Wednesday, 10 June 2009

James Cleverly on bloggers and the Boris Effect

James Cleverly AM speaking about the absence of City Hall bloggers from today's debate on Boris's first year.

"Vision. I've heard [that word] bandied about now quite a bit this morning. I want you to use your vision and look around you. Do you see the BBC up there in the gallery? Do you see the Guardian? See Dave Hill? Tory Troll? Mayor Watch? None of them are listening. None of them are here.

"Because they know that this meeting was an opportunity [for the Labour group] to bleat about how you would have liked to have seen it done. Well the simple truth of the matter is that Londoners did not want to see how you would have done it. they wanted to see how Boris would do it. And he has been doing it...

"And when he is here the gallery is full."

Well as it happens I was listening to the meeting, albeit from the safety of the webcast. I have also belatedly tweeted the whole thing.

But still, the chamber did look rather empty, not least because of the four Tory Assembly members who couldn't be bothered to turn up.

The Boris Effect?

But James is right. If it wasn't for the presence of Boris Johnson then people wouldn't be as interested in London politics.

In fact if it wasn't for him, I probably wouldn't even have started covering London politics at all.

But the price of that personal appeal, is that Boris has got away with doing very little since he came to power.

Pushed on what Boris had actually done for the capital since lat year, the best Tory AMs could come up with today was Boris's vote for a park scheme from last year.

Now I've got nothing against that scheme such as it was, but it hardly amounts to a triumphant year in power.

And as Political Animal points out today, the Conservatives have not received the sort of boost from a year of Boris (just +0.6% since 2004) in London that you might have expected.

And in some areas like Greenwich, the Tory vote has gone significantly down since last year.

So while voters are deserting the Labour government in their droves, in London the Mayor;s position is not as secure as it might seem.

And as the 'Boris Effect' begins to wear off, the Tories might just find that a little bit of that vision would be rather useful.


Tony said...

I thought that the Boris effect was that guilty feeling you get after a night out on the tiles. You know you've talked some rubbish but you can't remember exactly what.

AdamB said...

That sounds more like the Barnbrook Effect to me.

Tom said...

it's been so long since we've had a right winger in power maybe we've forgotten how they operate. small state conservatism means doing less not more, a view that dribbles loudly from gilligan over at

with boris, instead of policy and progress we have "personality". maybe, as dave hill wonders today, he has the cojones to take on bob crow. Personally, I doubt it.

Daithai C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daithai C said...

BoJo and BoCro? An epic battle? Somehow I feel both of them are in different ways from another age!!

organic cheesboard said...

You might want to check out a repeat of 5 live breakfast, just after 8am today... Kit Malthouse was on, blaming knife crime on (unspecified) 'violent genres of music' and claiming that not only does stop and search work, but that the promotion of the boy scouts will help to stop knfe crime...

AdamB said...

Not that one again. The Scouts made it clear last year that they want nothing to do with any GLA scheme. They need their independence.

I'll have a listen.

Helen said...

Kit Malthouse - dahn wiv da kidz, innit.

I wonder if his Dad was one of those violent Teddy Boys, ripping up cinema seats after being sent into a frenzy by the sound of Bill Haley & The Comets?

Tom said...

"small state conservatism means doing less not more"

Indeed, if you want to prove how small scale locally organised actions are better than trying to impose small scale local action from the centre, you could do worse than comparing the arbitrary nature of the Rhythm of London or Story of London events against the normal background level of people organising things themselves. For instance, the RoL event up the road from me is in a distinctly out of the way location and the travel advice (evidently not done by a local) is inaccurate, there's no publicity and its in an area with a thriving music event scene anyway. Puzzling.

It may well be that the GLA should organise big events or no events. I'm not sure the current situation is any good, we don't need Boris and co. doing things badly we could do ourselves.

AdamB said...

Oy there's too Toms here now. I was confused there for a second.

Tom F said...

yep, I'm not agreeing with myself!

I'm not a dreary anti- NIMBYist - as many conservatives are - but Boris's tactic of talking a lot but doing f-all surely will end up backfiring.

He needs a strong vision of his uselessness!

"I, er, stand proudly before you all, er, um *flicks hair*, looking across this mighty civitas, and propose to do precisely zero about its many problems, issues and general malaise."