Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Boris Johnson's happy discussion is miserably short

"I hope" said Boris Johnson, "that this will be the first of many happy discussions." But as Guto Harri watched his boss's time tick by, it soon became clear that any happiness would be brief and any discussion briefer still.

The best and worst of Britain's press had gathered on the ninth floor of City Hall for their first real opportunity to quiz the new Mayor of London. But with a half hour limit on 'discussion' and with few reporters getting more than one question in, the whole event was as disappointing as I had feared it would be.

Boris himself was looking pale, and without Ken Livingstone by his side, he lacked the competitive drive that had marked his appearances during the campaign. 

I had at least expected some new jokes, but without the opportunity to send Ken into the European space programme or on a bus with his freedom pass, or on a bike with his cycling lessons, there was no longer a target for his fire.

Gone too we were told, were the weekly press conferences that were held by the last Mayor, and gone too were the open-ended sessions that had gone with them. And with Guto by the side, there was to be a strict thirty minute rule.

He would, he promised be "as open as possible" but did not want, he said to "impose on our time." Any dangers of him outstaying his welcome seemed increasingly slim though, and as the clock hit the half hour point, he was quickly swept out of the room.

In front of me was Dave Hill from the Guardian. But as we packed up to leave, it became obvious that his 'ten questions for Boris' set yesterday had been perhaps a little ambitious. Of course in the old days of the notoriously translucent and unaccountable Ken Livingstone administration, Dave's questions would have been fobbed off with that well known tactic of answering every single one of them. 

But in the new and happily transparent Boris regime there are clearly 'better ways' for us all to discuss these things together. I just guess we will have to wait until next month to find out exactly what they are.


Helen said...

I was particularly impressed by his response to the Evening Standard's question about neglecting to appoint an Environmental Adviser: "We are going to see an appointment in due course. I don't see any particular reason to rush this one...we have to get the right candidate"

He managed to appoint hordes of "advisers" and "Deputy Mayors" without tendering and interviewing to find the best candidates...funny.

The Tory Troll said...

The environment is now apparently his 'number one priority.' Presumably it is as much of a number one priority as the dozen other number one priorities he has collected in the last few months. I wonder how many number one priorities it is possible for one man to have, and whether he has any number two or number threes as well. If not, it must make it terribly difficult for him to get anything done.

Bobbin said...

It's Boris Leavingsoon then :)

stuart_graham said...

To be honest, this must be BoJo's 4th priority, following on from angering the sculptors, cancelling the Venezuelan oil deal and his disastrous handling of the banning of alcohol on the tube.
And we've only had one month of him!