Monday 21 May 2012

My Cycling Moment of the Week - 4

Boris Rides Again!

So BoJo has been voted back in as Mayor of London. That's quite a coup since the Conservative Party did pretty badly in most other parts of the country during the local elections. Also, the fact that many  who voted for Boris Johnson normally vote Labour goes to show that Boris got in because people like him, rather than because he's a Tory.

I saw him at a meeting last autumn in Sutton and he certainly seemed to be a hit with the folks in the packed theatre, even though that borough is Liberal Democrat.

Whether you like it or not, it has to be said that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson seems to know how to win people over. Where many Londoners dismiss the likes of George Osborne and David Cameron as out-of-touch toffs, people in the Capital of all classes and races warm to this posh Etonian with a blonde mop that hardly ever sees a comb!

Boris Johnson is always willing to have a go at activities and get down with the people, despite being quite clumsy and even pretty rubbish sometimes! Who could forget his feeble attempts at trying to shoot at basketball when visiting a youth centre, or when he ended up waist deep in a river while visiting an environmental centre. But people like the way that he keeps it real. Folks can identify with that.

As well as his Mayoral salary, his extra £250,000 for writing a newspaper column means that he is not short of a penny or two. He could be chauffered around London, but instead he chooses to ride a bicycle. He may be in a different socio-economic class, but riding a bicycle immediately puts him at a classless level and makes him closer to the ordinary man or woman in the street - literally! 

Having said that, many people are not impressed with his track record so far. He has not fully delivered his cycling plans and cyclists in London do not feel any safer than they did prior to 2008.  The blue hire bicycles work well, but the system is heavily subsidised by Barclays Bank. The Cycle Superhighways are nothing more than existing cycle paths that have been painted in Barclays blue! Even worse, we had a sharp increase in the number of cycling fatalities last year, including two people who were killed right on this special cycle lane at Bow Roundabout. But still, we voted him back in!

During this year's mayoral campaign, Boris pledged his commitment to the London Cycling Campaign's "Love London Go Dutch" initiative.

In case he has forgotten what he promised, Britsh Cycling and London Cycling Campaign (LCC) recently wrote to our re-elected Mayor. (Letter below).

Hopefully this will serve as a good aid-memoire whenever he goes to his offices at City Hall!

"Congratulations on your victory in the London Mayoral election - one in which cycling was a major issue as never before. We would like to wish you the very best in meeting the many challenges London faces over the next four years.
"Please allow us to also reiterate our immense appreciation for your public pre-election commitments to appoint a cycling commissioner, put a cycling representative on the London Roads Task Force, and meet the three key tests of LCC’s Love London, Go Dutch campaign. We also look forward to working with your Sentencing Unit to assist you in making representations to the Ministry of Justice to strengthen the criminal justice procedures and sentencing guidelines that deal with cyclist deaths and serious injuries.
"We stand ready to help in the delivery of these very important commitments and in particular would greatly welcome a meeting with you to discuss their implementation. We do hope you will be able to look positively on this request given your undoubtedly hectic schedule as you begin the next mayoralty."

On yer bike, Monsieur Sarkozy!

While Boris Johnson was cracking open the champagne, poor old Nicolas Sarkozy was drowning his sorrows after being voted out of his presidential seat. He is the first president, since Valery Giscard d'Estaing in 1981, to be voted out after just one term. Bear in mind too, that back in those days one term was 7 years. The French had enough of Sarkozy after just 5 years!
Ironically, the international community had really been rooting for him as it was believed that he had a more robust economic rescue plan in place for France and the wider European community compared with the woolly, unrealistic ideas of his socialist contender.
Unfortunately for Nicolas Sarkozy, no amount of bike riding and charm could win over the French public! Pas de Chance - Quel dommage pour vous, Monsieur Sarkozy! Au Revoir!

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