Boris Johnson, who four years ago scrapped a costed and funded scheme to build a Tramlink extension to Crystal Palace, this morning paid a flying visit to East Croydon station to have his picture taken alongside a tram with “Crystal Palace” showing on its destination board.
The part-time Mayor of London, who far prefers photo stunts to answering questions on policy at press conferences, swerved a previous picture opportunity earlier this month with Mike Fisher, the leader of Croydon Conservatives. But around 10 this morning, Boris blustered his way around and alongside one of the shiny new Stadler trams (too long for the original platforms on the Tramlink network) to make the point that, after a needless delay of four years, work might begin, some time, on building the first extension of tracks in 20 years.
The Crystal Palace extension was a Johnson election pledge made earlier this year, shortly after he heard his opponent for London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, had promised to reinstate the scheme which Boris had canned in 2008 and which had also been rejected on ground of cost as recently as November last year.
Having your picture taken with £2.5-million worth of tram with “Crystal Palace” on its front will be pretty difficult, even for Boris, to wriggle out of if he fails to deliver on this promise, which is estimated to cost at least £170 million to build.
In barely a month in office in his second term – with nearly half that time spent in America flogging his new book – Johnson has already back-pedalled faster than Lance Armstrong on steroids on two key promises contained within his nine-point plan “for a greater London”: he is now saying that he will not have 1,000 more police on the beat; and it turns out that his promised 10,000 new jobs for London involves counting the same jobs four times over, once for each year of his term.
The £200,000-a-year Daily Telegraph columnist’s somewhat cavalier attitude to his work as London Mayor seems to have been passed on to his new deputy, Stephen Greenhalgh, if this video of last week’s scheduled question session with the mayor’s right-hand man is anything to go by.
- Inside Croydon: For comment and analysis about Croydon, from inside Croydon. Not from Redhill.
- Post your comments on this article below. If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Racist article by councillor’s husband is widely condemned (insidecroydon.com)
- Boris promises to end Croydon’s planning paralysis (insidecroydon.com)
- Fisher drops the ball as he juggles his Town Hall top team (insidecroydon.com)