Resident Association councillors used to ask questions about potholes and such like. Osman Dervish would smile sweetly, pat them on the head and say, ‘Well done’. Drivel, but everyone felt better. Now the roles are reversed. The question is, ‘How well are Conservatives doing?’
The first question was by Keith Prince.1 His question (Q1) was about ULEZ.2 He knows opening questions are routine with the supplementary question being the killer. Cunning politicians put cabinet members3 in a tough spot and score a triumph. I thought Keith would be classy.
Unfortunately, the blind were leading the blind. Barry Mugglestone hadn’t read the ULEZ proposals and thinks, wrongly, it’s about climate change. Even worse he thinks it’s a tax. Barry was reading a prepared answer from officers, who also haven’t read the proposals, or have, and Barry didn’t accept their answer. It’s beyond stupid to misunderstand ULEZ’s purpose, which is, “To help clean up London’s air…” 4
Furthermore “…ULEZ is central to the Mayor of London’s plans to improve Londoners’ health. It will clean up the city’s toxic air, which leads to the early deaths of thousands of people every year.”5 (my emphasis)
Keith isn’t guilty of misunderstanding. He’s playing politics. On this occasion he ranted about taxation, which he knows isn’t true.6 He then made progress. He said if people driving 18 year old bangers are charged £12.50 a day for destroying people’s health, Havering’s businesses will collapse. Keith doesn’t have a grip on economic realities.
The principal purpose of ULEZ is saving lives in Havering.
Addendum: Question allocation
If the Administration believe that ULEZ is about climate change why wasn’t it given to Climate Change cabinet member Keith Darvill to answer?
3 Barry Mugglestone. Annotator Player (sonicfoundry.com) Got to 29 minutes in
5 Havering, ULEZ and Public Health – Politics in Havering About 3 people a week die in Havering from air pollution
6 Because he knows what taxation means.