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Boris Johnson: For Amusement Purposes only

May 8, 2008 12:39 am

It didn’t take long for Boris to make his first balls up as London Mayor, but you’ve got to admit it’s a doozy: upsetting the Tube Unions. You couldn’t make it up.

 Seems Boris’ first splash of inspiration is not one of his headline-grabbing policies from his campaign about bringing back Routemaster buses (who cares), tackling the congestion charge (believe it when I see it) or adding coppers to the streets (pull the other one). No his first big policy decision is to ban alcohol on the tube.


Apparently it’s something vaugely to do with ‘anti-social behaviour’, that wonderfully 21st century catch-all term used to describe wankers who hit people and break things.

I was intrigued to see this will come into force on the the 1st June… three weeks time. So in the space of just six days Boris has researched his policy, decided it is for the public good, budgeted for the extra police (which we haven’t yet got), budgeted for the marketing of the scheme (people need posters) and consulted everyone concerned. Wow. That’s fast work.

Except,of course, he hasn’t done any of this. He’s simply plucked out of his arse one of those policies that no ‘right-thinking person’ could disapprove of and decided that’s what he’s going to do.

As for consultation, surely he spoke to tube bosses about it? Well, he may have got a statement from Timmy O’Toole or some other oxygen wastiing suit, but Mr Bob Crowe, really the most powerful man in London, was not consulted. And he’s, (…and I can’t bear to type this…) probably right that he’s concerned his union’s members are liable to find themselves under even MORE threat from irate passengers.

But the one thing that grinds me most about this, and I’ve written to Boris’ office about, is that there isn’t a problem of people drinking on the tube. Yes, it might not be particularly appealing to see people drinking on the tube, but we could all run off a list of unpleasant things on the tube. Boris isn’t going to ban food, loud music or teenagers from the tube.

The problem is DRUNK PEOPLE. Unfortunately, people get drunk and do stupid things. And it’s THIS that gets up people’s noses.

People generally drink on the tube when they are going out and, therefore, sober. Sober people don’t do stupid things unless they are stupid (and you can’t legislate for stupidity).

Drunk people do stupid things all the time. So if you’re already drunk, how is not being able to drink on the tube going to stop you being drunk and stupid?

The simple solution would be to ban drunk people from the tube. This of course would be shouted down as an ‘infringment on our human rights’. It would also upset a  lot of the City boys who make up Boris’ core voters.

So instead, as I mentioned, he comes up with a plan which affects a lot of innocent people to show that he’s ‘doing something’ without actually doing anything at all.