The calibre of debate between Khan and Hall is why Londoners need to turn politics on its head, says Brian Rose

The calibre of debate between Khan and Hall is why Londoners need to turn politics on its head, says Brian Rose

Claire Coutinho shifts blame for Met policing onto Sadiq Khan

GB News
Brian  Rose

By Brian Rose

Published: 23/04/2024

- 13:01

A week, as former PM Harold Wilson famously said, is a long time in politics.

But he could have added that a year is never enough. And, in the case of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, even eight long years is too little.

Because, as the clock ticks by and the pages of City Hall desk calendars flip from one lacklustre year to the next, what is actually changing?

The answer, of course, is precious little. One need only look at Khan’s manifesto for the upcoming 2024 Mayoral race to see that.

Brian Rose, Sadiq Khan, Susan Hall

Brian Rose has slammed the quality of debate between Sadiq Khan and Susan Hall

Brian Rose/PA

Let’s start with housing, where Khan has promised to set up a City Hall-owned housing developer if he is re-elected, to kick-start building of desperately-needed homes across the city.

Well, he promised to pilot such a scheme back in 2021 and, guess what, nothing has changed. Hundreds of acres of potential plots remain devoid of development and London’s housing crisis remains an appalling brake on city growth.

Truth be told, even those 2021 promises lacked ambition – in my manifesto, I pledge not only to create a development company to turbocharge the construction of affordable housing on TfL-owned land, but to build 50,000 affordable modular homes by Christmas.

Not Christmas next year, not Christmas 2030, but by Christmas this year. With genuine political ambition, working with the right partners, addressing a vital need, change should start happening immediately a new Mayor is elected. With Khan, we know this will not be the case.

Perhaps Khan has a better record on transport?

In 2021 he pledged he would ensure public transport is ‘safe, affordable and reliable, keeping fares as low as possible…’.

Where to start? With the knife crime making headlines on our ‘safe’ transport?


Brian Rose

Brian Rose believes Londoners need to turn politics on its head

Brian Rose

Or the lies in his current election leaflets about freezing all TfL fares, when the truth is that about 40 per cent of journeys are costlier and a million older Londoners still can’t use their travel cards before 9am?

Don’t think you’ll escape the travel horrors by grabbing a bus – average bus speeds have never been slower, thanks in part to Khan’s ill-planned Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and other anti-car measures creating congestion ever more regularly. As a bonus cock-up, bus operators may have to pay penalties when traffic jams make their services late.

The Hammersmith Bridge remains the most visible sign of Khan’s inability to make a difference to transport challenges, while his new Silvertown Tunnel will see motorists charged for having the temerity to cross the Thames – as will those using the Blackwall Tunnel, to help pay for Silvertown.

In 2021 Khan promised to ‘put TfL on a sound, sustainable financial footing’ … well, TfL debt is rising by £250million every year, and is expected to reach £17billion by 2026/27. Another promise broken.

He also promised to push for the Bakerloo Line extension, Crossrail 2 and a DLR Thamesmead extension. Didn’t push very hard, did he?

In the meantime, with our city’s transport system creaking at the seams – the Central Line is at crisis point, for example – Khan and his fourth-rate Tory opponent have spent their time trading barbs about whether the Mayor has plans for a pay-per-mile scheme to add to the mess that is London travel.

Apparently devoid of any self-awareness, Susan Hall accused Khan of ‘spinning so hard we could wire him up to a generator and power half the city’. Across London, irony meters blew up as Hall managed to wage war on spin while simultaneously spinning like a dervish herself. Yes, I am aware there is a hint of spin to this paragraph, don’t @ me…

Brian Rose

Brian Rose said he intends to run TfL as a business, not a charity

Brian Rose

That this is the calibre of debate over such a crucial issue is evidence aplenty of why Londoners need to turn politics on its head if they hope to see real change in the capital.

For my part, I intend to run TfL as a business, not a charity. We must create a new public-private partnership to free TfL from its financial shackles, and give it the resources to bring our transport network up to 21st-century standards.

We must put TfL’s huge resources, including land, to smarter use, and quickly.

And we must stop pretending that ill thought through schemes such as ULEZ are anything other than a desperate money-grab by a desperate Mayor who has failed repeatedly to deliver on his pledges.

Eight years of Khan and his broken promises followed eight years of madness with Boris Johnson (remember him, the buffoon who squandered £53.5million of your money on the fantasy of a Garden Bridge?) – the thing about career politicians from big parties is that career and party inevitably come before London and Londoners.

The spin, the hubris, the broken promises, they are all part of the deal when you elect a Khan or a Johnson, or a Hall for that matter. London becomes nothing more than a modest pawn in a far bigger game.

That’s why it’s so important that, come May 2, you use your vote to turn politics on its head. Vote for me and send a signal that Londoners want a leader who is ambitious, understands the world outside of politics and, most importantly, can deliver on their promises – and it won’t take eight years.

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