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)