Thursday, February 16, 2017

#LondonIsOpen (and toxic)

There is no secret that I find the Twitter feed of the current London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, very annoying. Constantly bleating on about things, then falling silent when questions are asked, or the tables turned.

One of the original things that really got on my nerves was the constant tweets stating how there would be less strikes and more negotiations under his watch, cutting the number of transport strikes drastically. Boris had called for them to be almost banned, Sadiq felt that negotiation was the way forward.
For days on end there were almost hourly tweets about his pledge and how there were less strikes. Until of course strike season hit, aka holiday season. Then the shit hit the fan and the strikes begun. On the odd occasion when agreement was reached, they would be cancelled or postponed, and Twitter would hear all about how HE had prevented travel chaos, and was so much better than Boris..

Then the tables turned, and strike after strike has hit various transport networks, and silence from the mayor. The occasional "we are disappointed" tweet, but nothing strong worded, demanding further talks or how out of order it was. Certainly no boasts about his involvement in the talks, in fact the opposite. Avoiding having any involvement at all.

Then there is the demand that TfL have control over Southern Rail. Again, another bandwagon jumped aboard before knowing the full story. Granted Southern is a joke, especially with their strikes also, but their services leave a lot to be desired too. Something needs to be done, but with the shambles that is under his control already, I am not sure that adding another pony to the stables is the right move. Again, we heard so much about "I want to take control" but no comments on the strikes that cripple London each time. Obviously the negotiating skills used with the tube unions don't work, so stay out of it. Wise move!
That said, when Southern rejected the idea of handing over to TfL, they DID say be part of our talks, and help us with your ideas on how it could be improved.
With London's best interests at heart, naturally Mr Khan said NO, I want nothing to do with it, and refuse to be a part of this. Nice one Sadiq!

Then my favourite bit of it all. As you can tell from the blog title.. #LondonIsOpen.
Put on most posts from the mayors office, this seems to be the favourite tag of the moment.
My only thought on it is summed up by this scene from Blades of Glory..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eRRab36XLI

I don't even know what that means
No one knows what it means, but its provocative
No it's not!
Quite simple, words!
Ringing back to the Brexit referendum, when people started somehow saying that the UK was shutting the world out and didn't want to trade with them, the mayors office coined the phrase and tag #LondonIsOpen
Somehow suggesting that the world thought we were closed for some reason. Not once has it ever been suggested that London didn't want to trade with anyone, or that London was somehow closed for refurbishment. Windows painted out, so no one could see what was happening.
Nope, in fact London has never been closed, and in some ways, suggesting it is open creates an air of negativity towards it.

After that was all done with, the tag remained, and is now used on absolutely everything, from business to events etc. Which when promoting an event which has already been arranged is a bit pointless, as the organisers clearly know London Is Open, or they couldn't have booked it ! Duh!

Speaking of events, that is my next and final grip, mixed in with #LondonIsOpen

Recently, along with being open, the mayor has also identified that London is toxic. Very toxic in fact. To the point of issuing warnings suggesting people don't go outdoors unless really necessary at times, and saying how we are failing, and people are dying each year in London BECAUSE of the pollution.
Now I am no neigh sayer here, I know full well that we live in a very busy city, packed with vehicles and other things churning out toxins all day long. I certainly notice the difference when I visit Wales or the Spanish Mountains. But there seems to be some confusion from the mayors office about how bad it really is.

Day after day, Twitter is flooded with comments about how the government need to give people thousands of pounds towards replacing their diesel car. The same diesel car they were given money towards in the last scrappage scheme. The government needs to act on the pollution, taxes levied and increases to the tolls for the congestion zone. Advising how many people die annually because of the air etc.

And then, in the nest breath (a very toxic one of course) we get told about events being held, in Central London, in the open air, and how people should flock to them, because after all #LondonIsOpen.

I have posted a few examples of the contradictions below. And before you say anything, I am all for London hosting events, I love cycling in London, and spending time in town, so have nothing against it. But you can't be the champion of champions for London, aka the mayor, and scaremonger people into believing we are living in a city which has toxic smog daily, air quality warnings and sirens, and environmental wardens walking around in high vis uniforms so they can be seen through the smog.
THEN expect your same audience on Twitter to flock to events you are promoting. That's just dumb. Get a story and stick to it.

Smog and toxic
https://twitter.com/MayorofLondon/status/831929385741668377

https://twitter.com/MayorofLondon/status/830718056959709185

https://twitter.com/MayorofLondon/status/830367140733714432
London’s dirty air is a public health crisis. I’m committed to tackling this. Read more about my plans here:
Older people & adults & children with lung or heart problems should avoid strenuous physical exercise, particularly outdoors.

Meanwhile... Positives
https://twitter.com/MayorofLondon/status/832198886102093825
On 26 Feb we're turning Trafalgar Square into London's biggest cinema for a very special Oscar-night screening of << There it is!!

https://twitter.com/TfL/status/831862211303845888

https://twitter.com/MayorofLondon/status/831823169858203650

So... #LondonIsOpen AND #LondonIsToxic

In short, I guess what I am trying to put across in this entry is quite simple.

Stop talking shit Sadiq. Do what is right for London and its people, stop scaring people with over exaggerated stories, and then contradicting yourself by saying we need to bring people to London for events, tourism etc. Don't you see that by bleating on about air quality, you scare people away, not bring them here. Its the exact same media channel and audience that you speak through and to, but somehow you expect them to be positive.

London IS open, London is proud. It is a diverse yet united city who has been and still is respected globally by millions of potential tourists. Walk in the streets in town and you will see just how open London is, without having to use a damn hashtag and believe it spreads a message of positivity. It really doesn't. London is not a convenience store which has an Open/Closed sign. It is a city right up there on the world stage, historic, respected, and a magnet to people around the world. Stop pretending that YOU are single handedly  making the difference, you really aren't.

#RantOver



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