Khan’s TFL Spent £45,000 on Elizabeth Line Souvenirs

Sadiq has once again been demanding yet more cash for Transport for London (TFL), claiming the government (see: the taxpayer) should open the coffers to solve the “funding crisis” or face imminent tube and bus route cuts. Well, here’s how Sadiq spends the money he’s already got…

New Freedom of Information requests from the TaxPayers’ Alliance found that Transport for London spent a total of £44,445.11 on commemorative merch ahead of the opening of the Elizabeth Line, most of which was handed out for free to volunteers. Here’s the full breakdown: 

  • 40,000 commemorative edition pin badges: £19,855
  • 7,000 cotton tote bags: £6,370
  • 50,000 mints: £5,100
  • 4,000 keyring torches: £4,080
  • 7,000 purple commemorative lanyards: £3,640
  • 7,000 travel card holders: £2,030
  • 3,500 yellow volunteer lanyards: £1,540
  • 7,000 pencils: £1,330
  • 140 surgical face masks: £470.40
  • 8 purple foam hands: £29.71

Tfl insist these goodies were designed to “recognise staff, their friends and family who gave up (in some cases) four hours of their weekend” to go on mandatory test rides of the Elizabeth Line prior to its opening. They also claim the items “made a very real and important contribution to the pride and exceptional customer service that have been hallmarks of the launch”Customer service so exceptional that virtually the entire tube network ground to a halt last week… including the Elizabeth Line.

Elliot Keck, investigations campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“If Transport for London is going to spend money like it’s minted they shouldn’t be begging taxpayers for more and more cash to cover up their wasteful spending.”

£5,100 on mints. Staff may claim to be overworked and underpaid, at least their breath could wake up a corpse.

mdi-timer 27 June 2022 @ 16:57 27 Jun 2022 @ 16:57 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Saj’s SpAd Wooing

Eyebrows were raised across departments today as SpAds found an invite from one Sajid Javid in their inbox to drinks with him this Thursday. According to a source, Sajid is now co-opting the weekly SpAd drinks, often hosted by Sheridan Westlake at various Westminster watering holes, where occasionally an embassy or other body will offer to host thirsty advisors hoping to destress. According to one SpAd, however, this is the first time they’ve seen a Cabinet Minister take up hosting duties. 

The event is set to be hosted in the Department for Health, although one recipient noted the RSVP address is a parliamentary email address, raising questions about who’s paying for the booze. Wouldn’t hurt to have cabinet ministers’ most loyal aides on-side if any leadership vacancy arises in the coming months, eh…

mdi-timer 27 June 2022 @ 16:06 27 Jun 2022 @ 16:06 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
YouGov Polling Shows Tory Members Hate Online Harms Bill

Covering the IEA’s new report on the free speech-attacking Online Harms Bill (OHB) this morning, Guido noted “If the government wants to get the Boris show back on the road, and reassure Tory members and MPs that this government is worth fighting for – while saving at least £2.5 billion – scrapping swathes of this big-state bill could not be a more obvious starting point.” New polling released today, coinciding with the IEA’s report, shows this was on the money…

The poll of 982 Tory Party members, conducted by YouGov on behalf of the Legal to Type, Legal to Say campaign, is crystal clear that the government is utterly barking up the wrong tree here. When asked “Do you think people should or should not be able to post content online that is legal, but that some people might find offensive or harmful?”, as the OHB aims to prevent, 79% of members said people should be able to do so.

Asked whether they believe there should be a discrepancy between what is legal to say online and offline, as Lord Frost today points out the OHB will create, again 79% say “anything that is legal to say in public should be legal to say online”. Just 17% believe “there are some things that are legal to say in person, which should not be legal to say online”.

Asked whether they trust Ofcom to be impartial, 51% of members said either not very much or not at all, versus 38% who answered a great deal or a fair amount.

Asked to rank issues relating to online safety by priority for the government, 73% agreed that illegal content such as child sexual abuse is important, followed by 58% for terrorism materials and 41% for illegal online abuse such as stalking, racial abuse and harassment. Just 3% said the government should prioritise “comments which are offensive but do not break any laws”. 

While 81% of Tory members trust Boris Johnson to care about freedom of speech, by contrast 80% do not trust social media companies – the people who will be given much greater moderating responsibilities after the OHB comes into force – to protect it. This all seems cut and dry. It will be very difficult for the PM to point to a change of thinking and strategy over the coming months if the anti-free speech provisions in the Online Harms Bill are not dropped…

mdi-timer 27 June 2022 @ 15:26 27 Jun 2022 @ 15:26 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Broadcasters Fail to Mention Striking Barrister was Labour Parliamentary Candidate

It was a busy morning for criminal barrister Mark McDonald, who made a whistle stop media round earlier today as he and his colleagues went on strike over the profession’s salary and conditions. Having rejected the government’s offer of a 15% pay rise, McDonald made the case for a 21% increase on BBC News, along with a quick chat to Kay Burley on Sky to slam the government for a minute or so for good measure. A decent media performance for a broadcasting novice… 

What both channels forgot to mention is that McDonald was the Labour candidate for Stoke-on-Trent in 2019. Here he is posing alongside the absolute boy himself just before the election…

McDonald is also a founding member of the Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East, and his Twitter account is full of the usual anti-Tory talking points you’d expect of a man backed by Momentum. Unfortunately he lost to Jack Brereton at the election, so he didn’t quite manage to advance his interests from the Commons benches. Back to donning his wig and robes instead…

mdi-timer 27 June 2022 @ 14:57 27 Jun 2022 @ 14:57 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
TalkTV Too “Rubbish” to Air in Parliament

With Russia Today taken off-air in the UK, a slot has opened up for a new channel to take its place on Parliament’s internal TV system. Putting aside the eyebrow-raising decision to allow Russian state media to be broadcast in the corridors of Westminster, Guido hears authorities have now held discussions over what should replace it. One leading candidate was, of course, TalkTV. Given GB News is also available on the annunciators, it seemed inevitable that TalkTV would join the mix…

After some deliberation, however, TalkTV was deemed so “rubbish” that it wasn’t worthy of a slot. BBC Four, a channel which only airs between 7pm and 4am, will take RT’s place instead. For the rest of the day, MPs and staffers who bother to tune in will be greeted with this screen:

This is apparently deemed preferable to watching a live broadcast of TalkTVA real shame – all 650 MPs tuning in to Tom Newton Dunn’s show would have boosted his viewership by about 15%…

mdi-timer 27 June 2022 @ 13:08 27 Jun 2022 @ 13:08 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Boris Compares Russia to Nazi Germany

“I think that sometimes the price of freedom is worth paying and, just remember, it took the democracies in the middle of the last century a long time to recognise that they have to resist tyranny and aggression.

“It was very expensive but what it bought in the end with the defeat of the dictators, particularly of Nazi Germany, it bought decades and decades of stability, a world order that relied on a rules based national system, and that is worth protecting, that is worth defending – that delivers long term prosperity.”

mdi-timer 27 June 2022 @ 12:58 27 Jun 2022 @ 12:58 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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