Letter from London 27th February 2006
I voted for Ken Livingstone to be Mayor of London in the last mayoral election and I would vote for him again. This is for three main reasons two of which are fairly rational and one of which is more emotional and a tad mischievous. The rational reasons are that Mr Livingstone has really achieved something in his years as Mayor - not least improving London's transport infrastructure significantly. His introduction of electronic road pricing was brave and despite the dire predictions that the system would not work it has been a resounding success. The technology works reliably and central London is much clearer of traffic as a result. Some useful funds have been added to London's income as well. Ken has also greatly improved London's buses and he is also tackling the huge task of getting a better underground railway system. The second rational reason is that the Mayor is enthusiastic and unyielding in his pursuit of London's interests and is quite happy to take on Government or anybody else who he sees standing in the city's way. It was this enthusiasm that led to Ken's unequivocal support for the London 2012 Olympic bid - a key factor in the bid's success.
The emotional and mischievous reason for my veneration of Ken Livingstone is that the sort of people that oppose him are just the sort of people who it is always a pleasure to annoy! Ken is a hate figure for all of those who define personal freedom as the freedom to do what they like and when they like without "vulgar people like Ken Livingstone" interfering. So they are affronted that it now costs them money to drive their Four wheel drive gas guzzlers into London and by the various other "losses of liberty" that they see from the Greater London Authority's rulings. That the London bus service is improved is of no interest to this privileged mob as they wouldn't be seen dead on a bus anyway.