In his BBC London interview Ken Livingstone said “When I was leader of the GLC I said to Mrs Thatcher we needed broadband linking every home and City in the country”. Wow, what a visionary.
Seeing as the GLC was abolished in 1986 and the technology behind Broadband wasn't live before 1990 and the term wasn't used until the early 2000s Livingstone should have left politics and got into the technology sector. With that kind of "well ahead of the market" thinking he could have made a fortune.
Or maybe he's just talking a load of rubbish again.
Under Ken Livingstone the London Development Agency (LDA) became the most toxic of toxic brands, it was mired in scandal, lacked a clear mission, was grossly inefficient and ineffective.
When, in 2008, Boris asked me to sit on the LDA board and help turn the organisation around my I put my head in my hands. Later this morning I will go to the last ever board meeting of the LDA as the final part of its integration into City Hall and I am pleased to say that the body which is joining the GLA is a transformed one.
I would like to take the credit for this but the truth is that the new board and Chairman, new Chief Executive with support from LDA staff at all levels have turned this sinking ship around (to mix my metaphors). The LDA that the GLA inherit was a leaner and more effective body, on a sound financial footing and with a record of successful delivery.
I am proud of the small part that I played in this and would like to that the staff at the LDA who endured, with good grace, a huge amount of change and my fellow board members who were willing to make some tough decisions in order to drive that improvement.
The details of the Olympic torch route have now been released and it will come through Bexley on the Sunday the 22nd of July and Bromley on the 23rd.
The timings and routes are as follows:
Starting at 16:49 Sunday 22nd
Manor Road, Erith- Left Turn
James Watt Way - Right Turn
Queens Road A206 - Left Turn
Bexley Road A220 - Right Turn
Erith Road A220 - Left Turn
Watling Street A207 - Right Turn
Bourne Road A223 - Left Turn
Gated entrance to Hall Place - Right Turn
Bourne Road A223
Gravel Hill A220 - left Turn
The Broadway - Right Turn
Arnsberg Way - left Turn
Geddes Place - Right Turn
Market Place - Left Turn
Crook Log A207 - Left Turn
Danson Road A221 - Right Turn
Danson Park Road - Left Turn
Evening Celebration - Danson House and Mansion
Starting 08:57 Monday 23rd
Bromley Hill A21
London Road A21
London Road A222
High Street A222
High Street pedestrianised area
High Street - Right Turn
Westmoreland Road B228 - Right Turn
Hayes Lane B251 - Right Turn
Wickham Road B230 - Left Turn
Manor Road A222
High Street A222
Beckenham Road A234
High Street A234
Crystal Palace Park Road A234 - Left Turn
Crystal Palace Park - Right Turn
Gravel track on site of old Crystal Palace
Steps of old Crystal Palace
National Stadium track
Steps of old Crystal Palace - Right Turn
Anerley Hill - Left Turn
On to Church road and the into London Borough of Croydon
So far Livingstone has failed to take up the invite, so we've done it for him. Here is an analysis of how many manifesto commitments Ken Livingstone delivered. Ken Livingstone Manifesto Audit
Just in case you don't have time to read through the whole document here are the top line figures, Livingstone delivered less than half of the manifesto commitments he made. The choice facing Londoners on the 3rd of May is between a Mayor who delivers what he promises and one that doesn't.
And that new bus incarnates our cost-cutting approach, because the entire project has been delivered for about £10 million – not much more than the annual fare evasion on the bendy buses.
You will hear my critics say that each of the first eight new buses therefore costs more than a million. This is cretinous. You might as well say that each of the first 10 new Minis cost £50 million, because the cost of developing the new Mini was about £500 million. Hundreds of those beautiful buses will be appearing on our streets, and thousands of London buses will be based on their design and technology.
Official figures show that Boris had six times more official engagements in London's boroughs that Ken Livingstone did over the same period.
In another spectacular example of shooting himself in the foot, Ken Livingstone has tried to criticise Boris for writing a weekly column on a Sunday afternoon. Livingstone claims that London deserves a full time Mayor, and he's right, which makes me ask what he did every Friday?
An analysis of the Mayor's published diaries shows that in his last four years Livingstone only visited the boroughs 86 times, in his four years Boris has made over 500 such visits.
And Boris has shown himself to be a Mayor for all London, not only seeing outer London more than Livingstone did, but also visiting Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lambeth, Newham and Hackney significantly more times too.
Clearly being Mayor isn't just about work rate but talking to London's boroughs is an essential part of the job and helps the Mayor really understand what London needs. This understanding has helped Boris successfully lobby central government for protection of Crossrail funding, extra money for policing, social housing and jobs.
Livingstone visited Venezuela more times than Hammersmith!
Today Boris, Seb Coe and I went to Ravensbourne School in Bromley to announce the numbers of Olympic and Paralympic tickets being made available to each London school. Ravensbourne will be getting 168 for students and 30 for the accompanying staff.
The students had a number of sporting events lined up for us to watch but, keen sportsmen to the last, Boris and Seb couldn't resist getting stuck in.
I was rather worried that Boris' famous tackling style would result in him, Seb or worst of all a student, getting injured. Luckily everyone came away unscathed, although Boris let in a goal, that most people's grandmothers could have saved.
A big thank you to the students and staff at the school.
This progress report is brutally honest about what we haven't been able to deliver as well as highlighting the successes over the last four years. It is well worth a read but if you're short of time the headline figures are that of the 108 pledges in the manifesto, 98 have been delivered, 5 are in the process of being delivered and 5 haven't been.
As the mayoral election draws near it is important not just to judge the candidates by what they say but by what they do. It is easy to make headline grabbing promises if you have no qualms about dropping them post election, the tougher job is to promise only what you genuinely believe you are able to deliver and then deliver those promises.
I wonder if Ken Livingstone has the guts to be this honest with Londoners?
Specifically and significantly when asked about how he intended to pay for his claimed fares cut, his flagship policy, Livingstone changed his tune. In January he was claiming that the £300 million a year needed to fund it was just sitting in TfL's bank doing nothing. Yesterday he said that in a budget as large as TfL's the money could easily be found.
I don't say this very often but Livingstone is right. £300 million a year could be found from TfL's spending, found by cutting things like the tube upgrade work, or the Crossrail link to Abbey Wood, or Safer Transport Teams, etc. The simple truth is that you can't cut the fares without cutting services and Livingstone knows it.
Tessa Jowell, the chairman of Ken Livingstone’s election campaign has admitted that outer London has been ignored by both Ken Livingstone and Labour. Talking to the Evening Standard she claims now, in the last months of the campaign they are finally turning their attention to Bexley and Bromley.
She cynically conceeded that this new found focus is purely for electoral advantage, “This is forensic campaigning focusing on areas where we have lost support.", she goes on to say "This is going to be a close election and everybody recognises that this could be a game-changer."
Livingstone had eight years as Mayor of London and four years sinse to pay some interest in Bexley or Bromley, he chose not to. But now that he hopes to harvest some votes he has changed his tune. Tessa Jowell lets the cat out of the bag by saying “We will be blitzing these boroughs, door knocking and talking to people. We’re contacting people who haven’t seen a Labour campaigner in those boroughs for 20 or 25 years.”
I am astonised that she says with pride that Labour have ignored the people of Bexley and Bromly for 20-25 years. Is it little wonder that at council, parliamentry, GLA and Mayoral elections the people of both boroughs reject Labour at the ballot box and vote Conservative?
"I do not blame them for trying to minimise their tax exposure. At least they are frank about what they are doing. They are not hypocrites, like some people, ahem, I could mention – no names, no pack drill – who foamingly denounce tax avoidance, and call for bankers to be hung, and who then turn out to have elaborate schemes to avoid paying the full whack of income tax on their earnings."