Using Corona virus as excuse

Today Tfl announced station closures over Corona Virus. Redbridge is listed as one of the stations, despite Redbridge having one of the lowest numbers of confirmed cases at only 4 at date of publication.

Were bendy buses good for London?

Having read that Birmingham wants to stop through-traffic for their city centre, I thought that the articulated buses the former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone invented were probably just about right to do that job.

Yes those buses slowed down traffic but as it happens, that is what we now need. The route-masters, replacing the bendy buses has turned out to be a romantic notion for better travel.

The original route masters had only a back jump on and off platform and then Boris Johnson used that concept for buses with three entries and without bus conductor, which of course was shamelessly exploited by many.

The idea now is to only allow entry at the front on a bus with 3 entry and exit doors.

Is that going to work? I think not. I regularly see people get into the buses at the back entrance without paying, even on routes, that already introduced the front entrace scheme only.

On this morning’s program the BBC was very busy to promote Boris Johnson and let him lull us with his sincere and relaxed sounding bariton voice into thinking that it will all be alright.

With now the third airline, Flybe, serving the UK in trouble again, I fear that Britain’s commuters have problems, which will not be mended with the consistent refusal of our Conservative government to nationalise transport.

Does it really help that we keep on getting entrepreneurial firms coming up with new, expensive solutions, rather than putting a great national structura into play that actually works?






Keeping level-headed

81345182-1905041525+-+London+Regional+Summer+Championships+2019I was helping para-swimmers during the London Regional Swim England Para Championships at the London Aquatics Centre yesterday.

Whilst I had planned to watch the TV debate about the forthcoming Brexit date and had an invite to attend the huge demo in central London, I had completely forgotten that I had signed up to help out with the swimming event.

That is what’s really important that we keep services for people going and not disrupt everything like Extinction Rebellion obviously think is the right way to go about things.

Whatever somebody wants to achieve, the main objective always needs to be that whilst there is a long-term goal, we always need to be able to let those on the ground to get about their daily business.

Thankfully we have great laws and good rules in place, which prevent from crash-outs and catastrophic failures of our services.

Making sure there are food supplies, people can stay save, health care, education and communications stay in tact, are just a few of the things, which do not seem important but they really, really are.

Protest as a fashion accessory

Just as I didn’t know what to watch after Wallace and Gromit, I switched to the remainder of the Liberal hustings to hear the end of the discussion. It went like this:

Question: “Do you think we should curb internal flights?”

[Answer: “I don’t think that is feasible at the moment, we need to invest in transport infrastructure. But I went to protest with my  5-year old with Extinction Rebellion over the weekend”]

Policitians who make decisions about this climate emergency have no fear of delaying immediate action to stop environmentally unfriendly behaviour and most likely commute a lot by car and plane but do go to Extinction Rebellion demos, block traffic for others, to have a bit of fun on the weekend.

So I do not bother going to those demos to say there is a climate emergency. I rather live environmentally friendly, it is not a weekend fashion for me, it is important.

What really should be done by our politicians, they should immediately make the money available to build the infrastructure and not think of investing in the future at some point in the future.

Climate change is happening now, a dangerous heatwave is hitting the US, lakes are drying out, we need to change now.

We won’t find any entrepreneurs putting money into saving the environment, it has to come from governments spending money on saving the environment everywhere.

fast movers

red bus on road near big ben in london

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

The urban myth that you need a car in London to get around, is really a myth. Scientific examination of transport has proven the following:

The following numbers came up or moving people around town:

  • 22.000 people using trains
  • 19.000 people walking
  • 14.000 people cycling
  • 9.000 people using buses
  • 2.000 people using private cares.

Read about all the details on New Scientist from where I gotten those numbers.

I had a dad who worked just down the road and needed to take his car to drive there. So that car dependence is just a little bit of an addiction.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan will let us have a car-free day on 22. September 2019. I love the idea, better than the whinging Boris Johnson always did talk about needing large family saloons all the time.

Apparently Talk London is consulting on having car-free days once a month. Bring it on.

London Transport is amazing, with Central Line trains running every minute.



Pleasing tax-payer politics

The motion to reduce petrol prices is a typical voter-friendly political strategy. Of course people are fed up having to pay those high petrol prices because they need the car to get to work and do the shopping. But it is the lifestyle that is forced upon them by the way our society is set up. Our society is not set up to be friendly to the environment and avoid use of fossil fuel, it is set up to use lots of fossil fuel and as much as possible and to use cars to burn it.

Society could be organised differently in that we are employed locally or business is not concentrated in out–of-town shopping centres, but that is just not the way it is. There is going to be a clash because we are already not complying to the EU clean air and environmental goals and might have to pay heavy fines for busting our allocated limits on pollution whilst at the same time the car drivers want cheaper petrol prices. It is not possible to achieve both because cars still burn fossil fuels and industry is not fast enough churning out different models of cars. Even if they were, people would not have the ready cash to buy them quickly anyhow.

Shows that we are slow and hard to change quickly with changing demands. The way our society is set up, is so rickety, that it takes over 100 years to make a structural change, that is not long enough to please the current environmental requirements. Industry still beliefs it is best to use as much fossil fuel as possible and to rely on it to make a quick buck. Yet the long-term damage that the sucking up of fossil fuels causes to the planet have not yet even come out, they create lots of cavity and that creates lots of earthquakes.

UK in breach of EU pollution rules since 2005

It of course does put the accusation of the Greens, during the last mayoral elections, in which they accused Boris of not caring for families, into a realistic context. Reading that the UK does not care about pollution levels, which causes a big health issue, hurts. I quote from the article “There are no air quality actions for Defra or the Department for Transport in their departmental business plans,”  and few government departments “appear to understand the importance of the issue”.

What is happening is that a few cycle lanes have been built, which are dangerous and already cost lives because recently 2 cyclists got killed within a week on those so-called safe cycling lanes in Bow.

The whole traffic infra-structure is not changing at all. The roads are made for cars and the congestion is still the same. I would not want to walk or jog near a busy road in London, which is chock-a-block with cars and lorries at most hours of the day.

The rule that parents should walk their kids to school is not enforced at all. Parents are allowed to park illegally outside of schools to drop off their children. Just in my locality cars are parked illegally every time there is a big event in York Hall. Traffic wardens could make a fortune for the borough if they towed away and ticketed all the illegally parked cars and so discourage them from coming on roads to the venue, but they don’t because if they come by car they come to York Hall.

There is no effort to effectively reduce car traffic in London at all.

It would be much better if traffic would change by reducing the amount of road space for cars and increasing cycle lanes to make them wider, therefore squeezing out car traffic because there is no proper indication that environmentally friendly cars are to be sold en mass.

Of course changing the road traffic structure would cost major investment and that is money the government doesn’t want to spend as cycling traffic doesn’t make much money and politicians do want their wages from tax payers. Politicians are the most selfish breed of employee I know.

How safe is London Transport?

We heard a lot about how unruly kids can be on buses or generally on their way from or to school If children on public transport, mainly buses was equipped with police officers or community safety enforcement personnel.

Looking at the transport situation out of school hours and getting into the personal travel sphere things do not look so good for vulnerable passengers on London transport vehicles. The Underground is at best a tin of sardines in busy times and can also be an oven, turning you into a cooked sardine in a tin, by the time you arrive at your destination.

And with children or disabled and even the elderly travelling on the underground can be frightening and there should be special provision for people travelling with small children. For example children cannot stand in the middle of isles of trains  and certainly passengers are not always willing to give up a seat for a child, so that it cannot fall. It is not separatist to make a car / compartment available for travelling families or children so that they can travel in adequate circumstances and not be exposed to drunk or impatient or badly behaved fellow passengers, which can make travelling with a child a frightening experience.

I can also very well imagine that it must be a nightmare for disabled travellers to get into a train compartment and cannot understand why there is not a specially dedicated compartment for wheel chair users on London underground.

If anything then children are most likely to learn a careless attitude if they have to wedged into a train compartment full of ignorant fellow travellers. If children are treated with respect,  they will learn to respect others when they get older.  If children get acquainted to the elbow attitude whilst young, they will elbow themselves to get a space on a train at a later stage in their lives.

Pro-lib plaid SNP

Having just read that Alex Salmond calls for a progressive Alliance between Labour, the SNP and Plaid Cymru, shows me that I completely misunderstood the political situation here in the UK. But insofar as Wales is concerned my feeling was right as the Conservatives made significant gains in Wales.

On 5 March 2010, the SNP has expressed anger at Labour plans to slash funding by over 50 per cent the ‘Access for All’ Small Schemes Fund, which is used to improve access to the railway network for disabled people, and has echoed calls by Scottish Government Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson for the planned cut to be suspended.

Mr Salmond was very disappointed when his support slumped to 17 points behind Labour and Mr Salmond’s dream of increasing the number of SNP MPs from seven to 20 and using them to make Westminster “hang from a Scottish rope”, fell apart.

In April Labour rejected a call for fair fuel prices to allow lower fuel duty in rural areas. The SNP does not agree with Labour’s DNA database policies.  Only a short while ago on 8 May 2010 Labour was slammed by the SNP by failing to release £350 million funding for housing.

and yet, the SNP want to go into coalition with the Liberals and Labour against the Conservatives and in fact the SNP went into coalition against David Cameron with Labour in Scotland only very recently.

It must be a deep-rooted historic hate that David Cameron has inherited here because as an unhibited onlooker, I would bet my house on it that the SNP and the Conservatives have naturally more in common than the SNP and Labour ever had. One can even sympathise with Labour’s view that Mr Salmond wants to make himself look more relevant.  But that even such a cynical attitude towards the SNP exists from Labour would not make me think one moment that the SNP would even remotely consider an alliance with Labour, I thought they would be tempted to go in with the Conservatives instead(if they would have them of course).

If I was David Cameron I would take a deep breath and not sell myself short in a panic. After all there are still the 19 independent seats and one more or less safe Conservative seat is still to come on the 27 May 2010. Even if the Liberals go in with Labour and make a slight majority, neither of them would want to be seen as being a hindrance to the UK’s progress, by systematically stalling on necessary policies, that would bring the electorate against them. I think that David Cameron can pretty much count on that scenario would it arise.

It’s all about nationalist interests at the moment in this hectic alliance between Plaid Cymru and the SNP. But have all those seriously considered how they salvage their local economies if they tear away from the Conservative business proposals and try to go it alone? It is not just national / regional pride that is at stake here and David Cameron has pointed out that it is all about the nation and not just certain regions. As far as I can understand from the little historic knowledge I have is that certain regions of the UK felt repressed from the English, but is it now the right time to play that card when the UK stares into the ugly face of recession and a huge deficit? I am a little disappointed that The Guardian jumps straight onto the dissident bandwagon.

At the moment I do not know how those 19 independents are composed but shall comment further when I do.

Extra-curricular schools provision

When my own children grew up the after-school-play centre was free of charge and heavily used by children. Each and every school had a play centre and provided completely subsidised, that was around 25 years ago. Then we had mostly Conservative governments.

Since we had a Labour government that constantly argues for better schooling, we’ve seen the cost of play centre provision rise steadily. For the last 3 years we paid £5 per term for benefits recipients for the ability to send a child to play centre after school and parents still had to pay 20p tuck money per day. And now that cost for play centre has risen to £20 per term without any warning. That is a 150% rise in cost. Obviously we  are told that this is in line with other boroughs but whom do we really have to thank this policy, its the current Labour government that doesn’t allow those subsidies to happen because of the policies, that do  not fund councils as generously as we seen it under Conservative government. A working parent has to pay £5 per day to keep their kid supervised. Considering all other prices rise steadily as well, I find it kind of a little bit unaffordable to work nowadays unless one is in the higher income league. Especially also as the fares constantly go up too.

I heard that other parents also refuse to pay the higher play centre costs and feel sorry for the play centre staff who might get threatened with redundancy over the decision to cut play centre subsidies, whilst no plans are made to cut the cost of East End Life or the wages of local councillors.

Play centres may well be able to earn their costs in an area where most parents are waged, yet in our area, that is still poverty stricken, we’ll see a reduction in after-school services. Holiday play centres have already been cut to 2 in the whole of Tower Hamlets. That is also a change to a free play centre per school 25 years ago.

It now explains why the Council built a controversial playground behind one of our housing blocks and then makes such drastic rises in the cost of in-school play centre provision, as if this new playground shall make up for the loss of supervised playing time.

Considering that Tower Hamlets Council also cut youth provision by 5% and we recently had a spade of murders of young persons, I do not believe that this Labour government and Labour council take the future of our children seriously. A well run play facility will help with the social cohesion of children and cultural integration but the less of that provision is available the less that social cohesion is going to happen.

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