Confessions of a Political Animal

October 21, 2008

Questioning Boris: some highlights (& lowlights)

Tory Troll has alerted me to the fact that the written answers from the Mayor’s most recent Question Time session (which we previewed here) are now available for public consumption, although as yet only in the rather clunky pdf format [post now updated with direct links]. Forgive me therefore if I can’t yet provide direct links to the questions and answers discussed below – we’ll have to wait for the ‘Mayor answers to London’ section of the website to be update for that.

Most of the Mayor’s responses are the normal carefully phrased promises to do everything and nothing that we have come to expect, or indeed constitute blatant attempts to answer a different question to that which was asked. A few responses caught my attention, however.

In question 2195/2008, Labour’s Val Shawcross asked for a list of the stakeholders consulted regarding the Mayor’s proposals to allow motorcycles into bus lanes. Johnson’s answer:

The following stakeholders will be consulted with regards to the use of Motorcycles in bus lanes:

  • All of the Boroughs with bus lanes on the TfL road network, together with the emergency services
  • The Freight Transport Association
  • The Road Haulage Association
  • The Post Office (more…)

October 11, 2008

A continuing question of scrutiny

A few weeks ago, I took Tory London Assembly Member Roger Evans gently to task for a low-grade ConservativeHome article in which he claimed that the Conservative Assembly group was doing a pretty good hash of their new-ish role as Boris’ cheerleaders ‘critical friends’. In that post I pointed out that the Tory group was asking a miserably low number of questions of the Mayor per member compared with the other parties and that the quality didn’t make up for the lack of quantity.

So, how goes the scrutiny of the Mayor from the ‘government’ benches? Well, the first big change is that Roger Evans himself is now the Conservative group’s leader. And the second big change…is that nothing much has changed. The Conservative group is continuing to table nearly four times fewer questions to the Mayor (questions for October 15th Mayor’s Question Time here) per member than any other party group. Even the Assembly’s increasingly delusional resident fascist Richard Barnbrook has found time – despite having single-handedly deposed Sir Ian Blair – to table five questions (and only two involve some form of race baiting! Well done Richard – you can kick the habit!). The Tories managed to piece together just 4.4 each, with Roger Evans and Brian Coleman, another (more…)

September 1, 2008

Taxi for Mr Coleman?

Filed under: Conservatives,London Politics,Olympics — Political Animal @ 10:54 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Is Boris Johnson’s HR strategy going to go horribly, laughably wrong again?

Brian Coleman, London Assembly member for Barnet & Camden is famous for many things. Post-humously outing Ted Heath; running up taxi bills nearly as high as all the other Assembly members combinedat least twice; branding one of the universities in his constituency as ‘crap’; being banned from driving for six months and, perhaps most shamefully of all, being described as a hero by Richard Littlejohn.

For the past eight years, London has had the joy of seeing the delectable Mr Coleman ensconced as chair of the Assembly in alternate years, thanks to a grubby little deal with the Liberal Democrat group. As constant oppositionalists, the remaining rump of the Lib Dem Assembly group quickly deserted Brian once Boris descended upon City Hall, suddenly becoming more than happy to support Labour’s (successful) nominee for chair, Jennette Arnold. Luckily for our Brian, Boris had a consolation prize in store – because Coleman collects titles, (more…)

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