I’d like to claim to be a week late to this party because of the sheer amount of my incandescent rage, but in reality I’ve just been busy. You know. But there was a certain amount of incandescent rage.
The Tories are on the march again, it seems – or, at least, they are in the suburbs, where ‘our’ Mayor of London seems to be most in favour. (The last week has seen some commentators cast Ken Livingstone as the Mayor of zones 1-3, and Boris Johnson as the Mayor of zones 4-D. Which makes you wonder what will happen to the Congestion Zone. Anyway.)
It’s bad enough that we’ve elected an over-privileged toff (and yes, it’s still "we", no matter how you personally voted) in a result reminscent of when we used to tug our forelocks in awe of the aristocracy, and an over-privileged toff with hardly any discernable policies (more later). But what’s even more depressing is looking at how the votes panned out. I foolishly believed the second-preference system would work in Livingstone’s favour, but it seems I overestimated the intelligence of my fellow electors. In the run-up to the election, I heard enough explanations of how the system worked on the news and in the papers and on the radio to make my ears bleed, but let’s take a closer look at those results, shall we?
Lib Dems – second preference votes 641,412, first preference 236,685. UKIP – second preference votes 113,651, first preference 22,422. Green – second preference votes 331,727, first preference 77,374. More people put Sian Berry as a second preference than Livingstone or Johnson. Paddick got double the number of second preferences as Labour or Conservative. What was the point in that? Did those people realise that second preference vote was two pencil strokes wasted? Did they realise how little chance that second preference vote had of ever mattering? I’d love to see a breakdown of who those second preferences came from. Were they Livingstone or Johnson voters, filling in space for the sake of it? Were they people staying away from the two-horse race entirely? Voting can feel like a totally pointless activity at the best of times, but it’s nice to feel like your cross makes a difference somewhere, especially in something as important as this. I can’t image those people who second preferenced Paddick or Berry are particularly pleased with the way the result went. Now, I can fully believe that there are some liberal minded people out there who deliberately voted with their consciences, and may well have voted Green first and Lib Dem second (or vice versa). But my familiarity with human nature tells me there aren’t 641,412 of them. I suspect 600,000 just didn’t quite understand what they were doing.
I hate people sometimes.
So, we have a Tory Mayor. Probably the opening act for a Tory government. As someone who grew up in the urban north under Thatcher, I’m not looking forward to the next four years. My one hope is that Cameron keeps Johnson on a tight lead, knowing that if he cocks up London it’ll reflect badly on the Tory re-election campaign. He’ll make sure City Hall is run properly, on budget, with nothing stupid going on…
…so we get a ban on alcohol on the tube.
Except it’s not really a ban, because the byelaw won’t come into effect for about another year. What’s happening on 1 June is a change to the conditions of carriage – I’ve been through the document (fascinating) and there is a section where it gives a short list of things that are banned (flash photography, skating) that could result in prosecution, but it’s not exactly the same list as the byelaws. It’s not clear anywhere what will happen if you drink alcohol. The Guardian reckons you’ll just be asked to leave the train… woo, scary. It’s very confusing, especially when there’s already a byelaw dealing with the "possession of intoxicating liquor". But then, there’s also a byelaw saying you have to wait until everyone’s got off before boarding the train, so if I’m going to be prosecuted for carrying an open can of Fosters I’d want to see every twat who barges their way onto the train during rush hour also feel the heavy hand of The Law.
Incidentally, I’ve never drunk booze on the tube before, but I’m feeling a definite urge to do so now. Circle Line party 1 June, anyone?
And let’s not forget the poor bastards who work on the tube and who’ll have to enforce this "ban" since it’s so damn high-profile. The tube driver who’ll have to pull up every couple of stops to do a walk through the carriages for a spot-check (not that anyone would notice on the Northern Line). Oh, but that’s hardly going to work, is it? Then who, dear Boris, will enforce this ban? The non-existent LU staff on the platforms? The invisible British Transport Police? Who, exactly, do you plan to have confronting a drunk guy with a bottle of Magners at 1am and politely ask him to step off the train, please, sir, as that’s the worst we can do to you? I know you can hardly expect the Unions to agree with a Tory, but this is the first time in a long while that I’ve agreed with Bob Crow.