The Olympics offer a unique chance for everyone to be involved, says the Mayor, starting with London’s Host City Volunteer Project.
When Tutankhamun popped his clogs there really ought to have been someone in his entourage who harboured doubts, deep down, about what they did next. It was all very well to mummify the kid, but I wonder whether anyone stopped to ask whether he was really going to need all that clobber.
I mean all the gubbins they left him for the afterlife: the cash, the bows, the baffling board games, the hunting dogs, the mouldering jars of ancient Egyptian tucker, the untwanged harps and the boats that never got wet. Was there some secret rationalist at the court of the pharaohs?
Posted by Boris Johnson , Mayor, Friday, July 24 2009
Boris Johnson writes about the first of many new and improved buses to be rolled out across the capital.
One of the things about being a cycling Mayor is that you have a unique opportunity to gauge the opinions of Londoners on a daily basis.
Or, more accurately, you receive the views of Londoners whether you like it or not. Forget focus groups or opinion polls, I get all I need whilst waiting at the traffic lights.
I get a whole range of opinions vented at me, and if I had to pick the most frequent issues that come up, one of them would almost certainly be bendy buses. Every day, almost every Londoner I meet asks me “When are you getting rid of them?”
Well folks, today the first bendy buses meet their Waterloo. These writhing whales of the road have swung their hefty rear ends round our corners for the final time. Pedestrians that leapt, cyclists that skidded and drivers that dodged from the path of these monsters will breathe easier this weekend. For tonight, the bendy buses serving route 507 will slink away into the depot for the last time. Tomorrow morning, fifteen brand new single deck buses will appear in their place.
We’ve taken the opportunity to improve the service too. It will be the first time a weekend service has been run on the route. The new buses will also run more frequently. At peak times the frequency of route 507 will increase from a bus every five minutes (12 buses per hour) to one every three to four minutes (18 buses per hour).
The new buses will also be greener than their predecessors. They will emit less CO2, and harmful particulates.
I am afraid I won’t see a man on Mars
We will fail, because … we lack the willingness to take the necessary physical risk.
WE ARE NOW SO SPINELESS, I WILL NEVER SEE A MAN WALK ON MARS
No, folks, I just don’t think it is going to happen. I fully intend to live well into the middle of this century, but I am afraid I won’t see a man on Mars. We will never explore the Martian canals, or make our coffee with melted Martian ice, or fossick for life forms in the defunct volcanoes.
We will never conquer the Red Planet. Homo sapiens will flunk the next great test not because we lack the technology, nor even because we lack the money. We will fail, because – 40 years after the Moonshot – it is increasingly clear that we lack the willingness to take the necessary physical risk.
To appreciate the scale of the change, you only have to look back at the machines that went to the Moon in the summer of 1969. If you go to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and see the Apollo exhibition, you have an overwhelming sense of the absurd Bacofoil fragility of those vessels, and the bravery of the men inside.
I was never very good with bosses.
The vast majority of economic activity in our city is undertaken by small businesses. Therefore, any policy that has a negative impact on small businesses strikes at the very heart of our city’s economy.
LONDON MUST NOT BE PUNISHED FOR ITS SUCCESS
I was never very good with bosses. One of my first experiences in the world of work was as a management consultant.
At the beginning of my first week, I sank into my chair and was very quickly rendered comatose by the presentation on efficient management structures.
Unluckily for me, I was given my instructions just as the Sandman worked his magic and my head lolled a little too obviously. We parted company at the end of that week.
Ever since, I’ve much preferred being in charge (albeit now with 7 million bosses). Indeed, it is that same desire to be your own boss that drives many people to start their own small business. Despite the odds being stacked against you, the risk is neatly balanced with the rewards of creating and sustaining something unique.
Watching the hoards stream over London Bridge each morning makes one think that everyone in London is employed by large city corporations. As it happens, 40% of Londoners are employed by small businesses. The vast majority of economic activity in our city is undertaken by small businesses. Therefore, any policy that has a negative impact on small businesses strikes at the very heart of our city’s economy.
So imagine my disbelief when I hear that the Labour Government is planning a 10% hike in business rates for London before inflation, over the next five years. Most other regions in the U.K. can look forward to reductions.
London, it seems, is being punished for its success. In their infinite wisdom, the Government decided to revalue rates based on property valuations in April 2008. That’s a bit like pricing bubble gum based on it’s mass – at the point just before it bursts all over your face.
Stanley is addressing the Windsor Festival on Friday 2nd October and to celebrate this occasion we are giving away a signed copy of his latest autobiographical book. Just complete the quiz below!
the illegal production of this flower is now funding the killing of British troops
We are nearing the end of the season for the big ornamental poppies that flower all over South Oxfordshire, the area I used to represent in parliament. The petals have fallen to the ground, pink and purple and red. But I expect the seed-pods are still standing tall. If you take a sharp knife to one of those seed-pods, and make a careful diagonal incision, you will see a white latex ooze out. What is that gunk? That is opium, my friend; and the reason there are so many giant poppies all over that part of England is that the seeds have been blown in the wind or carried in the guts of birds. They have come from the farms. We actually grow opium there, and we grow it officially.
At direct government urgings, there are large tracts of land that are given over to the cultivation of the palaver somniferum, for the very good reason that the opium is essential for the NHS. When we die of cancer, or when we are carried off in any other mortal agony, our final miseries are invariably palliated by opiates, in the form of morphine or diamorphine, and indeed our respiration is typically suppressed by these drugs in a vast and unadmitted programme of humane killing.
Given this reality, and given the desperate shortage of analgesic drugs that has occasionally hit the health service, opium has entered the repertoire of UK cash crops.
The Royal Society for the Extremely Stupid
They are now the most powerful lobbying force in the land. You can see the results of their campaigns on park benches, on street corners, on station platforms – and now their hectoring signage is sprouting on desolate beaches and once unspoilt stretches of moorland. They are more energetic than the RSPCA. They are more effective than the birdwatchers, the child‑protectors and the petrolheads put together. Indeed, for manic dedication they are only rivalled by Fathers4Justice. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s have a big hand for this year’s winner of the prize for the Most Successful Special Interest Group. I give you – the Royal Society for the Extremely Stupid.
It was some years ago that my daughter and I first became aware of their achievements. We were exploring the magical cliff-top castle of Tintagel and we came across a sign on the edge of the cliff. It was expensively hand‑painted and about 1ft high. It said: “Edge of cliff”. As a statement of the plonkingly obvious, it could have been bettered only if there had been another sign with a vertical arrow saying “Sky”. We laughed so much we almost fell off.
Since then, the Royal Society for the Extremely Stupid has been going from strength to strength. It has adorned the back of peanut packets with signs saying “May contain nuts”; it has embossed every plastic coffee sipper-lid with the information that the contents may be hot; and now, according to a wonderful pamphlet issued by the Manifesto Club, its activities are reaching a climax.
This article appears in full in the Daily Telegraph here