Monday, 11 April 2016

But The Blue Pill Remains Stubborn

Last week, I waxed lyrical about some of the cracking new cycling infrastructure being built in Central London, although I did point out how the rest the area is really like.

This week, I'm back on the ground with a bump (not literally thank goodness) as the pledges of some of the Mayoral candidates drip out. By that I mean that beyond the manifesto headlines we are being subjected to campaigns becoming increasingly personal and less about what they are actually going to do. As you know, my interest is in making our urban places more liveable and so far, I'm not at all impressed. 

I realise that policies are wider than transport alone, but transport touches pretty much everyone on a daily basis and so I think it is the most important issue for a city. Some candidates are doing really well on transport and some of the linked issues, such as the air quality emergency facing us, but others seem to be desparate to maintain business as usual by supporting big road schemes or pushing for anything other than walking, cycling and public transport. The Labour and Conservative candidates couldn't even make the Institution of Civil Engineers' infrastructure hustings

To be honest, I made up my mind about who to vote for as a first preference a very long time ago. My second preference is another matter as this has fluttered over the last few weeks (although I think I probably now know who it will be). As well as the Mayoral elections, we have elections to the Greater London Assembly which consists of constituency members (i.e. where you live) and list members which represent more of the vote of London (and more likely to be minority parties). Full details here

For me, the election is about local transport rather than the big ticket projects which politicians seem to flock to. In truth, it has always been about local projects for me as I probably have a vested interest in them for my day job! But it is about local journeys; the ones which people could walk or cycle which are the important ones. The election is about our children being able to travel independently, safely and without being subjected to the pollution and danger created by adults driving everywhere (at least in Outer London). So building bridges and tunnels over the Thames, providing free parking or allowing electric cars in bus lanes is bugger all use to them.

With this in mind, I will be casting my votes for the people I think are best placed to make change happen for my children. I am pragmatic, we will end up with a new mayor in any case and I think the hard work is yet to come as the game moves forward with campaigners, professionals and Londoners needing to hold whoever wins to account on their promises or try to push them towards making our city more liveable.

My main message for the candidates is that they need to listen to the children of London as their voice is simply being drowned out by the adults.

1 comment:

  1. The blue pill remains stubborn? Well, you're in luck. The Dutch are among the best educated and safest when having sex and relationships, and their rates of STDs are among the lowest in the world. You don't get criticized for being who you are, and parents give quality advice (of course parents in other countries do give good advice, not not nearly most of them).

    Back to the topic you mentioned. The Dutch have a lot more fair elections than the UK does. Say you had a general election and you had party A, B and C running somewhere, with a few fringe parties, and 15 seats needed to be filled. If party A got 50% of the votes and parties B and C got 20% each, with the small parties making up the rest, party A gets 8 seats, B and C get 3 seats each and whichever small party got at least something like 5%, they get the last seat. Better than our current system where 50% of the vote gives you pretty much 100% of the seats and political power.

    Something to ask of the mayoral candidates you back is whether they will change their opinion or position on something if something superior showed up? That is quite important to me. If we had philosopher kings, their goal would not to be right, but to find truth. This is the idea I am thinking of. Be willing to change your mind as well. If you hold onto your box of positions and are not willing to let anything change even if evidence shows that you are incorrect, then you will never have a functioning or mind that values the truth. I do this as best I can, I've changed opinions based on clear evidence to the contrary. I once believed those really quite scary ads about pot, now I see that we manage to lock up people for life over it's consumption, even if they quit later.

    Be careful about when a politician says "think of the children". They've said that before to when trans sex people were and are fighting for the right to use the lavatories of their choice. Plans must be discussed and vociferously scrutinized.

    Big ticket projects are unimportant for children? 9 year olds ride intercity trains in Japan. I still personally don't go out of my house after 11 PM at 15 (almost 16) years of age even though my parents never set a curfew, which shows how big of a culture difference there can be. And how can you take your kids out to a visit to Glasgow to hear their funny accents (I'm joking Scotland!) without a car in reasonable time these days? But of course, the main things are local improvements in relation to children.

    In relation to the election and my personal views, I am very scared of if UKIP gets any more popular. Same with the US and their version of Trumpizism. I'm hoping that a party that actually would be more sane would do better. David Hembrow would if he could vote in Dutch elections as a citizen, go for the party for animals. A quite useful party in my opinion.

    I was thinking about whether in the UK, a socialist party carries any negative connotations. This isn't a question about your personal decisions about that party, it was about culture in the UK. It certainly does in the US, but in most of Europe, a party like that wouldn't be associated with Lenin and Mao and Stalin.