Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Boris, Barnbrook and the Prosopography of bananas

Boris Johnson was accused of turning the Mayoralty into an 'empty vessel' today, after delegating most of his powers to unelected advisors and deputies.

At an ill-tempered and repetitive session of Question Time, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green members of the Assembly all questioned an increasingly frustrated Boris as he repeated his time-worn response that Londoners would care more about results than procedures

But as his questioners refused to be fobbed off, he lost all patience and accused them of being 'pompous' and obsessed with the 'prosopography' of his administration. 

And as if that language wasn't 'clear and unambiguous' enough, he went on to deny any comparison between himself and a 'potemkin figure' pitched to conceal the real source of power. No such comparison had been made.

However, with no translator or historian to hand, Assembly members were forced to ask their questions all over again. 

And frustrated as he was with the assembly's apparent ignorance of medieval and Crimean military history and their relevance to London government, Boris switched instead to his ever-trusty stock of Latin proverbs, none of which seemed to do the trick.

Eric Wimp or Bananaman

But as both the assembly and the audience started to drift off, the BNP's Richard Barnbrook pulled out a banana and began to chomp away. But unlike Eric Wimp, this act of defiance did not appear to have any visible transformative effect. 

In fact when a City Hall official politely asked him to put the fruit away, he rose not like Bananaman to battle, but sank Wimp-like into a pliant concession.

But when his turn finally came to ask his questions, London's favourite fascist didn't disappoint. Due to ask a question on 'black cab drivers' (he wants more white ones) Barnbrook instead decided to thank Boris for having 'taken race out of the Rise festival'. 

The Chair Jeanette Arnold, who has become a figure of hatred on far right bulletin boards since Barnbrook's election, ruled the point out of order and the assembly moved on. But when Barnbrook got his second chance to speak, he completely lost his rag.

His question on crime rates and Afro-Caribbeans was initially more third rate than Third Reich as he attempted to frame it as being asked out of concern for his 'black constituents'. 

But when Boris replied that 'Londoners will be thoroughly dismayed by this racist breakdown' Barnbrook suddenly turned red and began to shout and thump the table.

And as he continued to rage and ignore the ruling of the Chair, all pretence of him being a serious politician peeled away. And as the session slipped by, the audience were left with little more than the off-colour sight of the BNP's very own Mr. Bananaman.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good to see they're all taking it so seriously. What a shower.

Chris said...

I watched it on the webcast and Barnbrook looked like he had had a haircut. Do you think someone told him that the Adolf look just isn't fly anymore?

Anonymous said...

Fantastic stuff. If you can stomach a look at Barncake's blog, he writes about it in a rather different way. You know the sort of thing 'they tried to silence me and made a bad mistake etc'.

The Tory Troll said...

Lol. He was looking quite tanned as well. As a friend said to me as we were watching, Barnbrook might have a rogue gene or two somewhere there. Maybe it's not just Boris with the exotic heritage.

Doug said...

Does Boris not realise that his apparent inability to speak in plain english just looks suspicious? You'd almost think he was trying to hide something, using words he must know aren't common street parlance...

Or is he really so out of touch that he's not aware many Londoners don't carry a thesauraus in their pockets?

The Tory Troll said...

It's part evasiveness, part just showing off. I'm pretty sure that 90% of Boris's motivation to become Mayor was the opportunity to a) win and b) showboat for four years. The whole business of having to answer serious questions is an just an annoying distraction from that so he switches to what he enjoys most: talking bumbling bollocks.

At one point he started to tell a story about turn of the century tram systems. He introduced it by saying: "Can I tell you a story. It isn't a particularly interesting or funny story but I'm going to tell it anyway."

I pretty much stopped listening to him after that.

Exile said...

The Potemkin and prosopography points do kind of tie in, and you don't have to be an historian to get the reference to the first one. By making that point, Boris was denying the charge that he leaves things to others.

Prosopography is more problematical. You would only use that method if you didn't have enough information about individual people. Assuming that you have group records for a settled community, then you can create a group analysis of that community. Basically, that's what prosopography is.

However, every bugger knows more than enough about all the individuals who make up Boris' crew, so why use that method to study them?

Conclusion: Boris was denying that he leaves things to other people to run, but he knew that most members were too thick to get the references, so threw them in to taunt.

It was a very, very good answer, and he can refer back to it when people make the same charge again. It is not his fault that they didn't understand.

The Tory Troll said...

No it's not his fault we're all thick plebs. Our problem is we just don't deserve him.

Doug said...

Clearly. Our fault we haven't all gone to Eton, absolutely...

Richard Farnos said...

Sorry to be pedantic but Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin (1739-1791), had nothing to do the Soviet era but was a general-field marshall, statesman, and favourite of Catherine II the Great. He was involved in the coup that deposed Peter III that put Catherine on the throne. He was believed to be her lover and real power by the throne. He probably is best known for Potemkin villages - fake settlements he was supposed to have erected to impress Catherine during her visit to newly occupied Crimea. I suppose it was this to which Boris was referring. Although given a power relation between Potemkin and the Queen, and this why I bore you with all this, it may be more accurate to see Boris as Catherine and Tim Parker as Potemkin!

Exile said...

(Yawn)

Listen lads, if that jibe was directed at me you are wasting your time. I went to a sec. mod. and left school at 15, as people did in those days. OK, 12 years later I became friends with a certain Alex Johnson, as he then was, but that was down to the WEA and Ruskin, not Eton and Balliol.

So lose the chippiness, 'cos all you do is give me a laugh. Listen to what is being said, understand it, and then answer it. If that is too much, let's find some buggers who can.

The Tory Troll said...

Thank you for the extra info Richard. I stand corrected (and so does the article). I hope you're pleased Angela if you're reading this. We're back on the educational stuff now!

Exile said...

Are you censoring comments? I left one last night in reply to two that were tossed in my direction and it hasn't appeared.

Jack said...

Londoners would care more about results than procedures

Of course they would. But the assembly is there to care about procedures.

Does anyone know when this one's going to be on BBC Parliament? There was a gap of about a fortnight between the last one and it being shown on telly and radiotimes doesn't have it shown for being in the next two weeks. I don't want to miss the first hour like I did of the last one.

The Tory Troll said...

You can watch all of the meetings on the Mayor's website

The Tory Troll said...

*Exile* No censoring 'Exile'. For some reason your comments got held up by the spam filter. Can't really explain why that would be. Maybe there is a lot of rubbish coming this way from Mexico or something.

Exile said...

It happens all the time, mate. Blame it on TelMex, that's what I say.

Seriously you have a nice site here and I think that it is one of the best Boris watch places around. There is no way on God's green earth that I will ever vote Tory, the problem is that Nu-Labour makes my piles itch as well.

The key to undermining Boris is that he is bone-idle. Sooner or later his natural indolence will catch him out. Just be ready for that.

And lose the chippiness...

The Tory Troll said...

Chippy, me? Never.

By the way, what are WEA and Ruskin and how did you come to know Al?

Exile said...

Workers' Education Association - I got involved in it via my union's education department.

Ruskin College, Oxford, in my day was closely linked to the unions, and the Labour and Communist Parties. Always independent of the university, Ruskin men had matriculated status, so could join all the societies.

Hence the Oxford Union and Boris Johnson.