Today Breitbart London reports on the Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s Health Committee and their suggestion to ban smoking in many public places, a move that he will no doubt christen the ‘Boris Ban’.
This ban on smoking in parks ought to lead Londoners asking whether Boris Johnson really dislikes smoking in public places, or is it just addicted to anything that costs taxpayers money and is named after himself.
We’ve already got Boris Bikes, Boris Buses and the government only just spared us Boris Island. All of these schemes have one thing in common: they are taxpayer funded vanity projects. All involving sacks full of money, squandered so one very vain man can name the project after himself.
I am very much in favour of cycling, but I don’t see why the London taxpayer has to subsidise people who are perfectly able to buy their own bikes. A few years ago Transport for London estimated the Boris Bikes were likely to make a £225m loss by 2015; so large City Hall doubled the bike hire charges (which only apply if you use the bike for more than half an hour).
Naturally most Conservatives will point to the fact that the Boris Bikes were in fact an initiative started by the previous, socialist mayor Ken Livingstone. That is true, but Boris should have cancelled the project rather than pressing ahead. But he would never have done that, it’s just not in his nature.
Another thing Ken Livingstone did was the abolish the traditional Routemaster bus, the red double deckers with the hop on and hop off door at the back. At the time Ken blamed European regulations on disability for the removal of the buses, which was not really true.
When Boris got into power he found a solution to this, he commissioned a whole new Routemaster, the Boris Bus. Once again Boris got something named after himself, and we got the bill. The initial cost of the buses was £160m, and that does not include the losses racked up by rehiring all the bus conductors we had previously got rid of because they were not needed on buses with doors at the front.
Worse still the new buses were no longer hop on and hop off, because Transport for London had banned that on health and safety grounds. So the whole reason for having the open door at the back became redundant, further evidence of just how much of a vanity project this is.
Then we come onto Boris Island, the most absurd idea of them all.
To build a whole new airport on a man-made concrete island in Kent. The project was expected to cost £24bn, but Boris wasn’t worried about the cost because it was named after him. Once again: his name, your bill.
So we fast forward to the utterly meaningless smoking ban, which we are told will extend to lots of public parks that smokers (and others) like to use. It’s eye catching and will keep the health fascists happy for a week or two, but it will make no difference to anything. All that will happen is the taxpayer will be handed a bill for the new signage and gestapo officers needed to enforce it. But that’s okay because it is all in aid of the Boris Ban.
Johnson is without question Britain’s most predictable politician. He’ll fund it if it’s a disastrous public sector project named after himself. So what happens if or when he becomes Prime Minister and the whole country becomes Boris Britain?
Do we get a whole new pile of nationalised companies all named Boris? Perhaps we’ll rebuild all our embassies around the world and name them all Boris. Or give the Royal family an extra few hundred million if they rename Prince George after the glorious leader?
Boris is a nice guy, but in tough economic times we cannot afford a statist who is addicted to hobby horse projects. What we really need him to do is come up with the Boris Budget: to cut public spending and tax by fifty percent. That’s the sort of vanity I would vote for.