The independent London newspaper

The artless dodger gets the denunciation he deserves

28 June, 2019

Boris Johnson

NAZANIN Zaghari-Ratcliffe has, perhaps more than most, felt the harsh reality of Boris Johnson’s infamous blundering charm.

His reckless speculation about why she was in Iran, made in the House of Commons in 2017, led to her sentence being more than doubled by Iran’s unforgiving judiciary.

It will, as a result, be at least three years more than expected before she is reunited with her husband and daughter back in West Hampstead.

Mr Johnson, who is the favourite to be the next Prime Minister, claims to have “delivered for everyone” while Mayor of London, between 2008 and 2016.

He cites improved air quality, more affordable homes, jobs and apprenticeships and the murder rate falling by 50 per cent during his two terms.

There has however been a telling silence on his long list of failures affecting residents in Camden. Dodging questions has always been his speciality, as shown this week over the infamous night-time domestic bust-up.

The New Journal had to literally chase him down the road on his bike demanding answers on the closure of historic Belsize Park fire station, now a block of private flats, during our Thin Red Line campaign in 2014. Under his watch, Hampstead Police Station was also shuttered. The landmark Hampstead building has remained empty for six years. Public protest of the shortage of affordable housing in the Mount Pleasant development was repeatedly ignored.

His Routemaster-inspired double-decker buses are not universally treasured and rather seen as an expensive vanity project. The so-called Boris Bikes were the brainchild of his predecessor, Ken Livingstone.

Mr Johnson, in a speech at a London-wide debate, accused us of repeatedly “denouncing him” and if appointed Prime Minister next month, we will continue to.

Pioneering project

THE impact of school exclusions on young children’s education and also relationships is obvious.

What to do about it has not been so clear.

The scandalous cuts to education budgets from central government have left teachers with little time, training, and perhaps patience, to properly nurture troubled and agitated children.

The public health approach adopted by Glasgow has been for root causes of knife crime.

But this has, in London, remained an empty slogan.

Official statistics may show that reported exclusions are falling in Camden schools, but that is not to say the figures are not still worrying high. We urge the council committee investigating the impact of exclusions to look closely at the Peter Fonagy’s pioneering project.

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