Boris the turtle
Boris the turtle – from MayorOfLondon’s TwitPic

Dave Hill’s been doing a lot of excellent coverage on the fallout of the G20 policing: his blog is highly recommended reading.

The key Boris-related theme this week has been the near-total silence of the Mayor on this subject.

From the man who merrily stuck his oar into the Damien Green arrest, tipping off his old mates by telephone despite holding the chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, the defence that he can’t comment on G20 as he shouldn’t interfere with an ongoing investigation looks pretty thin.

Likewise, the Mayor who improperly forced out Sir Ian Blair from the helm of the Met can’t really get away with avoiding interviews out of respect for due process and protocols.

So, what do we learn about Boris’s priorities from this week?

Essentially, what we’d long suspected: Boris is only interested in being associated with unadulterated, press office-initiated, positive news – simple messages which don’t require sensitivity or careful explanation, or a grasp of key details. So he’ll storm out of Parliament if they try to associate him with his own abject failure to get a grip on Snow Day, and now we see he’ll finally, reluctantly get an aide to knock up a barebones, mealy-mouthed press release last thing on a Friday when faced with the Ian Tomlinson case snowballing into its third week.

Of course, being Mayor of London is a busy job; but it’s all about priorities. This week he’s managed to announce plans to stick bits of plastic or metal over dug-up bits of road, and indeed only today to meet a turtle named Boris at the London Aquarium – all the while avoiding all requests for interviews about the police. His Twitter feed is its usual hard-hitting self, of course.

Which, as Dave Hill and others have pointed out, doesn’t really suggest a Mayor delivering on his election promises to stand up for the ordinary citizen against the alleged abuses of the police.

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2 Responses to G20: Boris goes into his shell

  1. Or, of course, that the storm of criticism that hit him over the Damian Green affair (and look how that one turned out) made him think twice about speaking out like that again. You can’t have it both ways… either he was right to speak, or he’s right to stay quiet now.

  2. …or neither – it was stupid to intervene in a politically compromising case like the Green arrest, but the current storm is about the fundamentals of how the police, er, police. Someone elected with so much spin about policing and who has taken the chair of the MPA should be playing a lead role in dealing with this stuff, not leaving it to Kit ‘fantasy airport’ Malthouse while he visits namesake turtles.

    Of course, he would need to tread carefully in his public pronouncements – perhaps his repeatedly evidenced inability to do this is the real reason why it’s thought best he keeps his mouth shut completely.

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