Monday, 21 May 2012
Wednesday, 9 May 2012
I was on BBC London News last night talking about what we can expect from Boris Johnson's next four years. You can watch it here.
Andrew Gilligan was also on the show. Both Andrew and Dave Hill believe that the appointment of Stephen Greenhalgh and the new role given to Kit Malthouse demonstrates that Boris is going to be a far more radical right wing figure in the next four years.
I have no doubt that this is the message the appointments were meant to send, but I have serious doubts that after four years of doing almost nothing, Boris is suddenly going to turn into a radically transformative Conservative figure.
Boris has spent a lot of time portraying himself as a "real Conservative" in his Daily Telegraph columns and has made countless right-wing interventions on national issues such as the top rate of tax and banking reforms.
But when it comes to his actual policies it is difficult to find much red meat at all.
His regressive fare rises aside, Boris has done almost nothing to either seriously anger the left or excite the right. Ideologically he's been something of a non-event.
If Boris was going to launch a Conservative revolution in London then he would have started it by now. If he had any great vision for the future of London then there would have been some indication of it in his manifesto. There hasn't been.
At the beginning of Boris's last term he hired radical figures like Tim Parker and launched an investigation into making big cuts to London government. But despite all the rhetoric, nothing much happened.
My own feeling is that Boris will continue to make vocal interventions on national issues whilst doing very little to materially alter London one way or another.
His recent comments on immigration and the economy indicate that he is now mostly concerned with manoeuvring into position to be the next leader of the Tory party. Any radical action in London, might help him in that aim, but it would also be very high risk. Boris has shown no indication that he is willing to take those risks.
He may yet prove me wrong, but I suspect that London after eight years of Boris is not going to be very different from London after four years of Boris.