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Election results: Boris hops back in as London's Mayor


The new Boris bus

This morning BBC commentators pondered the difference between Boris and the Prime Minister, who has lost hundreds of council seats due to his Coalition's hapless policies. (The BBC did not put it that way.) BBC commentators thought it was a style difference between Boris and Dave.

I'll say. Dave, with his look of a pancake turned cold on the plate, seems to respond to rather than govern the events churned up by his cabinet's controversial plans. Dave is forever trying to dance with reality, but he doesn't have the moves. Boris, with his windblown look and rapid thrust, as if stalking the deck of a stormy ship, seems to welcome and respect facts. Take that tire-hits-the-road reminder of reality, the London bus. In the view of Boris:

We got rid of Labour’s deranged and wasteful Public Private Partnership for London Underground, enabling us finally to get the new Jubilee line signalling in and to reduce delays on the entire system by 40 per cent. And that new bus incarnates our cost-cutting approach, because the entire project has been delivered for about £10 million – not much more than the annual fare evasion on the bendy buses.

You will hear my critics say that each of the first eight new buses therefore costs more than a million. This is cretinous. You might as well say that each of the first 10 new Minis cost £50 million, because the cost of developing the new Mini was about £500 million. Hundreds of those beautiful buses will be appearing on our streets, and thousands of London buses will be based on their design and technology.

They are British-designed; they boast cutting-edge innovations; they are made in Britain and deliver jobs for the people of this country (unlike the bendies, which are made in Germany); they will do much to help us meet our air quality targets; and they will cost the taxpayer roughly the same as the current fleet of hybrid buses.

Indeed, they are so fuel-efficient – going twice as far as a diesel on the same tank – that over time they might even cost less. The officers of TfL are rightly proud of their achievement, which goes back to the great traditions of the Routemaster, the last bus specifically designed for the needs of Londoners. This new bus represents the boldness of the current administration in City Hall, since we had to overcome the elf-and-safety objections against bringing back the hop-on, hop-off platform.

It was a close election. Boris just caught the bus.

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