The election of Boris Johnson as London Mayor in May should be met with foreboding. This is not good for train operators or working people in and around London. Boris appears to be born not only with a silver spoon in his mouth (having been educated in Eton), but also a foot. We should not be taken in by the appearance of barmy Boris.
Boris is no friend of the trade union movement. One of his election campaign policies was to ban strikes on London Underground. The right to strike is a fundamental right that we can not allow to be taken away or sold. If this were to happen, the upper hand would be given to management. Nobody wants to strike, but the fact that we can means management can not just impose detrimental wages and conditions on us.
We have to remember that it was the Tories that set us on the route of these over-expensive Private Public Partnership (PPP) and Private Finance Imitative (PFI), and the Labour Party are now paying in electoral terms for not reversing these policies. The cost to us the taxpayer is higher, while big business gains huge profits. If they collapse like Metronet, we end up footing the bill. It’s worth remembering in Metronet’s case it cost us over £2 billion pounds.
Boris is also committed to dropping Ken Livingstone’s target of 50% of all new homes in London to be affordable and letting the market decide the price.
The coming years with a Tory Mayor are not going to be peaceful. Those old Tory policies of the 1980s and ’90s will be back on the agenda again. The Tories wanted to privatise London Underground wholesale.
Transport workers in particular need to be more politically aware of the consequences of the election of a Tory Mayor. He’s got them in his sights.
All of a sudden he’s discovered a funding crisis for London transport. The Crossrail project is to cost £16bn. As Londoners know full well, large chunks of the underground are closed at weekends and in the evenings for repair. Upgrading costs £1bn a year. The word is Boris is £5bn short. It’s the first sign he’s shaping up to put up fares, attack London transport workers. or both. He’s already cancelled the deal with Chavez where 1/4 million Londoners on benefits get free public transport.
Don’t let him get away with it.