Monday, 30 March 2009
Channel 4's Dispatches did a hatchet job programme on Boris Johnson as London mayor last night. It's evident that Bozza has his faults: no overall strategy; too keen on getting in the media (but which politician isn't); and obsessed with bendy buses which are not as problematic as he claims.
However, this problem lacked any balance whatsoever and I thought that Channel 4 had a public service obligation. It even dragged up a conversation that Boris had had years ago with a friend subsequently convicted of fraud. This was trailed as a great revelation given that the friend was proposing to have a journalist worked over, but Bozza seemed to be trying to restrain him, at least in terms of the level of violence applied.
At the start of the programme Bozza was blamed for not doing anything about the global financial crisis, although quite what the Mayor of London is supposed to do about that, or what powers he has to do anything, escaped me. In many ways, although there are considerable planning powers attached to the post, it is a symbolic role.
Bozza was also quite right in one of his major decisions, to get rid of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. Whatever the Minister for London (who has hardly covered himself in glory over his expenses) may say, the post was politicised under New Labour.
Quite understandably Bozza got a bit irritated at the television team that trailed him and I ended up feeling sorry for him which I am sure was not the programme maker's intention. Ken only made a brief appearance, but I am sure he enjoyed the programme.