In his speech too the annual London Government Dinner, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:

“When the Jubilee works are complete there will be three lines in London – the Jubilee, Victoria and Central – which will operate on an automated system.

“It is a fact – though not a widely known fact – that as we speak most of the Jubilee Line currently operates under automatic train operation, from Stratford to Neasden. In other words, the driving of the train is done by computer rather than manually.

“Of course there will still need to be someone aboard the train, but thanks to the advanced signalling being installed it is also a fact that anyone in this room could in a matter of a few weeks acquire the qualifications necessary to supervise an underground train.

“The huge potential implications of that change will be obvious to everyone, and so I say to our colleagues in the trades union leadership that I respect and understand the vital role of unions in a free society to secure the best terms and conditions for their members, but I hope they will recognise that the patience of Londoners is not endless.

“They should abandon the recent pattern of pointless strikes.”

The message will please the London Assembly Conservatives – especially Dick Tracey who has done a lot of work on this issue. More to the point if Boris can stand up to the tube unions and defeat them it would be enormoulsy popular with Londoners.

Andrew Gilligan reckons if Boris follows through on this it could be crucial in sealing the deal for his second term starting next year. I agree.

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