Recently in Congestion Charge Category

The NO2ID Campaign organised Mayoral hustings meeting yesterday 8th April 2008 at the Friends Meeting House opposite Euston Station was interesting.

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From left to right:

Jenny Jones (Green - deputising for Siân Berry), Lyndsey German (Left List / Respect), Boris Johnson (Conservative) NO2ID moderator Christina Zaba - brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat), Gerard Batten (UK Independence Party).

The arrogant authoritarian incumbent Labour candidate Ken Livingstone, refused to turn up to this hustings meeting. Neither did he send a deputy, nor did he or his spin doctors dare to send any Answers to the 4 Questions which NO2ID had sent to each of th invited Candidates beforehand.

His malign "database state" influence was represented by a Cardboard Cut Out Ken, to much amusement from the audience.

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Boris Johnson said that this absence confirmed Ken's identity as a chicken.

The cross party NO2ID campaign has organised a mayoral election hustings meeting next week on Tuesday 8th Aprill 2008, which will give Londoners and the media a chance to question some (or perhaps all) of the 10 candidates on their attitudes and policies towards the massive "database state surveillance" of residents and visitors to London by the Central Government, public sector, private companies and even by private individuals.


Tue, 8th Apr 2008 — London Mayoral Hustings

NO2ID is holding hustings among the candidates for Mayor of London to discover their positions on

THE DATABASE STATE

As well as housing Whitehall, London has many information and identity management systems of its own. How do candidates feel about the civil liberties and privacy implications of, among other things, the Oyster Card, congestion charging, telephone parking? Would they support or oppose national ID schemes as mayor? What is their attitude to the database state?

Invitations are being issued to every party with London representation at Westminster, in Strasbourg or in the GLA. Chaired by Christina Zaba.

Prospective candidates Gerard Batten (UKIP), Siân Berry (Green), Lindsey German (Respect / The Left List), Boris Johnson (Conservative), and Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat) have confirmed they will be attending.

Time: Doors open 6:30pm, Tuesday 8th April for a prompt 7:00pm start.

Place: Friends House, 173 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ (map)

Press enquiries to: press@no2id.net

Spy Blog has a few Questions for the Candidates regarding the surveillance and snooping infrastructure which the Mayor of London has a hand in, especially through Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police Service and the massive "security" budget for the London Olympic Games.

Channel 4 tv - is to broadcast a Dispatches documentary, tomorrow at 8pm Monday 21st Jan 2009

These seems set to examine some of Ken Livingstone's record of peculiar policies, broken promises and cronyism. It is also set to look at the Greater London Assembly, which should act as a check and balance on whoever occupies the office of Mayor of London, but which has failed to do so effectively.

Interestingly, the investigative reporter this time, is not from a "right wing" publication like the Evening Standard , but from a "left wing" one, the New Statesman magazine.

See the New Statesman political editor Martin Bright's blog article My questions for Ken


But in the course of my research I came across a blizzard of stories that do not show the mayor in an entirely good light. These include some already in the public domain, such as the cost of foreign trips and the "embassies" set up by the mayor abroad, details of the oil deal with Venezuela's leader, Hugo Chávez, and questions over spending by the London Development Agency. Other stories, including one concerning a campaign against Trevor Phillips, now chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, organised from within City Hall, raise concerns. There are also the curious actions of Livingstone's inner circle of advisers and their idiosyncratic politics. And, inevitably, we looked at the congestion charge.

Perhaps most importantly we examined the office of mayor itself: whether it is institutionally robust and whether any incumbent in the post would be held fully accountable.

Even before it has been transmitted, this tv programme has provoked some Sunday Newspaper articles, and taxpayer funded public relations spin from the Mayor's spin doctors, who appear to be working overtime, regarding the serious allegation that the political appointees and the other appartachiki who are paid to be politically neutral civil servants, were actively campaigning for Livingstone, including fund raising, using GLA / Mayoral offices and equipment , during working hours.

The Sunday Times:

The Observer:

If even left wing, Labour supporting, journalists are starting to question Livingstone's dubious record, will that translate into seeing him lose the May election ?

Crapita seem to have lost the London Congestion Charge and Low Emission Zone road taxation and sneaky mass surveillance schemes contract to IBM, from 2009 onwards.

Transport for London announces new Congestion Charge service provider

25 October 2007

Transport for London (TfL) today announced that IBM United Kingdom Limited is the selected bidder for the Congestion Charging and Low Emission Zone service provider contract.

The decision follows a 12-month competitive tendering procurement process.

IBM will be responsible for the operation of the Congestion Charging and Low Emission Zone schemes from November 2009, including the technology that will underpin payments and all customer contact channels.

The contract is for a duration of five years with an option to extend a further five years.

IBM's consortium partner, NCP Services, will be responsible for the schemes' enforcement.

[...]

"We expect to continue our excellent working relationship with Capita over the next two years."

We expect Crapita's demoralised staff, facing redundancies, etc. to offer an even more dire level of "service" for the next two year> Crapita now have no financial incentive to invest any extra money in the necessary training or maintenance to keep the systems running, let alone to improve them.

IBM, will, like Crapita before them, have underbid to secure the contract, knowing that they then have Ken Livingstone over a financial and political barrel and can "negotiate" extra public money in the future, exactly like Crapita did.

We await with interest the next criticism of the Daily Mail or the Evening Standard newspapers by Ken Livingstone, organisations which he usually claims are somehow tainted by their corporate predecessor organisation's supposedly nazi sympathetic past back in the 1930s.

Where is Ken Livingstone's criticism of International business Machines (IBM), whose long experience of customised data processing "solutions", included state of the art transportation back office systems for the German railways and for the recording and categorisation of the poeple sent to nazi concentration and extermination camps ?

Has anyone on the Mayor of London's media spin team bothered to read the book IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black ?

Why did Ken Livingstone not demand strong safeguards on the privacy and security of the Congestion Charge data beloning going to millions of innocent motorists, which is now, since July, being slurped automatically in bulk, in real time, from the Congestion Charge system by the Metropolitan Police and other shadowy, unaccountable "national security" organisations, ?

The right of centre think tank, the Bow Group has produced a report detailing some of the Ken Livingstone failings and broken promises made as Mayor of London.

London Under Livingstone (.pdf)

by Christopher Mahon & Alastair Sloan

London Under Livingstone An evaluation of Labour's Mayor A new report from the Bow Group examines the track record of Ken Livingstone as London Mayor and uncovers rising taxes and worse public services. The research, released today, sees council taxes £300 higher in London than elsewhere in the UK driven by a 174% increase in the Mayor’s GLA precept. Meanwhile buses, tubes and violent crime have all deteriorated since Ken Livingstone took control.

The report claims that, including Transport for London, the Mayor of London has some 173 press officers on his payroll.

These media spinners have responded in a very NuLabour propaganda like manner, simply repeating their carefully chosen misleading statistics, some of which have been anticipated by the authors of the this report.

Press Release - Mayor's response to the Bow Group report 7-9-2007 546

e.g. on the notorious Congestion Charge

The aim of the charge was never to raise money.

We were promised at least £60 million a year "profit" which could be plouighed back into improving public transport - that was when the charge was "only" £5 a day - it is now £8 a day.

Far from costing London £930m, the first full three years of operation in the central zone produced an income of £591.7 million with an operating cost of £288.6million - giving a net operating income of £303.1million.

Note the misleading spin weasel words "net operating income".

The actual figure quoted in the Bow Group report is a measly £10 million which is available to invest in improving public transport.

That is not even £10 million a year, that is £10 million in total since the inception of the scheme.

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This website comments on the policies of the Mayor of London, the London Assembly and the Greater London Authority and actually pre-dates even the referendum which took place before these public bodies were set up.

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There are many good people trapped in the bureaucracies which run London. If you are thinking about blowing the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies then you need be very careful these days. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g.

Links

Wikipedia article on the Mayor of London

Wikipedia article on the London Assembly

The Evening Standard newspaper - fulfills its role by scrutinising the Mayor and the GLA etc. rather more effectively than the politicians and bureaucrats do.

Mayor of London press releases

London Assembly press releases

MayorWatch - commercial news site about the Mayor of London etc.

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID - opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID - opposition to NuLabour's plans for Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

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ASBO Concern - alliance of organisations and individuals who are concerned about the abuse of NuLabour's Anti Social Behaviour Orders.

MI5 encrypted contact web form use 999 or 112 to report immediate threats
Encrypted MI5 web response form NuLabour's "Climate of Fear" is not the same as the real fight against terror.

gamesmonitor_logo_150.gif Games Monitor - "Games Monitor is a network of people raising awareness about issues within the London Olympic development processes. We want to highlight the local, London and international implications of the Olympic industry. We seek to deconstruct the 'fantastic' hype of Olympic boosterism and the eager complicity of the 'urban elites' in politics, business, the media, sport, academia and local institutional 'community stakeholders'. "

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area resticting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill Act

Ken Livingstone Links

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