November 2005 Archives

The Guardian reports the resignation of Bob Kiley :

London transport chief quits after row

Hugh Muir
Friday November 25, 2005
The Guardian

Bob Kiley, the capital's transport commissioner, has quit after a power struggle with Ken Livingstone over the stewardship of the body responsible for the London's roads, buses and tubes.

The American, instrumental in the mayor's congestion charge scheme and bus network expansion, stood down after a clash over a member of staff that he wanted removed but whom the mayor wanted to keep. "It got to the stage of either he goes or I go," a source close to the mayor told the Guardian. "The mayor's answer was not what Kiley expected."

Who exactly is this creature of Ken Livingstone's who has prompted Kiley's resignation ?

The millions of pounds which have been and will continue to be paid to Bob Kiley do not seem to reflected in a proportionate improvement in London's transport systems.

Mr Kiley, 70, will leave in January with a package worth more than £1m . He will continue as the "principal transport adviser" to the mayor until 2008, the end of the Mr Livingstone's current term. His contract was due to run until 2009/10.

The former CIA agent will also be allowed to remain in the Belgravia townhouse bought for £2.1m by TfL on his appointment four years ago. One source last night told the Guardian that the fees will spark a row when made public. "The figures are big. You could say obscene," he said.

Will any replacement as transport commissioner demand even more money in order to work with Ken Livingstone ?

Alistair Darling, the Transport Minister has been on the morning TV news loudly proclaiming that his forthcoming trial of dubious high tech "see through your clothes" scanners on the Heathrow Express line at Paddington Station, would of course be impractical to deploy on the Railways or on the Tube.

This is such a statement of the "bleeding obvious" that it is incomprehensible why he is wasting our tax money on this trial at all.

The equipment is hugely expensive and is far, far too slow to prevent massive queues from forming. Queues mean stress and frustration for the travelling public. They are also in themselves prime targets for a terrorist attack, as has been shown in Iraq and in Israel., where suicide bombers have attacked the queues caused by security checkpoints.

It is also massively intrusive , revealing as it does a synthetic image of you (or of your children) naked beneath your clothing, which is technically no different from illegal child porn images. Depending on the technology, there are also questions over the health and safety aspects, especially as there is a huge difference between the number of times people fly from airports and the number of times they use a railway or Tube station in a year.

If such scanners are deployed but are not used for mass scanning, but only on a selective basis, then what are the criteria for being forceed , coerced, pressured or persuaded into them ?

In real life will this not simply mean racial or religous or ethnic peofiling and discrimination ?

There are already far too many frightening and useless stops and searches of innocent commuters in London, with not a single real terrorist suspect having been caught by such stops and searches. The example of David Mery is a frightening one, but he is not the only innocent person to be affected, here is another example.

Why has it taken so long for the media to report this story, when it was announced on November 2nd ?

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