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May 30, 2008

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Tom

Fob off. Note the difference in strength of language between Boris' 'concern' for poor Venezuelans ('deeply uncomfortable') and his rather lukewarm concern for poor Londoners ('consider whether there may be'). No change as far as I'm concerned, if he really wanted to demonstrate concern for his 'number one priority'* he'd have announced how he was going to continue funding the scheme absent £16m of Venezuelan cash.

* Boris Watch is going to have to start running a 'number one priority' watch. That's four different ones I've seen now - get rid of Routemasters, ban drinking on the tube, reduce crime and now apparently making transport affordable. Still, that's fewer Number Ones than he has Number Twos, I suppose.

Tory Troll

'For it's full duration' i.e until it comes up for renewal in August, is what he has always said. 'whether there may be alternative ways' is the hint of a climbdown.

Doug

It's still very vague. The only firm commitment there is that "Transport for London will honour the current discount scheme for Londoners on income support for its full duration" - or until August, in other words.

Dave  Hill

Yes, Troll, that last sentence is the difference from the previous statement. It opens up the possibility of a new discount scheme to replace the outgoing, Chavez-related, one. Nothing more than a possibility at this stage, though.

Tom

Full duration is actually until up to six months past the last card being issued. It's unclear (as a lot of things are) what exactly pays for this extension, since the next lot of Venezualan loot is due in about September time, but presumably won't arrive. Either there's some in the kitty (there's supposed to be a top up payment in case the buses use more fuel than expected or the price of diesel goes up, but this might hit the $32m cap) or this is going to come from TfL's contigency fund anyway, which means that when it finally goes it'll be saving TfL money, not the Venezuelan poor.

Now, a lot of the finances around this are not particularly well spelled out (stand up Mr. K. Livingstone, for whom this was not the most transparent thing he's ever done), but surely our new transparent Mayor can actually tell us whether the finances of the thing stacked up*, how much the Venezuelans paid and whether there's any money left. Another request for information required I think.

* i.e. did the money coming in cover the cost, exceed the cost or leave some for the British taxpayer/farepayer. I reckon on a finger-in-air estimate that we might be a million or so down on the deal (£15m cost plus £2m admin against £16m coming in from Venezuela), but I'd have expected Boris to make more of that, so I could be wrong. Damien Hockney worked out the cost at £20-25m, but I think that overestimated takeup.

angela

I always felt that Boris would work out a way of dealing with this that will not penalise the poorest levels of society and I never doubted that for a second.

Tom

'Always' being how long, precisely? I understand here that I'm replying to a troll. Bad me.

Doug

Boris hasn't worked out a way of dealing with this that won't hit the poor. He's said he'd think about it, maybe (at least until the press attention went away?). "Consider" is the strongest word there, and it's not very strong at all.

angela

Hi Tom. Always meaning as soon as he cancelled the Venezualan deal.

angela

Tom, it has just sunk in what you meant by calling me a troll, at first I just thought you meant a witch.

I find it depressing that people like you won't believe that women are genuinely interested in politics and that I am acting under my own steam. I started blogging seriously when David Cameron made his first appearance in the House of Commons. I thought he was so great, I blogged for him off my own bat and when he was slagged off for going to Rwanda, I had to say something. I blogged on a daily basis for Boris Johnson during the recent campaign, because I really wanted Ken to go and Boris to win, but no-one has ever prompted me what to say.

If a man was doing what I do, nobody would think anything of it. Because I am very committed, I get accused of two things: being an astroturfer (I had never heard the word before) or of fancying Boris Johnson or David Cameron or both at the same time.

I am just very interested and a strong Tory supporter and when websites provide a left wing viewpoint, I like to give the other side, for balance. Tory Troll and Dave Hill are good about printing what I write, I blogged on Times Online daily, and I often blog. to other newspapers as well.

Tom, won't you accept that there are women who care about this country just like you do, and who care how we are governed, and who read lots of newspapers? I am excited about some of the ideas of the new Mayoralty, I love the idea of expanding the river travel, because I often take the boat to Tate Modern, and I am ecstatic that Boris is going to protect the historic views of London, because that matters hugely to me. It is great he is cutting down on wasteful expenditure and getting people to work for us for free. Finally, his crime initiatives are very much needed.

Sometimes people do things from inner conviction, and not just men feel that.

Doug

Tom wasn't at all questioning that women were interested in politics. Where did you manage to find that? His complaint is more with your relentless apologism for the idiot in City Hall, I suspect.

angela

Calling someone a troll is accusing them of working for a particular party, not blogging out of personal conviction. There are just as many relentless apologists for Ken and Gordon Brown, but the difference is they actually have a lot to apologise for.

Tom

"Calling someone a troll is accusing them of working for a particular party"

No it isn't. If you're going to use the internet to express yourself, it's worth learning the language. It's also considered polite to read what other people write rather than answering what you think they wrote, which gives the impression of the perennial internet disease of self-absorption.

I'm not going to dignify the accusations of bigotry with a response.

angela

Tom you have lost me. What does "troll" mean, I enquire out of a sincere desire to learn?

ps. May I just say, peacably, that this is a democracy, and surely if we are excited about the iniatives of our new Mayor, we are at liberty to express that and to defend him if we think he is unjustly accused? No?

angela

Tom, I have checked the meaning of the word "troll" apparently, it is someone "who baits others in an internet discussion in order to provide an emotional response". I have reread my post that caused you to make the "troll" remark and for the life of me, cannot see how you would think I was baiting you. Anyway, let us move on, no offense intended.

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