly amazed if any political party, either here or abroad, solved their internal conflicts by inviting everyone to sit 'round with a nice cup of herbal tea and reach a mutually acceptable compromise.

Personally, I couldn't really care less how horrible politicians are to other politicians, as long as they treat the people who voted for them well.

 
exnihilo
902029.  Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:52 am Reply with quote

And the people who didn't vote for them, surely?

 
dr.bob
902039.  Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:47 am Reply with quote

Nah, they get classified as the them-who-are-not-us

 
Neotenic
902945.  Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:31 am Reply with quote

Alan Sugar has apparently urged his Twitter followers not to vote for Ken.

There is speculation in that article that he may have broken party rules, and wondering whether or not he may be disciplined.

I don't know about you, but I would pay good money to watch Miniband try to give Sugar a dressing down. It would be like Hugh Grant asking Ray Winstone to step outside.

 
'yorz
902957.  Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:49 am Reply with quote

Not 'good' money, but a fiver nevertheless.

 
djgordy
903122.  Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:31 am Reply with quote

One might be excused for thinking that it Sugar didn't want people for vote for Livingstone, he would have been better to endorse him. I mean, seriously, would anyone who has ever seen the kind of tosspots that Sugar considers employing on "The Apprentice" ever trust his judgement as to who would make the best mayor?

 
CB27
903131.  Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:25 am Reply with quote

Just had a brilliant moment of fun. Two guys knocked on the door minutes after I came back from hospital with fresh puncture wounds (took the nurses 6 attempts to get blood!!!), and I saw their badges showing they were BNP*.

When they asked if I would consider voting for the BNP candidate I asked what his name was, and the guy had to look down at his leaflet and read out the name (with a bit of difficulty and stumbling over his surname). I then decided to mess with them and said "That sounds like a Chinese name to me", which it obviously doesn't, and the guy looked a bit confused and said "I'm not sure, it's not English." DOH!

* Considering they have never got any votes around here for any type of elections, I never understood why they campaign so heavily here compared to other areas.

 

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