May 2008 Archives

Alcohol on the Tube


Boris Johnson is reported as saying that one of his first actions as Mayor of London will be to order the banning of alcohol on the Tube.

There is already a Byelaw which could be used to ban Alcohol on the Tube:

London Regional Transport Railways Byelaws

Made under section 67 of the Transport Act 1962 as amended by section 37 of the Transport Act 1981 and paragraph 2 of Schedule 4 to London Regional Transport Act 1984 by London Regional Transport and confirmed by the Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions on 19 December 2000 for regulating the use and working of, and travel on their railways and railway premises and the conduct of all persons while on those premises ("The Byelaws").


.4 Intoxication and possession of intoxicating liquor

1. No person in a state of intoxication shall enter or remain on the railway.
2. Where reasonable notice is, or has been given prohibiting intoxicating liquor on any train service, no person shall have any intoxicating liquor with him on it, or attempt to enter such train with intoxicating liquor with him.
3. Where an authorised person reasonably believes that any person is in a state of intoxication or has with him intoxicating liquor contrary to this Byelaw, the authorised person may:
(i) require him to leave the railway; and
(ii) prevent him entering or remaining on the railway until the authorised person is satisfied that he has no intoxicating liquor with him.


24. Enforcement

1. Offence and level of fines
Any person who breaches any of these Byelaws, except Byelaw 17, commits an offence and shall be liable for each such offence to a penalty not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.


25 Interpretation


"intoxication" means being under the influence of intoxicating liquor, drugs or other substances;
"intoxicating liquor" has the meaning ascribed to it in the Licensing Act 1964 (as amended or replaced from time to time);


A Level 3 Fine is currently up to £1000

Both the Metropolitan Police Service, City of London Police , British Transport Police, and , as of January 2008, Police Community Support Officers are allowed to enforce Byelaws.

Boris Johnson (Conservative) has beaten Ken Livingstone (Labour) in the election for Mayor of London. Both of them were well ahead of their next nearest rival, Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrats).

The voter turnout seems to have increased compared with the 2004 election. As expected, nobody got more than 50% of the vote on the 1st Preference count, so 2nd Preference votes, so heavily promoted with dubious promises and deals between the minor parties were important, but did not affect the final result.

Name1st Preference1st Preference Percentage of the electorate2nd PreferenceTotalTotal Percentage of the electorate
Boris Johnson   1,043,761   19.26%    124,977    1,168,738    21.56%  
Ken Livingstone   893,877    16.49%    135,089    1,028,966    18.99%  

The potential 2008 electorate was 5,419,913, and the turnout was 45.33%, so any claims, by any of these politicians to somehow represent all of London, or even a majority of Londoners, is misleading - getting the votes of around 20% of the electorate means that around 80% i.e. 4 out of 5 people did not vote for you.

See the official results - N.B. the current figures of "0" in the 2nd Preference votes columns, must surely be wrong.

Another four years in power of authoritarian, arrogant Ken Livingstone and his dubious political cronies would have been insufferable.

Boris Johnson is an intelligent man, but whether he becomes an effective Mayor of London, within the deliberate constraints on his powers which the Labour Government has inflicted on the position, we shall simply have to wait and see.

This blog intends to continue to comment on and criticise, if necessary, the actions or inactions of the new Mayor and the Greater London Assembly.

Election Expenses

Given that both Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone are reported as having raised much more money than the £400,000 election spending limit, it will be worth examining the Election Expenses breakdowns in detail when these are published.

Have the excess funds funds simply been confiscated by the Conservative and Labour party central fund raising machines ? Is this a loophole in say, the rules on foreign based donations to political parties ?

Greater London Assembly

The GLA election results show almost no changes, despite the increased turnout:

Conservative Party 11 +2
The Labour Party 8 +1
Liberal Democrats 3 -2
Green Party 2 0
British National Party 1 +1

The mainstream political parties seem to have utterly failed in their attempts to prevent the odious "BNP" from getting a seat on the Assembly, but a least the differently odious "Respect" George Galloway did not get in, as some feared.

The UK Independence Party lost both of its London wide list Assembly seats, and now have no seats at all.

The Liberal Democrats also lost two of their London wide list Assembly seats, but they retain three seats.

We have had a report from a friend, that at one west London polling station, people are being advised that they are supposedly not allowed to vote for the same person in both the First and Second preference columns.

This is false advice - you obviously can vote for the same person in both columns - it will not improve the chances of that person winning, but it may prevent some electoral fraud:

The London Elects website and leaflets state:

If you only mark a first choice, your vote will be counted - you do not have to cast your second choice vote. But making a second choice cannot reduce the chance of your first choice candidate being successful.

If you only mark a second choice vote and not a first choice vote, no vote will be counted.

If you vote for the same candidate for first and second choice, only one vote will be counted. You cannot improve the chances of your chosen candidate by giving them your first and second choice votes.

Is this an attempt to allow someone to tamper with the ballot papers of anyone who just ticks the First Preference column, leaving the Second Preference column blank ?

An insider could fraudulently fill in the empty Second Preference column to favour their own candidate.

We doubt that the scanning equipment will detect any difference in the style or colour of the crosses in the two columns.

Is this down to ignorance or to Russian / Zimbabwean style election rigging ?

We would be interested to hear if anyone else is being given this sort of false advice.

If you believe the opinion polls, the contest for the next Mayor of London is already over, before any real votes have been counted - supposedly Boris Johnson is set to win by a reasonable margin.

Only the votes for the Conservative challenger Boris Johnson or for the Labour incumbent Ken Livingstone, on first or second preference, can actually influence the outcome - all other votes are "wasted" (especially any for Matt O'Connor, who has withdrawn as the English Democrats candidate, but whose name is still on the ballot paper).

There is no reason not to vote for the other candidates, to send some sort of primitive signal to the political classes, and especially to express disapproval or hatred of the current Labour government and the Prime Minister without a mandate, Gordon Brown, or simply to show that it is time for a change.

The complexity of the Greater London Assembly votes, with the large constituencies (each covering about 3 House of Commons constituencies), together with London wide Assembly Members chosen from publicly unaccountable Party Lists, makes it much harder to guess who will prevail.

This is especially so, since one of the opinion polling companies seems to be saying that up to 16% of the people they sampled, were not registered to vote on the current electoral register, even though they thought, or claimed that they were.

There is also the effect of the notoriously insecure and easily rigged Postal Proxy voting system, which has been abused illegally in the previous elections, and which the Labour Government has refused to tighten up..

Supposedly the Electronic Vote Counting system has been improved since the previous near shambles, where an unacceptably high number of ballot papers were "spoiled".

Partly as a result of the disasters with electronic ballot paper counting in the last year's Scottish Parliament elections, and in some the English pilot areas, at least the ballot papers for the two London Elections are now on three separate sheets of paper, which the scanning technology might be able to cope with properly.

However, there is still no provision for a proper, mandatory t manual count of a statistically valid sample of the ballot papers, to audit the results of the electronic ballot paper scanning.

See this article in The Register for details: How scanners and PCs will choose London's mayor

The counting in London will not even start until Friday morning, and the results might not be available until the afternoon evening.

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