Sunday, 9 May 2010

@mayoroflondon does something useful

Now, before we start, I don't see any reason at all why the Tube couldn't be privatised, and privatised properly. Not the usual corporatist Mongolian Clusterfuck that Tory and Labour "privatisation" gives us, but actual private companies competing to deliver services.

However, it's certainly easier to have an honestly centrally provided service, but the Tube has been mis-privatised in the very worst way. Hardly surprising, since that useless Scottish freak was the architect of it.

Enter Bojo:

Boris Johnson, I can reveal, has just collapsed the controversial PPP for the Underground, the public-private deal hatched by Gordon Brown with the able assistance of Baroness Vadera.

This radical move was set to occur two weeks ago but was barred by purdah. Only now, after polling day, can it go ahead.

In a nutshell, Boris is paying £310 million to buy out Tubelines, the umbrella group for Bechtel and Ferrovial that was charged with upgrading the Tube.

As a result, Transport for London will now directly control the works with no middle man and no punishing management fees. With TfL having an excellent debt rating, it also means lower debt repayments over the long term.

More importantly for passengers, it means that Tube line closures can be slashed to fit with TfL's wishes rather than the convenience of the private sector contractors. I'm told it will mean 84 closures for works will now be reduced to just 12.

With Metronet also collapsed, it means that Boris has done something that Red Ken never managed to do (but dearly wanted) - scrap one of the worst value PFI-style schemes in history.

Now, no matter what you think of BoJo or even of "state" provided services, this is a very good thing, not only for the reasons stated above, but also for the fact that it restores a much greater degree of honesty and openness to the costs.

It's ironic that BoJo's last intervention in the Tube (about boozing) pissed me off (even though I don't drink on the Tube and even though I hate drunkards on the Tube) -- whereas I regard this as a really big step in the right direction.

Boris has shown he can handle difficult situations and if he can improve the quality of Tube service and reduce costs in one step, it's not only a great deal for people who have to use the service, I reckon it's a big shot across the bows of the massively-foreheaded one.

Boris is starting to show, not just say, that he can do good things and that he's quite happy to upset the corporatist apple cart on occasion.

Good for you, Boris!


Mitch said...

Boris will be PM one day.....very soon.

John R said...

You wrote here that "Boris is starting to show, not just say, that he can do good things and that he's quite happy to upset the corporatist apple cart on occasion."

As you say he's not afraid to make waves. He's ruffled Tory feathers on more than one occasion and pisses off the lefties on a regular basis. So he's equal opportunity troublemaker. Given the low opinion the voters obviously have of all the parties this is not a bad place to start.

In your previous article you also said that "combining liberal social policies with conservative economic policies" would be a good way to go if either party was actually what it claimed to be.

Well maybe, just maybe, BoJo is the guy that you need to make the pick'n'mix party actually happen. He's held in a sort of affectionate light by many people who havent quite realised that he's a lot sharper than he lets himself appear to be. If he can position himself to the right of CallMeDave (not too hard) on finance and the economy but with enough centre-left social goodies for the LimpDims and some of the more sensible NuLieBore drones he could be onto something.

Certainly he couldnt do any worse than the current three failed parties.

Jill said...

This resolutely non-Tory completely agrees with this post.

Steve said...

And the reason Boris is good ? He does the job becauses he gives a damn about the people and wants to provide a service. It's not just about career and money for him.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Every now and then Boris is right. He is right on this one and has been for as long as Brown et al were wrong on it.

The cash cost of the Tube is not so important - of course it's good to keep costs down (and telling the PFI people to f*** off is a good start), but the wider economic cost of it not working properly is so huge as to make the cash cost almost irrelevant.

bayard said...

"Boris is paying £310 million to buy out Tubelines"

So what exactly have Tubelines done that they merit £310M of our money?

Obnoxio The Clown said...

@bayard: it's irrelevant whether they earned the money or not, they were contractually entitled to it. You can thank the nutter with the stutter for that.

Plus, what Mark Wadsworth said.

bayard said...

As I thought, the PFI has done what it was intended to do - put public money in private pockets in return for doing very little - nice work if you can get it.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

@bayard: it is the very acme of corporatism. Disgusting, isn't it? And all three major political parties think it's a good thing.

g1lgam3sh said...

I recently worked on some PFI projects in Edinburgh installing the datacoms infrastructure in 8 new schools. I can tell you that due to some utterly insane general design decisions we were lumbered with a few pterodactyl sized chickens will be coming home to roost.