Another massive triumph for Ken Livingstone this morning. Commuters turning up at Dalston Junction, hoping to travel on the new East London Line, instead found a locked station and a chilly ex-mayor doing one of his now legendary unofficial opening ceremonies for things he used to be in charge of. The problem, of course, was that the line, well, stayed closed.
The line had been due to open today – but it’s been put off until next week because Ken and his chums complained they weren’t being given enough credit for it.
Even The Guardian could see what an own goal it was for the forces of King Newt:
“There was a faintly surreal air outside Dalston Junction at 7.45am,” wrote the paper’s Matt Wells. “The station was closed, the grilles were pulled firmly shut, and Tessa Jowell and Ken Livingstone were left shivering on the pavement outside….
“Local MP Diane Abbott, who said she’d been banned from coming by Transport for London, turned up anyway. ‘We don’t want to make it party political,’ she said, wearing a Labour red jacket and a big rosette.
“Ken, who has form on claiming credit for projects finished after he left office, said his successor should now make a firm commitment to the Crossrail project. “This is Labour investment versus Tory cuts,” he said.
“And after a cheesy photograph for the Hackney Gazette and a swift TV interview, they were off.”
Even out of office, it seems, Ken can still be responsible for mucking up people’s journeys. For the Tories, King Newt is the gift that keeps on giving!
PS – Next: Ken hosts an alternative State Opening of Parliament in his garden shed.