Breath taking hypocrisy from one of Yesterday’s Men.

Boris told such dreadful lies

It made one stare and stretch one’s eyes.

The (Right) Honourable Member for Uxbridge, who can occasionally be spotted sprawled in an entitled somnolent slump across several green benches in the House of Commons, like a haystack made of melting blubber*, is trying to restore his broken political fortunes by opposing clean air in Outer London. 

Even though 85% of cars in outer London already meet ULEZ standards, Johnson is trying to whip up a “they are coming for your cars” reaction among suburban drivers on a par with the NRA’s campaigns against gun controls. “You will take my steering wheel out of my cold dead hands…”

He says that the ULEZ expansion scheduled for the end of August is unnecessary because Outer London does not have a problem with polluted air.

There is a skill taught in Public Schools called “oiling”. Future masters of the universe are taught to speak complete self-serving BS with such insouciance and self confidence that, even if they’ve just made it up, most people will believe them. Johnson has been found out so many times that people now see though him for the most part; which is why those in the Conservative Party who think he would restore their fortunes if hoisted back into Downing Street are such desperate fantasists, but its a useful exercise to show just how wrong he is.

You can test this on the site on which Imperial College analyses air quality in each post code. Checking three postcodes at random in Johnson’s own Uxbridge constituency reveals one (UB8 1GW) at the 98th national percentile (only two points off being as bad as you can get) and breaching 3 WHO limits. Another (UB8 2DL) is in the 93rd percentile, another (UB10 9LD) is in the 91st, but both also breaching 3 WHO limits. Another (UB8 2DL) is in the 93rd percentile, also breaching 3 WHO limits.

The health consequences of breaching these limits are listed on the site as follows.

Pollutant one: PM2.5

At this address, the annual average of the pollutant PM2.5 is 12.73mcg/m3. The World Health Organization limit is 5mcg/m3.

This study shows 19.9% of strokes were attributed to exposure (for a year or more) of PM2.5 concentrations exceeding 10mcg/m3.

PM2.5 can also cause asthma, jeopardize lung functions and promote cancer.

Pollutant two: PM10

The reading for PM10 at this address is 20.59mcg/m3. The limit is 15mcg/m3.

Exposure (for a year or more) to 20mcg/m3 leads to increased risk of total, cardiovascular and diabetes mortality.

PM10 can cause wheezing, bronchitis and reduce lung development.

Pollutant three: NO2

The reading for N02 at this address is 39.88mcg/m3. The limit is 10mcg/m3.

Exposure (for a year or more) to 40mcg leads to a 11% increased risk of disease related mortality.

There is also strong evidence to suggest it leads to respiratory symptoms including irritation, coughing, shallow breathing and difficulty breathing.

A comparison with Inner London is instructive. NW1 3UD is on the Euston Road. It is in the 99th percentile, NW3 3RE is in the 94th and NW5 4LS in the 92nd; all in the same range as Uxbridge. All breaching the same three WHO limits and all with the same adverse health effects.

So, Outer London does have a polluted air problem and, if Johnson were serious about the need to support people hit by a cost of living crisis exacerbated by governments he has led or supported, and the difficulties faced by people forced to commute into London in old bangers because they have been driven out of the city by the soaring house prices and rents that he was content to let rip as Mayor, he should join Sadiq Khan in demanding that the government match fund the scrappage scheme to support them, in the way they have been prepared to do in Bristol, Bath, Birmingham and Sheffield.

But, I’m not holding my breath…

*If anyone finds this offensive, please be reassured that this is in the same post modernist jokey spirit as Boris Johnson’s Daily Telegraph columns and can’t possibly be taken seriously.