Mike Read: An appreciation

People often stop me in the street and say, "Eric, why aren't you running the country?"
Honestly, this does happen and I have to tell them that I am awaiting receipt of the tanks from a seller on eBay with 45673 positive feedback comments. Also, Mark Thatcher never returns my calls. They also know that I am totally in touch with the word on the street, man.

For people outside the UK, we now have an elected Mayor for our (present) capital city. Current incumbent is Ken Livingstone (Labour cum Independent cum Labour). The Conservative Party (or Cameron's Conservatives as they were styled in the Ealing By-election) are looking into the potential of fielding Boris Johnson as candidate. It is difficult to describe this individual. Perhaps the best that can be said is that he is an intelligent buffoon.

If this alone was not an interesting proposition, we now see that he has the support of the heavyweight political genius Mike Read. No, not Mike Reid, what used to be in Eastenders, leave it out! Mike Read the DJ. The man responsible for Frankie Goes To Hollywood scoring a massive hit with Relax, when he decided to ban it from his radio programme. The man in charge of a Saturday morning kids show when a phone caller shouted out live to a pop group, 'Matt Bianco, you bunch of wankers!' Priceless.

Mike was going to stand himself. No further comment is needed to his article in The Guardian.

It provided a record number of comments. Warning! Do not read Read without having an irony bypass operation or drinking a lot of liquid.

Guardian comment is free
July 17, 2007 12:30 PM
I'm backing Boris

I've decided not to stand as mayor of London, but I'm getting behind the man who I hope will raise the city's profile and improve life for Londoners.

Last October, having spoken for the third time at a Conservative conference many influential and political figures encouraged me to stand as London mayor, resulting in many people in the party urging me forward.

Seeing a chance to make a real difference to a great city I thought it would be refreshing to go down a "people not politics" route and have spent a great deal of time at Westminster over the last six months.

It was not Boris Johnson standing that made me think twice at the eleventh hour, but the change in the voting system. Initially it was to be a telephone vote for the whole of London, before moving very recently to a written and online vote with nomination forms going to party members. Non-party members can vote but have to apply for a form and knowing how apathetic folk can be I believe this would, for me, narrow any chance of winning, as the Tory faithful are much more likely to vote for an established politician.

That said I'm happy to support Boris in any way necessary and have discussed the mayoral situation with his charming father, Stanley.

It's essential for Boris to be much, much tougher on the persistently antisocial, making sure that rapists, murderers and paedophiles have no place, and never will, on the streets of London, and will not threaten civilised society.

I've spoken to lots of young kids in gangs or "crews" as they prefer to be known and most want to get out of a way of life that gives them nothing. Get in there ... understand their problems and give them access to sporting facilities and the chance to make music, act, dance and write. Get them integrated into society and to realise its value.

I'd like to see Boris push for a police officer on every tube entrance/exit so that underground miscreants know that their exit route is effectively sealed. With work and leisure patterns changing, Londoners are keeping later hours than ever before so running the tubes until 2am, at least at the weekends, must be an option. Late night traveller safety for the likes of nurses, theatregoers, tourists etc would become a priority. Extended tube hours would also help eliminate illegal and unlicensed taxis.

Advocate phasing out the bendy buses. In a congested city why build an essential mode of transport lengthways? Double decker buses have always been more practical. Scrap the congestion charge and put the life back into London trading.
Broken parking meters should be free until mended. There would be concessions or monthly lottery for all those using electric cars in the capital.
Improve traffic light phasing (still a disaster after Ken's tampering) and introduce more "filter alternately" junctions. This is a less stressful and more successful way of keeping traffic flowing.

Monitor bus lane usage and possibly standardise times. Due to confusion and uncertainty, bus lanes are often empty even when it's legal to drive in them.
Build extensive underground car parks. Put all car parking underground. I've discussed this with major developers and it's feasible.

More than 30,000 UK playing fields have gone under Labour and despite Gordon Brown's (too little, too late) limp idea for a few sports coaches in schools, far, far more needs to be done.

I've had discussions with the Football Association who are behind my London Schools FA Cup idea. Several professional footballers have agreed to be ambassadors and a wealthy and private concern would be happy to get involved with the FA and me on establishing the blueprint for this. This would be a massive boost for London's young people and could be extended to other sports. Ken Livingstone recently said, "I'll be bored out of my skull" by the Olympics. That's not the man who should be the flyer of London's flag. This event should be a massive positive, not constantly portrayed as a negative.

Finally, in brief, explore more usage of the Thames, set up mayoral shops as an information point for tourists and to sell merchandise such as maps, London T shirts, flags, souvenirs and so on. Create a London laureate to extol the virtues of the city in song and verse and encourage more of the colourful fabric of London to come through.

Let's train traffic wardens to exercise common sense and reward Londoners who work hard, rather than hitting them with constant stealth taxes.
I have the blueprint set up and ready to go for an online newspaper with every word about London, written by Londoners or by people visiting the capital. It goes without saying that there are, of course, countless issues not discussed in this limited space!

As I've decided not to stand, I'm going to get behind the man who is. I'll be available, if needed, to help Boris raise London's spirit and profile and become London mayor.
Wikipedia - see if the word 'feasible' remains in the edits!