Snipe - The Scoop

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Boris takes a trip to People's Question Time

I'm off with a pocket of bus timetables to watch Boris Johnson face the crowds at People's Question Time. Will you be there? LBC will. More soon...

10 comments:

Helen said...

I look forward to the Troll Report. I couldn't find any coverage of the meeting last night. Did the Fight The Flights flashmob turn up as promised?

AdamB said...

They did although I think calling it a flashmob may be slightly over-egging it. It was quite a good session overall, even though Boris pulled his usual trick of ignoring the difficult questions.

Mark Lee said...

Very disappointed to see that Brian Coleman wasn't there, I was rather hoping to ask a question about taxis...

AdamB said...

Maybe he was at home polishing the Mace. What did you make of the night Mark?

Helen said...

"Maybe he was at home polishing the Mace" - INHICTB.

Mark Lee said...

That's a grim thought about Brian for a Friday afternoon.

Truth be told, it was my first time there. First impressions:

- A bit disappointed that Boris dodged tough questions, often reverting to his usual tactic of "I will investigate..." etc. Or simply not answering them altogether. We expected that anyway, but I think as chair John Biggs could have done more to push him to answer some questions (which he did start doing towards the end).

- The answers were all fairly predictable, but I appreciate not everyone happens to read London political blogs on a fairly regular basis.

- Disappointing lack of absolutely nutty questions or complete curveballs.

- Very surprised at the 66% approval rating for Boris at the end of the meeting, given that it seemed a reasonably hostile audience.

What I thought was interesting was the number of people with questions along the lines of "I've had this proposal / idea / issue, contacted you repeatedly, and had no response whatsoever." I know the Mayor swung his axe quite widely through City Hall - it's interesting to see that I'm not the only one to have found the responsiveness of City Hall to letters, and the quality of responses, nosediving under Boris - I suspect he's cut too many staff to deal with the volume of written correspondence / casework that he receives.

For the record, I was the chap towards the middle left with the (possibly too long) question pointing out all of Boris's environmental failings. Need a bit more practice at speaking in front of a thousand people.

I also stuck in a written question directed at Mr. Coleman regarding taxis, will be interesting to see what response I get...

AdamB said...

Ah so that was you! When I heard that question I genuinely thought to myself 'That person sounds like he reads the London blogs. I bet I've come across him' and it turns out I had.

It was a good question. Shame he didn't answer it but never mind. As for the many people saying they'd been ignored by the mayor's office, this is nothing new. You get people saying that at every PQT and also at some MQTs. I don't know if it's true but as far as press questions go, they're usually pretty good. Maybe it's harder to ignore the press, or maybe there's less correspondence from them, I don't know.

What was your question for Brian?

AdamB said...

Here's another questioner who wasn't answered by Boris:

http://theprogressive.typepad.com/the_progressive/2009/03/an-evening-with-boris.html

Mark Lee said...

It was a bit of a sarcastic question (I thought... "why not"?) - something along the lines of:

"Mr Coleman - is your non-attendance tonight due to a new found respect for the public purse rendering you unable to take a taxi to Bethnal Green? Do you now consider your excessive use of taxis to be an inappropriate use of public money?"

The impression I got (not quite sure if this is correct or not) is that there's a statutory obligation to provide a response in 6 weeks. Will be interested to see what happens...

Nick said...

If you have difficulty getting an answer out of the Mayor – or for that matter TfL, the Police or the LDA about something, why not try and get friendly Assembly Member to ask a Mayor’s Question? For more details on the MQT process see http://www.london.gov.uk/mqt/. For how to contact an Assembly Member http://www.london.gov.uk/assembly/london_assembly_members.jsp

Sadly there isn’t the same facility to ask questions of Assembly Members. Brain Coleman would refuse to answer anyway….