Thursday, 2 April 2009

Boris Johnson walks out in a strop over Snow Day

-Update- More highlights from the transcript:

Boris Johnson: I don't think it behoves you or your committee to cast aspersions on the preparations made by the boroughs or by a lot of hardworking people across London

Graham Stringer: I don't want to put words in your mouth. There's been a lot of those already. But can you tell us if you took any action between getting the notice of this snow and the actual snow starting to fall late on Sunday? I don't want absurd answers about trying to repel snowflakes. Did you call people together? There's been some criticism from the people who've already looked at this from the GLA that….

BJ: Well I don't think there have actually. I don’t think there have. You're talking complete tripe 

Chair: Would you let Mr Stringer put his question

GS: …that there was poor coordination between boroughs

BJ: Complete tripe. Nonsense. Bollocks. Nonsense 

Eric Martlew: Sorry, what was that word?

GS: I would be grateful if you could tell us whether you made any attempts to engage emergency powers, to coordinate the action of the boroughs, to talk to the bus companies, with your strategic role as the leader of transport in Greater London, to ensure that we had the best possible outcome from this event?

BJ: I know what you're trying to do and I understand why you're trying to do it and I respect the narrow, partisan, political reasons why you're trying to do it. The answer is that I did repose complete confidence in my officials and in Transport for London to get the job done and to their best of their ability they did


Peter Soulsby: The fact is, something very exceptional in view of weather conditions was predicted for the capital and you have given us not a single example of anything at all that you did to prepare for it

Boris Johnson: Well I think that's absolute tripe and I'm under obligation to leave

Eric Martlew: Can I ask a partisan question?

BJ: No, because I'm off. (stands up, picks up bag, walks towards exit) 

Chair: Mayor, that is unacceptable to walk out in the middle of a question. Would you please let Mr Martlew ask a question

BJ: (returning, still standing) Mr Martlew asked if he can ask a partisan question 

Chair: Mayor, I do understand that you have a time limit and I have agreed with that. Mr Martlew, could you ask a quick question and the Mayor will be able to answer?

EM: I understand you're going to leave Mr Hendy to answer the hard questions when you go Mr Mayor but the question is..

BJ: Are you saying none of your colleagues have asked hard questions? I think that's an insult to your colleagues

EM: Before you went to bed, did you make enquiries about what was happening that night? And at what time did you wake up and were you informed there was a major problem?

BJ: Well, as Peter has already said, I think he contacted me shortly after six and I think I replied before 7 o'clock in the morning

EM: So you didn't make enquiries that night to see if there was an issue?

BJ: I observed that it had started to snow

EM: But you didn't make any enquiries?

BJ: Oh for god's sake, goodbye (walks out)

Dear oh dear. Journalists knocking his record and politicians asking him questions? This isn't what he signed up for now was it?


AdamB said...

It's a shame he couldn't give this answer again:

Anonymous said...

Did the bad man ask a question? Diddums.

North Briton said...

Who does Boris Johnson think he is? He can't just pick and choose the questions he answers. They weren't particularly partisan and the MPs were rightly fed up the mayor wasn't taking the huge farce of February 2.

Boris just likes the glamour of politics, he is incapable of taking responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Some say distorting and selective, Boris says "bollocks". All are correct.

A committee packed with lefty losers, like a partisan blog, isn't interested in accuracy, truth or objectivity.

Why waste time?

--Rgds, Appealing of Ealing

AdamB said...

Come on AofE it's a cross party committee. All he had to do was answer a few of their questions and instead he chucks his toys out of the pram *again* and ends up in the headlines for having a strop *again*. Why waste your time defending him?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure Eric Martlew could have looked any more smug. He was plainly baiting Boris.

Tom said...

"Why waste your time defending him?"

Quite. Also, who the hell are you?

AdamB said...

"He was plainly baiting Boris"

Poooooor Boris.

Anonymous said...

Just out of interest, are these committess meant to be impartial, or do they tend to be partisan?

AdamB said...

Anonymous 3 - Out of interest are you the same person who's been asking people to complain about Dispatches?

Anonymous said...

It was the usual unproductive exercise in hateful, sniping point-scoring, by a committee of odious weasels.

...most of whom I'm quite sure, couldn't give a monkeys about London transport, or the "effects of adverse weather conditions on transport".

Not good for Britain.


AdamB said...

Still, at least they do their sniping under their own name and out in the open.

Anonymous said...

"Quite. Also, who the hell are you?"

Tom, I know it's a bit rude to answer a question with another question, but does your duvet cover have a bendy bus pattern on it?


AdamB said...

It's one thing being an 'odious weasel'. It's quite another thing being an odious weasel who isn't even brave enough to show their face.

If you're going to be rude to other commenters AofE then do it as yourself or not at all.

Anonymous said...

"It's one thing being an 'odious weasel'. It's quite another thing being an odious weasel who isn't even brave enough to show their face."

Let's be honest, all this fuss about the fact I post anonymously is a lot of humbug. If I started using an account with some name or other (which is what most people are doing), you'd still not know who I am. It's irrelevant.

"If you're going to be rude to other commenters AofE then do it as yourself or not at all."

When you called me a "headcase", or when yesterday the "Tom" person called me a "mug", apparently that was ok.

So if there are rules about posting here, then perhaps you'd be kind enough to explain them to me, because I haven't seen them anywhere, and it's not at all clear. But please don't make any rules to protect me from insult, because I can take it.

Alternatively, it's your blog, and if you really just want to listen to bland affirmations from your friends, then that would be excuse enough to censor me. Again, why waste time?


Anonymous said...

What I meant to say was that no mayor or high ranking political figure should flounce from official questioning. If you're a politician you should be able to answer questions without throwing your toys out of the pram.


AdamB said...

"When you called me a "headcase", or when yesterday the "Tom" person called me a "mug", apparently that was ok."

Yes it is okay because:

a) we're willing to stake our reputations (such as they are) on what we write and,

b) you're not.

" But please don't make any rules to protect me from insult, because I can take it."

You can take it because nobody knows who you are.

Nick said...

As Adam knows I am not a fan of the Mayor.

In almost all cases I agree with people who attack Boris' poor performance, his lack of detail and his not having a handle on the job. It’s just that in this particular instance the Transport Select Committee wasted a session to indulge in what I think was pretty cheap political point scoring.

A detailed and comprehensive report has been done by a devolved body, Transport for London, and the Mayor, have agreed to act on the report’s recommendations – and checks will be made to ensure they do – so what purpose does the Select Committee’s inquiry actually serve? You can see the London Assembly's report at

What would Graham Stringer have been saying today had a Select Committee come and tried to have a pop when he was leader of Manchester City Council? He would have been shouting about how people in Parliament know nothing about life on the ground etc, etc.

Right that’s enough of me supporting the Mayor. Off to find something more sensible to beat up Boris with.

AdamB said...

Nick does make a fair point about the committee. The Assembly had already covered this extensively. That said, this is not the first time Boris has shown contempt for people questioning him, as any visit to Mayor's Question Time will show you. There are ways of dealing with criticism, even the partisan, point scoring kind. Boris's way is to shout it down and walk away with his fingers in his ears. It's not a good look.

Roger Evans said...

I gave evidence to this committee eighteen months ago. At the time it was chaired by the excellent Gwyneth Dunwoody but she was their only saving grace.

They asked me to attend as chairman of the assembly's transport committee to present our cross party findings on the Metronet fiasco, but the questioning soon took a very different route. Most of it involved MPs from the north and Scotland complaining that London and TfL got too much money from the taxpayer and that their own areas could make better use of the cash.

Stringer accused the GLA of failing to adequately control Metronet. The fact that - unlike us - his colleagues had actually been able to vote on GLA powers and on PPP, and had approved both without question, was conveniently ignored.

I left with the impression that they were trying to shift blame for their own failings on to London's government.

AdamB said...

I've no doubt you showed good manners and courtesy throughout though Roger.

Tom said...

"Nick does make a fair point about the committee. The Assembly had already covered this extensively."

Yes, and as I've answered him on LDV, the transcript appears to show that Boris rejects the conclusions of the LA report, even though they were based on the evidence of *the boroughs themselves* that things could have been better co-ordinated.

I'm not entirely sure Boris has even read the LA report.

Anonymous said...

Can you not see that The Mayor for London Boris Johnson is an Educated Thug.

prj45 said...

*unnuch* Whaaaat?!

prj45 said...

*must resist, must resist*

No I can't:[ekm]400x300[ekm].jpg

Helen said...

Ha, prj45, I was thinking the same! Except that I wouldn't call Mr "inverted pyramid of piffle" a gentleman.

Uponnothing said...

Whatever his answers are is pretty irrelevant, not much he could of down no matter what time of day or night he called a meeting. It snowed, lots, people had a day off, not exactly a earth shattering event that we need to get to the bottom of.

Although it is amusing seeing Boris get angry.