in which Ms Baroque does(n’t quite do) politics

This billboard is still up, on a busy intersection in Stamford Hill, and looking a little sadder with every passing day. Ah, me, fond hopes. Poor Willaim.

In the meantime, here in the mansions of Baroque we’re reeling beneath a blizzard of impressions thrown up since Thursday night: the whole thing is a bit much, frankly.

I know that isn’t good enough to count as real, true punditry. I fell asleep in front of the election results at 1am, woke up at 3.30am and went to bed, where I tossed and turned and had terrible dreams; I think David Cameron was in them. Certainly there were people coming in where they weren’t wanted and not listening to anything I said. The walls in those dreams seemed terribly fluid, like the current difference between left and right, in and out, disaster and less-of-a-disaster.

Since then, the sad news that Baroque in Hackney regular Jacqui Smith has lost her seat. I invented a whole category, “what IS it with this lot??”, in her honour. She will be missed. Then the joyous, frabjous news that YES! George Galloway, the man who singlehandedly made me stop calling myself of the left, is OUT! (George Galloway: “I am left-wing.” Me: “As long as that man is in power and calls himself the left wing, I am not left-wing.”) He has been, in a dizzying phrase, “chased from the East End!” Oh, to be in Tower Hamlets now.

Then there’s the wonderful loss of all the BNP’s 12 mystifying seats. I’m not going to link to it here, but there’s a YouTube video doing the rounds of Nick Griffin being held to account by some journalists for the BNP councillor who last week attacked a man in the street who (admittedly loutishly) spat at him. After saying, “Well, he’s not a councillor any more, now is he?” which beings one kind of happiness to the heart, Griffin later shouts – or was it snarls? – at the journos, “You took London away from the English and you gave it to the foreigners! You won.” That was marvellous, because it shows that underneath it all, Griffin does understand how history works! (Unless by “foreigners” he means someone other than the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Normans, Huguenots, European Jews, etc etc etc.)

Well, let’s see. And then, just as everyone is chanting “Tories Tories Tories! Out out out!”, their poster boy Boris Johnson goes and does something truly remarkable and surprising. He basically buys back London Transport – or, as it is now known, Transport for London.* According to Paul Waugh, who (I think) broke this story in the Evening Standard:

Transport for London will now directly control the works with no middle man and no punishing management fees. With TfL having an excellent debt rating, it also means lower debt repayments over the long term.

More importantly for passengers, it means that Tube line closures can be slashed to fit with TfL’s wishes rather than the convenience of the private sector contractors. I’m told it will mean 84 closures for works will now be reduced to just 12.

With Metronet also collapsed, it means that Boris has done something that Red Ken never managed to do (but dearly wanted) – scrap one of the worst value PFI-style schemes in history.

A snip at £310million. And srsly good news. It was one of those private companies doing all the work on the underground that unwittingly employed, through a sub-contractor, Osama Bin Laden’s (admittedly less troublesome) nephew a few years back.

And closer to home, I can report that the Baroque in Hackney candidate for MP, Suzanne Moore, did in fact – with .6% – get more votes than the Monster Raving Loonies – that’s pretty well-predicted by me, I think. And a giddying ride.. But as for the rest of it. Hm. Later: some poetry, if you’re lucky.

* Prepositions are always difficult, don’t you find? I’d have said it should be Transport in London…

Previous post:

Next post: