Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Boris unaware that he has delegated planning

The new Mayor of London Boris Johnson appeared today not to know who is making critically important decisions on his behalf. When asked if it was appropriate that he should delegate strategic planning decisions to an 'unelected, unaccountable' adviser, Mayor Johnson insisted he had not.Yet since he was appointed two weeks ago, Ian Clements - one of Boris Johnson's deputy mayors - has been writing to London Assembly Members saying "the Mayor has delegated his planning decisions to me". - 24 dash

There is a very entertaining write-up of Boris' first assembly question time at the Times web site:

Questioned over a proposal for a new bridge, Mr Johnson said that he was not convinced by it and looked to the Greens for their views on how to get people moving across the Thames River.
“Do you envisage a kind of catapult?” he asked.
He was handed a bicycle helmet by a Labour member and asked if he knew what it was – a reference to his recent failure to observe the rules of the road.
Mr Johnson said he was a “punctilious obeyer” of traffic lights, and would wear a helmet in future: “I am motivated by a desire to be as anonymous as possible”.
On the question of tall buildings, Mr Johnson noted that beauty was often in the eye of the beholder. He said that some of his Assembly peers may want to “blow up the House of Commons”, though he conceded that it was probably not for aesthetic reasons.
Announcing that he would re-phase some traffic lights throughout the capital, he said he was appalled that pedestrians were “forced to sprint at a rate of 1.2 metres per second to get across the road”.
At times he had colleagues scrambling for their dictionaries, telling them he would submit to their “catechism”. Asked about whether his priorities lay in improving conditions for drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians, he could “meditate at length” over that kind of “utilitarian calculus”, although he would not do it today.
Then, questioned at length about the validity of a series of appointments that he has made since his election, Mr Johnson resorted to speaking in Latin. “Speak English,” shouted his opponents.
Criticised for appointing a series of deputy mayors, Mr Johnson said: “I think the more deputy mayors, the merrier. I think they are a wonderful bunch. I haven’t created new posts. I might have sprayed a few titles around.”
He clashed with other members on several occasions and was told by Jenny Jones, for the Greens that “you can’t waffle”.

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