The secret diary of Oona King, aged 42½

Just a heads-up for anyone interested in the battle to be Labour’s candidacy for the 2012 mayoral election that the Not-Ken candidate Oona King has a blog. Today’s entry is particularly inspiring reading:

There must be some happy Spaniards in London today. It never seems to matter who wins the World Cup because every four years you can be sure there will always be a community of smiling faces in London. That is the joy of this city. It is alive with so many cultures, the people living here and the tens of thousands who love to visit and boost its economy. So, if you are Spanish this is your day. Viva Espana!

Football? BRILLIANT! World Cup? BRILLIANT! Hey, Oona, you could have suggested putting some big screens up in 2014 while you were here, but never mind. Spaniards? BRILLIANT!

There’s nothing like watching the great footballers on earth to make you want to do something active. Today I’ve been testing the bikes that are to be available for hire across central London at the end of the month. They’re great fun and will be a handy way for people to move quickly across London. When the weather is like this they’re a much more attractive option than the tube.


I see the hire scheme as an extension of the cycling revolution promoted by the previous Labour Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis. His big idea was “cycling hubs” at mainline stations with extra storage and bike repair shops.

There was a cycling revolution promoted by the last government? Was I asleep when it happened? Last time I was in Charing Cross, I couldn’t move for bikes and bike shops and… ah yes, one cycle park per 700 passengers at central London’s railway stations. And there’ll be no cycle hire points at the main London railway terminals. Some revolution.

Indeed, the cycle hire scheme came out of the 2008 mayoral election – first promoted by Ken Livingstone, taken on by Boris Johnson. It had nothing to do with the Labour government. But this is presumably aimed at Labour members, who I suppose are expected to believe any old crap.

And let’s have a word of praise for the humble folding bike. It has revolutionised life for many people, especially in the outer boroughs. You might catch a train to work in London, but the bike does the other two bits of the journey – getting you to the local station and across the West End.

Bromptons? BRILLIANT! Outer boroughs? BRILLIANT! Actually, references to “the outer boroughs” strike me as being a bit patronising, as if their issues can be dismissed with a pat on the head and a kind word or two. If you’ve tried taking a folding bike on a network like Southeastern, I’d be curious to know how it works for you – I’ve hardly seen anyone do it.

So, in summary – the World Cup, Spaniards, bikes, folding bikes, and outer boroughs… all BRILLIANT! If you’re a cycling Spaniard in Sutton, your luck’s in with Oona. No word on what she’d actually do to make your life easier, though. Which is bit of a failing in a mayoral candidate, I’d suggest.

In the meantime, here’s her next campaign video, as she goes for the grey vote.

(UPDATE 9.30PM – As a counterbalance to my narkiness about Oona’s vague positivity, have a read of Tom Chance’s bloghe wants positive ideas from London’s mayoral hopefuls.)


  1. What you need is a nice bike ride to chill out. Perhaps on a Brompton. I’m just rebuilding one, I’ll let you have a go if you want.

  2. If you want a go on a Brompton I’m only down the road from you. Good they are …

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