In the wake of what it wouldn’t surprise me to find the mainstream media calling Memorandumgate, BBC London tonight finally noticed that Boris might not actually be in control of his brief, shall we say.

They just ran a rather revealing report, which contained astonishing footage I hadn’t previously seen (although I was in Scotland when the Rise story broke so I suppose that doesn’t mean it wasn’t previously aired).

The report began with the title "MAN OF DETAIL?", before illustrating a number of ways in which Boris didn’t live up to this title.

The astonishing moment came 43 seconds into the report, when Boris was asked, some time in the past few days I assume, about the erasure of the anti-racism message from the Rise festival. His response?

Are you sure? Er-ah, of course, it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be great, whatever happens will be great.

The reporter then put it to him that the statement, that we don’t need an anti-racist theme, was meant to reflect his views about communities and diversity. He looked mystified throughout, and replied:

Well, er, that’s, those are your words, not mine. I, it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be wonderful.

So he hadn’t instructed anyone that that should be removed – we shouldn’t change the theme of it?

I haven’t… I haven’t… I certainly haven’t seen anything to that effect, and I’m sure it’s going to be a wonderful festival.

So he wouldn’t have a problem with it continuing its anti-racist theme, given that that was what its history had been, this summer festival?

Yeah, sounds fine to me.

Seriously: he said it sounded fine to him as it was and there was no need to drop the anti-racism message. (To be honest, he didn’t even look like he’d heard of Rise, let alone made any decisions about it.) Just who is actually running London and actually making these decisions? It’s clearly not the person who over a million (misguided) Londoners voted for.

I thought the language he used was particularly revealing. Not "I haven’t instructed anyone to do this", nor even "I haven’t authorised this": just "I haven’t seen anything to that effect" (my emphasis). That does not sound like a man in day-to-day control of his job.

If only the BBC (and others) had concentrated on Boris’s grasp of the detail of the issues during the campaign, perhaps we wouldn’t now be finding ourselves with such an incompetent Mayor.


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