London Lantern

Putting the Spotlight on London

What A Way To Run A City

30/11/2000, By Richard, 7th Earl of Bradford

Reader Rating: 2.9 from 19292 votes


Our 'beloved' party-loving, newt-collecting London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, was determined that the celebration of this New Year's Eve in London was going to eclipse last year's. With the help of pop entrepreneur Sir Bob Geldof, he resolved that they would combine their talents to put on the largest fireworks display ever, with an estimated bill of 3.5 million. However, he had ever-so-slightly underestimated the logistical problems.

London Underground and its workers, after weeks of dithering, decided that they would close all the major Tube stations in Central London after 4 pm, as they felt that they could not guarantee safety.

So, faced with this destructive complication, the Mayor capitulated to the inevitable and stated that they would switch the display to five o'clock in the afternoon. However, as it would already be dark by then, he then realised that there would probably not be enough toilets in Central London to cope, but also found that it clashed with main sponsor Capital Radio's contractual obligation to broadcast the Pepsi Chart.

Ironically, as the Mayor was cancelling the whole event, the Tube authority said it would, after all, run an improved service on New Year's Eve. But the offer came too late.

Mr Geldof, who described the Mayor's efforts as "magnificent" stated that the rail companies should receive a huge part of the blame. He added: "I've organised major events all over the world, but I have never come against the inability to get things done as I have for this."

His remarks were heartily endorsed when a senior London Underground manager, on being informed that the fireworks were not going ahead, said: "Good. Now we can run our trains safely."

So they have cancelled the whole event! What a way to run a city.

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