Downing Street to Sir Chris Hoy: Thanks, but no thanks

No plans to appoint cycling champion

by John Stevenson   September 12, 2013  

Chris Hoy Autumn 2

The government has turned down Sir Chris Hoy’s offer to work as the UK’s chief cycling officer, attracting criticism from cycling campaigners for its lack of commitment to cycling and ongoing failure to back the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report.

According to The Times, a Downing Street spokesman said yesterday that they “warmly welcome” Sir Chris’s desire to get “more people cycling more safely and more often”, but added that they “don’t have any current plans to appoint a national cycling champion”.

Martin Gibbs, policy director at British Cycling, said: “Be it Sir Chris Hoy, Chris Boardman, or someone else who really understands what has to happen to transform our roads, the Government needs someone with the power to champion cycling and ensure an integrated approach across departments.

“We need to see a proportionate amount of the transport budget allocated to cycling and for all roads to be cycling-proofed at design stage. These are the measures that will really take cycling in this country to the level it needs to be and we must not miss this opportunity.”

Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge and chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, said: “I think it would be excellent for the Government to have a national cyclng champion. Norman Baker, the minister for cycling, does an excellent job, but having that public voice would help.”

14 user comments

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What have they got to lose?
Dicks

posted by Some Fella [700 posts]
12th September 2013 - 18:25

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According to a government spokesman, Eric Pickles is a good enough candidate.

posted by zeb [45 posts]
12th September 2013 - 19:22

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Some Fella wrote:
What have they got to lose?
Dicks

The fact that if they employ someone, they then need to act on what said expert comes up with. They'll be shown up for having zero national policy, no joined up thinking, they'll be held to account on targets - at the moment they can bimble along happily throwing a random few million around here and there but actually doing sod all.

posted by crazy-legs [470 posts]
12th September 2013 - 20:56

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Why is everyone getting their bib knickers in a twist over the governments refusal to act on a hypothetical question in a newspaper interview over an imaginary job?

posted by Nick T [713 posts]
12th September 2013 - 22:50

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So we'll continue to watch lives being taken in exchange for £80 fines whilst being patronized with rhetoric about this government taking road safety seriously. Honestly, do we all need to get in our cars and start an accidental campaign to accidentally KSI members of parliaments families?

If I didn't have better sense and moral fibre I'd consider paying a few hundred quid and being out of my car for a few weeks to accidentally get a few 'road tax' dodging pedestrians of those supposedly at the top.

Shall we let paedophiles become teaching assistants? Maybe we can give commercial pilots with alcohol problems their licence back? Madness the MP would proclaim!

But give an individual with an attitude problem 2 tonnes of metal and hope for the best? Sure. Thanks Mr. Cameron.

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [114 posts]
12th September 2013 - 22:55

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..eh?

posted by Nick T [713 posts]
12th September 2013 - 23:00

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They are lining up Pat McQuaid.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [916 posts]
12th September 2013 - 23:25

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Britain has many cycling-related problems: a judicial system that's biased in favour of the motorists, generally unhealthy lifestyle of a large percentage of the population, bad infrastructure planning that has been affected decades of pro-motor lobbying, (just look at the state of rail transport for another example of how motor-centric thinking has screwed the country over). Not to mention vile, unthinking hostility towards any perceived "others", whether it's cyclists, the poor, or immigrants.

And appointing a retired sportsman with no political experience or clout, no experience in sustainable transport planning and development, and no experience in management, administration or public advocacy, is not the solution, believe you me. But of course, since the problem has no easy solution, and talking about it takes too many big words and long sentences, let's just whine about how our beloved Sir Chris is not given some made-up job with no real power.

Seriously, the last thing Britain needs at this moment is another enthusiastic amateur in the government.

posted by Shanghaied [39 posts]
13th September 2013 - 0:43

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Both of them are completely unsuitable. Both Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Chris Boardman:

a) do not hail from civilised parts of the world
b) do not live in civilised part of the world
c) did not go to a good school
d) embezzled their knighthoods by indecent and dishonourable methods - sport, rather than honourable methods in the boardroom setting up jobs for retiring politicians or donating money to political parties.

Honestly, did Sir Chris Hoy honestly think he could have a voice in government when all he's done is ride bicycles?

posted by Argos74 [249 posts]
13th September 2013 - 4:05

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Shanghaied wrote:

And appointing a retired sportsman with no political experience or clout, no experience in sustainable transport planning and development, and no experience in management, administration or public advocacy, is not the solution, believe you me. But of course, since the problem has no easy solution, and talking about it takes too many big words and long sentences, let's just whine about how our beloved Sir Chris is not given some made-up job with no real power.

Seriously, the last thing Britain needs at this moment is another enthusiastic amateur in the government.

+1

It's exactly this sort of publicity friendly appointing of powerless advisors that saw the previous government assigning Lloyd Grossman the task of improving NHS food, and judging by the slop they're serving when my wife was in hospital recently I'm struggling to see where that £40million actually went.

posted by Nick T [713 posts]
13th September 2013 - 8:30

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Nick T wrote:
Shanghaied wrote:

And appointing a retired sportsman with no political experience or clout, no experience in sustainable transport planning and development, and no experience in management, administration or public advocacy, is not the solution, believe you me. But of course, since the problem has no easy solution, and talking about it takes too many big words and long sentences, let's just whine about how our beloved Sir Chris is not given some made-up job with no real power.

Seriously, the last thing Britain needs at this moment is another enthusiastic amateur in the government.

+1

It's exactly this sort of publicity friendly appointing of powerless advisors that saw the previous government assigning Lloyd Grossman the task of improving NHS food, and judging by the slop they're serving when my wife was in hospital recently I'm struggling to see where that £40million actually went.

erm, Loyd Grossman.

Jamie Oliver does a good job in highlighting shite food, if Sir Chris thinks he can make people accountable for cyclists then he should just get on with it. He has just as much clout as Jamie Oliver with the press. Seems he/his management want another PR angle to keep the fire burning to me, bad move.

Ah, but that was then

posted by Pitstone Peddler [104 posts]
13th September 2013 - 9:30

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He shouldn't get the job as an ambassador of cycling, why should he? just because he thinks he should? The sheer arrogance. The Government in this case is right ....

posted by Karbon Kev [661 posts]
13th September 2013 - 9:51

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Yeah, it's not the lack of a SCH appointment I'm moaning about - to be honest I don't think he'd do a very good job other than perhaps in a public awareness way.

I was more complaining about the Government not bringing in *anyone* as a "cycling tsar" (or whatever this weeks' publicity term is...) for fear of being held accountable when they fail to meet standards.

As others have said, SCH has no knowledge of road design, planning, standards, the politics around it etc. Give him credit though, he's not half bad at riding a bike. Wink

I'd have thought he'd have enough on his plate anyway with his bike brand and media commitments.

posted by crazy-legs [470 posts]
13th September 2013 - 10:10

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Don't wish to get started on whether Edinburgh is a civilised part of the world, but I can assure you in the circles that I wouldn't be accepted in, George Watsons College (Sir Chris) is an excellent private school. Just saying. Obviously Chris Boardman's state school in the Wirral might meet your criteria, but I doubt he gives a stuff.

Is Chris Boardman aware of his knighthood? He has an MBE - does he get a free upgrade?

Why is there never a tailwind?

posted by What Mid Life Crisis [13 posts]
13th September 2013 - 11:26

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