Anorak News | Things Can Only Get Sleazier

Things Can Only Get Sleazier

by | 27th, March 2006

‘“I’M bound to say not all the information is out yet, and we’re still looking at it.’ So said Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in his customary obfuscating manner on Monday.

Tony Blair

Prezza was talking about the cash for peerages scandal, but he might just as easily have been talking about his wife’s hair, integrated transport policy or the EastEnders omnibus. Or sleaze.

Things have changed since new Labour introduced us to their project. We bought the message. We clapped along to the song. We may even have seen a small circular disc of light above Tony’s bouffant.

But that was then. Tony is no longer Bambi, bouncing into the political forest with wet nose and bustling tail – he’s another star of fiction. On Tuesday we became Alan B’Stard MP, the revolting venal Tory of the 1980s television series.

The Telegraph said that B’Stard was to be recast from the sleazy Conservative of the Thatcher and John Major years into a slimy, self-serving, corrupt Labour MP.

New Labour – old Tories, albeit a sexless version. And just like the Tories of old, new Labour are making a hash of the trains. On Wednesday we heard that the 8.02am Cambridge to London express is the most overcrowded train in the country.

Statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act, and looked over by the Telegraph, said 433 passengers want to use the 234 seats on this service.

And there was more. Thameslink’s Sutton to Luton 4.33pm train has provided 412 seats for 618 passengers. And Southern’s 7.51am shuttle from Victoria to London Bridge has 635 seats for 944 passengers.

Let the train take the stain, and practise your surfing as you glide round corners and catch a wave of red hot coffee from the trolley dollies as they weave their snack carts through the masses.

The trains are overpriced and overcrowded. But comments made by London mayor Ken Livingstone suggested to us that if anyone can get the trains to run on time it is Ken. Not that Livingstone is in any way a Nazi. It’s just that he… Oh, well, just listen to what he said and make up own mind.

Livingstone thinks brothers Simon and David Reuben are a hurdle to his Olympic Games 2012 plans.

Here’s to 1,000 years of the trains running on time

The Reubens are part of a group wanting to construct a shopping centre, car park and homes in Stratford, East London. A spokesman for the Reuben bother said Livingstone is “misinformed” and they have “worked ceaselessly to try to move the project forward for the benefit of London”.

Livingstone thinks otherwise. He also thinks that Reuben is an Iranian name, and not in the least bit Jewish (the brothers are Indian-born Jews). As Livingstone said: “If they are not happy they can always go back and see if they can do better under the ayatollahs.”

Asked by a reporter to explain what he meant by that, Livingstone resisted the urge to compare the journalist to a concentration camp guard, and said, “To Iran.”

What do you make of that? Is Livingstone anti-immigrant? As Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain told the Times: “It’s an extremely unpleasant remark that no mayor should say to any immigrant. This isn’t a Jewish issue but of treating citizens equally, irrespective of origin.”

That Livingstone should represent Londoners is a tragedy. That he refers to people’s ethnic origin is shameful and pathetic to score points.

The only good news is that Livingstone won’t be mayor for ever, let along a thousand years.

On Friday we read that London could well be under 20ft of water by 2100. And what that will do to the trains is anyone’s guess…’

Posted: 27th, March 2006 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink