Building Buses, Creating Culture

Building Buses, Creating Culture

Boris Johnson, the sandy-haired, boyish-grinned, often-hapless, always memorable Mayor of London, this week rolled out his vision for the new Routemaster Buses. It reveals a lot about his values and his vision for London – and indeed the UK as a whole.

• It’s designed and built in the UK;
• It uses ‘clean, green hybrid technology’, making it both economically and environmentally friendly;
• It requires a conductor as well as a driver, increasing employment;
• And, perhaps most importantly to Boris, with its open rear platform, “it restores the concept of a reasonable risk.”

“This bus stands for freedom, and choice, and personal responsibility,” Boris writes.

Yes, of course there is a risk; but that risk is manageable; and without it you have no opportunity to ascend or escape the bus if you want to. It is, as far as I know, one of the few recent examples of a public policy that actually gives back, to sentient and responsible adults, the chance to take an extra risk in return for a specific reward.

Who’d have thought a simple bus could embody so many values?

Here’s to more policies that treat people as sentient and responsible adults – and to people rising to the challenge. Perhaps if we show we can be trusted to get on and off buses all by ourselves, the ‘Health-and-Safety-gone-mad’ culture will begin to sicken and die. And we can all dance on its grave!


Picture Credit: ‘SAVE THE ROUTEMASTER’ by Gideon (Creative Commons)

5 Comments On This Topic
  1. Alisa Russell
    on May 28th at 2:10 pm

    Interesting read. And I agree about the ‘health and safety gone mad culture’. We have that here in the United States too.

    • Jennie Pollock
      on May 28th at 2:52 pm

      Thanks Ailsa. I can actually understand it a little more in the US, where the question of who is going to pay for your hospital treatment if you get injured outside your neighbour’s house, for instance, is actually a significant issue. I still think we should be teaching and encouraging people to take responsibility for their own actions, though, rather than creating a risk-averse/fear-driven society.

      • Alisa Russell
        on May 28th at 2:58 pm

        Yes, that’s the part I meant–about taking responsibility for one’s own actions. People seem to have a real problem with that here.

  2. bob nobes
    on May 28th at 2:23 pm

    I do not work in Health & Safety, but nevertheless am always puzzled when people get so heated about policies. Whilst I agree that there are times when they seem unrealistic but that is not only confined to the policies of H&S. Think of how funding is being slashed from education budgets – is that not a policy worth grave dancing. Or how about the embrago on arms to Syrian rebels and the response from Russia? Good policy?
    Interesting post but let’s be rational, what percentage of the overall benefit of good H&S do the OTT decisions actually represent? Not many I suggest.

    • Jennie Pollock
      on May 28th at 2:49 pm

      Thanks Bob. You’re right, there are bigger and more serious things to worry about in the world than H&S – mad or otherwise. My point in this post was just to look at the kinds of things Boris celebrates and wants our culture to be about. I’m glad that he cares about creating a world in which people are encouraged to think for themselves and take reasonable risks, rather than being babied and hyper-protected all the time as many policies seem to aim at.

      Sorry if that didn’t come across.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.


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