Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ken Livingstone rips off developing country and Londoners

It is truly bizarre that one of the world's financial capitals is led by a leftwing nutter who worships Castro (leader of a dilapidated health care system, not that the UN is told the truth by the Cuban government), welcomed leaders of the IRA at the height of the bombings and now is having an affair with the latest leftwing bully, Hugo Chavez.
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So Ken has signed a deal to buy oil (presumably diesel) from the Venezuelan state owned oil company at 20% below market prices, which will be onsold to the numerous London bus companies in exchange for those companies halving fares for welfare recipients.
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This is truly the case of the poor of a poor country paying for the poor of a rich country.
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So what does this really mean? Some think it is great, but when you look into it, London and Venezuela both lose.
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On paper, it is a £32 million a year saving in fuel. London wins, Venezuela loses - welfare recipients in London are almost certainly a lot better off than the Venezuelan poor. What a socialist Ken is, ripping off poor countries to pay for his own poor.
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However this deal isn't just about saving money. By halving bus fares for welfare recipients, there is a loss in revenue. The £1 standard fare (using Oyster cards) goes to 50p, to travel anywhere within Greater London (very very cheap), but this is for 250,000 people. Hockney council estimates that the fare loss will cost £25 million, and the Mayor's office claims maximum benefits of £16 million, so at best London gains £7 million or at worst loses £9 million. Hmmm
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but there is more. Venezuela isn't doing this out of socialist solidarity alone. The Greater London Authority is to provide free consultancy advice to Venezuelan cities on "transport, protection of the environment, development of tourism, and town planning". After all, Caracas and London share so much. That advice isn't free of course, it means opening a GLA office in Caracas - yes the Greater London Authority will have a branch in South America. One estimate of that cost is £45 million. It better be less than £7 million clearly!
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Even more peculiar, Livingstone goes on:
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"At the same time it is a good deal for Venezuela. That country has started on the road of using its oil riches for the benefit of the majority of its population, which lives in cites, prioritising areas such as improving health care and the environment, public transport, better housing and town planning. This will gradually transform the quality of life for the majority Venezuela’s population, including replacing slums with modern towns and cities served by first class public services. London has invaluable expertise to contribute in this field and this will save Venezuela millions of dollars."
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Would you take advice from officials from Greater London Authority or another city or specialist experts on health care, public transport and housing? Remember GLA has no role in health care, some role for the environment, a marginal role in housing and planning (though a major role in public transport). Notice how effective London has been in replacing slums?
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So come on David Cameron - find a sane man to stand for Mayor, I've had enough of Ken Jong Il.

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