Boris Johnson's Village in the City Speech
Alexander Boris Johnson a Conservative Party politician, who is the elected Mayor of London and the most popular UK politician, launched into a light-hearted 20 minute speech shortly after 10am this morning at the Conservative party conference, speaking of the 'need to put the problems of London in order and put the village back in the city.
Mr Johnson said he would not allow the number of officers in the Metropolitan Police to dip below what he deemed 'safe and reasonable'. In addition, he said he was changing guidance given to the Met to make sure people who swear at officers are arrested. Crime figures are decreasing in all areas of London making the capital one of the safest cities in the world.
He spoke of how his administration had planted 50,000 trees and had identified thousands more growing spaces in wasteland around the capital and of building affordable, decent-sized homes for families with rooms 'big enough for humans rather than hobbits.
On transport he talked about his £140million Boris Bikes cycle hire scheme where cyclists can hire bikes from docking stations around the centre of London. He joked he did not know whether to be 'pleased or offended' that not one bike was stolen during the London riots, saying that only bookshops were safer than his bike stands. And just three bikes were stolen during the first two months in London where as in Paris 500 bicycles were taken. Mr Johnson said he believes this proves there is a growing sense of 'civility and trust' in the capital' and 'respect for property that is public' and the people of London are more honest than the light-fingered Parisians.
On the economy, Mr Johnson said that the capital could drive Britain's economic recovery if investment in transport continues. He urged the Government not to scrap spending projects in the city despite the tough financial climate saying thanks to the common sense of this coalition Government, the settlement we got last year, we not only have the Tube upgrades, we have Crossrail and Thameslink, which is going to be as fantastic as Crossrail. 'I will not allow that investment and these vital improvements to be jeopardized for a short-term political gain.' And addressing the prime minister directly, he added: 'I say to my friends in the Treasury - not all of whom I see here; well, Dave's here - Franklin D Roosevelt offered a new deal. 'I give you the wheel deal: you help us to invest in transport infrastructure and we in London will supply the locomotive of the UK economy.'
Mr Johnson said cutting crime and improving transport would attract businesses and called for 'the right tax and regulatory framework - I will say no more than that', believing 'British enterprise will do the rest'. 'I reckon we have a record to be proud of. 'We have effectively cut the council tax by 10% over the last three years, we have put Oyster on the overground, we have delivered a 24-hour freedom pass for the people of London - a fact I hardly dare mention in Manchester in case they get jealous - and the last bendy bus will leave our streets by Christmas. In the new year we will see a generation of Routemaster-style buses with the open platform.'
Activists gave the mayor a standing ovation as he closed his speech saying he had delivered 'sensible, moderate, one-nation Conservative government in London', but there was 'so much more to do'.
Mr Ken Livingstone the previous Labour politician and Mayor of London and the Labour candidate said: 'Today we saw the real Boris Johnson - an out-of-touch Conservative, failing to put ordinary Londoners first on the issues that really affect them, from rising fares to police cuts.
'He gave no hope to Londoners facing another steep fare rise this January, which will mean bus fares are up 56% under a Tory mayor, and gave no hard commitment on police numbers, which are in fact due to fall by 1,800 according to his own Metropolitan Police figures.
'Under the Conservatives, Londoners are less well-off and increasingly less safe, under a moonlighting mayor who meets bankers more than the police. 'People in London are feeling the squeeze but Boris Johnson doesn't see it.'