Thursday, January 22, 2009

Boris has failed Ealing

The decision letter signed by Boris yesterday has just winged its way into by inbox. Despite massive local objections, he has failed to use his powers to direct refusal of the Arcadia development.

I can't say I'm surprised. As I said at the Save Ealing Centre meeting on Tuesday,"The efforts to lobby the Mayor to say 'no' are worthwhile, but I am afraid that my faith in the likelihood of him interceding is limited. We can't just leave it to Boris!"

But I am disappointed. Earlier this week the Mayor flexed his planning muscles by refusing a central London scheme on the grounds that the developers didn't make a contribution to Crossrail. Why couldn't he have used those same powers to save Ealing from the utterly inappropriate development by Glenkerrin which is right across the road from Ealing Broadway station, which will be a Crossrail station?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Riding on the ghost bus...

I've been riding on the ghost bus today. It was rather a pleasant journey, meandering through the backroads of west and south London accompanied by friends, fellow Lib Dems, public transport exports and the world's press. The clerk in the ticket office at Ealing Broadway station was amazed that Wandsworth Road became one of the most popular destinations for a few minutes this morning.

But not one person on the bus was actually trying to get from Ealing Broadway to Wandsworth Road. We were all there in our various ways to draw attention to how absurd this once-a-week coach is, and how the sole reason for it is for Labour to avoid embarrassing publicity.

This backfired spectacularly today, as I was interviewed by the BBC, ITV London and even TF1 from France plus reporters from the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail, and used each opportunity to condemn government spinelessness on this issue. There is absolutely no way this much publicity would have been generated if the government had either retained the rail service or just taken the honest route of consulting over its closure. As Sir Walter Scott put it, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ealing Broadway's Ghost Bus

The Times (not the sadly demised Ealing Times) has this amazing story. My reactions are twofold...

How dare Labour remove the cross-London service between Birmingham and Brighton? The direction we should be moving in is having *more* train services that pass smoothly and conveniently through London for people travelling between the North and the South without disgorging their passengers onto the heaving tube network.

How dare Labour waste our money on this unused coach because they don't have the guts to consult people about axing this rail service? Ministers' efforts to avoid political embarrassment know no bounds.

Toran suggested a trip on the ghost bus from Ealing Broadway next Tuesday, which may not be a bad idea!