Thursday, 30 April 2009

Me at Comment is free: Boris Johnson's first year

Read the rest here


taitle said...

Your article was really thought-provoking.

I just wonder if Ken will stand in the next election.

AdamB said...

Thanks taitle I'm glad you found it interesting.

Ken Livingstone has said that he will definitely seek the Labour nomination and will abide by the result of a one member-one vote selection. Whether he will get one, whether he would win one, and whether he would stand independently if he lost one, remains to be seen.

Anonymous said...

"Similarly, despite being praised for his libertarian instincts, Johnson has been as quick to ban and to snoop, as any Labour home secretary."

Agreed. Quite generally the Tories are much too quiet on libertarian issues -- but they couldn't be any worse "than any Labour home secretary". Yes, it was Thatcher who first tried to introduce ID cards on the back of football hooliganism. Though her proposal held not a candle to the Blunkett barcode -- tatooed on your kidneys and forehead.

Even Jihad Jenny wrote a balanced article on CIF yesterday.

Is the sky about to fall on top of us?


AdamB said...

Or Jenny Jones as she's known to everybody else...

I was at the same meeting. Lots of interesting stuff to report (within a three hour meeting). I'm just trying to get my head around it all.

Anonymous said...

The GLA is supposed to be mainly a strategic body. We got back an elected authority for London because there needed to be straegic thinking at the London level: waste management, transport, climate change, air quality, all the other planning and environmental issues. So it's not "big ideas" per se that are the issue: big ideas can be daft as well as good. The question is whether there is strategic thinking at the London level.

In my opinion a good start was made in the first eight years of the GLA. There are some good strategy documents backed up by solid analysis. It's far from clear what has happened in the last year: Boris has coasted along on the back of the work already done with some hints and dog-whistles about changes in direction (eg no hierarchy of transport modes). I think that many of the commenters on your CiF piece are barking up the wrong tree when they say that all we want is competent management: there is no evidence that there was incompetence in the first eight years of the GLA and the GLA has to be about much more than competent management.


AdamB said...

Writing about Boris on Cif is a bit of a thankless task. There are a group of commenters who will pretty much cut and paste the same comment underneath whatever Boris-related post is put up and have been cutting and pasting that same comment since May 2008.

What you say about Boris coasting along is true, although that becomes harder in the next few years. The relatively small cuts to the existing budgets so far will become much bigger, especially in transport and policing. It's then that the big decisions will be taken (probably when most people aren't looking). Of course by then he may have passed on a lot of those decision making powers and responsibilities as well.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Based on precedent, if Ken does not secure the Labour Party nomination, I am sure he will stand as an independent. He need not worry about expulsion from the Labour Party as they will let him back in again if he wins!

The real question is could he win, either as the official Labour candidate or as an Independent? Personally, I don’t think so. It wasn’t the national swing against Labour that lost it for Ken last year or Boris’s media popularity. People were simply fed up with him. Every politician has a “best before” date and Ken’s has expired.

As a Conservative I am no fan of Ken’s, but I think he should spare himself the ignominy of what would be, in my opinion, a crushing defeat if he stood again. I don’t think Labour will the next Mayoral election - even if Boris was to make a real pig’s ear of the job, so perhaps they should chose an unknown for 2012 and then by 2016, someone else will have come forward.

Jonathan said...

I was surprised the piece didn't go into a bit more detail. Did CiF impose a word limit? Or were you keeping it short and simple so readers from outside London wouldn't be turned off?

AdamB said...

A bit of both, plus I only had a few hours in which to do it. The Guardian asked me on Monday to write it before the close of business that same day, so I couldn't fit in everything that I wanted to in the time. As it happened, all the Boris coverage got held back a few days, so I could have had another day to finish it, but that's life I guess.

The other areas I wanted to touch on were, the GLA budget, the power struggles within City Hall and Boris's media operation. Ultimately though you can only fit so much into a 600 word piece before it becomes cluttered.

Rayyan said...

Good article, Adam. I would've laid into him a bit more, especially over all the resignations and the remarks about policing - but you're right, the overwhelming sense I get is that Londoners aren't particularly bothered by him, much less know anything he has done over the last year. Thus their impressions of him are likely to remain as they were in May 2008 when a sizeable chunk of them elected him - and I fear that will be the case in May 2012, unless he really balls it up.

Mellie said...

I think Rayyan's right about Londoners' impression of Johnson. The media have given Johnson an easy ride.

But if the Tories win in 2010, things will change. They want working people to pay the cost of the crash, not the rich, and would attack our pay, conditions, welfare, public spending, etc. The narrative they are creating around public debt is a preparation for this.

This would make them very unpopular very quickly. Johnson would suffer too, as he has no alternative to offer.

The least you can say is that 2012 will be a real contest.


Anonymous said...

Boris is deliberately keeping a low profile as part of the Tories' national election strategy. Even though it is almost impossible to see how Labour could win the next general election, the decision has been made to avoid antagonising anyone lest it revive memories of the last Conservative government (or of Horace Cutler for that matter).