3/30/2009

The Trouble with Boris - Channel 4 Dispatches

No doubt Tories will come out with a ringing endorsement of Boris Johnson after the Channel 4 expose of his first year in charge in the capital, but at the half way point through the hour long investigation the basic accusation against Boris Johnson is, as I understand it, that he ;

1) Is obsessed with gimmicks that have no meaningful effect.
2) Makes claims about making London more eco friendly but his policies have the opposite effect.
3) Writes letters to interest groups but then does the opposite of what he promises.
4) Seems to favour friends who employ him or offer him free rooms for his campaigns.
5) Consults with staff on the basis that they reply quickly so he can "get the story in to The Sun".
6) Appoints people to high office within London who seem to be unqualified or have dubious qualifications for the role.
7) Pushes excessive new "social" housing in to Labour boroughs and away from Tory ones, in a way that I assumed to be a "Gerrymandering" exercise.
8) He has not got a clue about the way the Police have to remain operationally independent and that he sought to exert pressure on and intervene in police matters.

And we are only half way through the 60 minutes.

Labour had hoped that a Boris victory would let the cat out of the bag about what the Tories are like when in power. It appears they may be getting their wish.

8 comments:

digitaltoast said...

As I was watching it, I thought "is it just me who sees sloppy journalism here?". So I setup a twitter search, and people were saying " Looks like Dispatches just said "Who hates Boris as Mayor?" and filmed the results... Who needs balanced nowadays, eh?" and "sounds more like an unjustified personal attack" and "It's all a bit one-sided." My girlfriend thinks Boris is great "as a person" but doesn't like his mayoral role, but even she said it was "like a 19 year old ranting first year journalism student doing his first camera piece after writing for Socialist Worker"! Dispatches is usually very good, but to me it looks like they took the abovementioned journalist and crossed it with the kind of youtube-quality documentary you might see on Edge TV or something. Very very poor.

As the user gordonchas posted on the channel 4 forums....

A big deal was made of the recorded conversation with Guppy from nearly 20 years ago. "The first time this has ever been heard" we were breathlessly told. Now we know why. More nothing about an incident that never even happened.

No sensation, no balance, no interest. No thanks

M from Norwich said...

Yes but he's so cuddly and harmless that anyone would love to have him as their favourite politician. What harm is there in the man?

He shows us that Tories can have warm, friendly nature and be in tune with the populace (which did vote him in, clearly!).

Norfolk Blogger said...

It is the sort of programme that was similarly done on Ken Livingston and the Tories lauded it.

Anonymous said...

Of course the difference being that the Livingston documentary was made at the end of his EIGHT YEAR reign as Mayor, not 12 months into his tenure.

Not quite the same.

Chairman Bill said...

If anyone thinks they're going to get balanced reporting on TV these days, they're in for a shock. Everyone has an axe to grind, or panders to the polulist agenda.

Norfolk Blogger said...

It took 8 years to come up with one hour of stuff on Ken.

It took 11 months to get one hour of stuff on Boris.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

It's a long while since Polly Toynbee asked the question:
... how has [Boris Johnson] survived the Darius Guppy scandal when he was recorded agreeing to find a journalist's contact details so old Etonian friend Guppy could have the man beaten up?

Let it also be recalled that Johnson did not get the boot from Michael Howard's Shadow Cabinet because he was screwing Petronella. It was because he repeatedly lied about his relationship with her. He also, apparently, misled Petronella over some four years that he was ditching his wife.

Howard's memorable contribution to the state of British morals was the gem:

"Howard said the sacking was because Johnson had lied over the affair. It had nothing to do with morality."

If my count is right, that means the Seventh Commandment is void, but not the Ninth. That's Tory Family Values in practice.

That episode concluded with Boris blasted across the respectable headlines by the fragrant Lady Verushka Wyatt. It also demonstrated such great intellects, making out in the back of taxis in the streets of St John's Wood, canoodling to a tape of Puccini, had not grasped the mechanics of contraception.

Should we also be keeping an occasional eye on the welfare of Anna Fazackerley? She was, of course, the 29-year-old "miniskirt-wearing blonde" that the News of the Screws noted being visited by Johnson three times in a fortnight. Then, last September, she was back working for Policy Exchange, the Boris-friendly "think-tank" which provided Anthony Browne, the head of policy at City Hall, and Nick Boles as the interim chief of staff. Small world.

digitaltoast said...

It took 8 years to come up with one hour of stuff on Ken.

It took 11 months to get one hour of stuff on Boris.


Er...if you call "stuff" just asking around if anyone doesn't like Boris, then playing tapes from 20 years ago which prove no point, then yes. You ever thought of watching a channel called Edge TV on Sky/cable? I have a feeling you might like it!

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