Saturday 9 May sees Boris Johnson’s second annual State Of London Debate, intended to allow the London electorate to directly question the Mayor, the London Assembly and representatives of the other bodies under the Mayor’s control such as the MPA and the LDA.  Relegated last year to an evening event it has reverted to an all-day event on a Saturday, but in a massively truncated form. The State Of London Debate now  features only five “policy sessions” in the morning which repeat in the afternoon, enabling members of the public to attend, at most, two sessions.

The last State Of London Debate under the previous GLA administration, in 2007,  featured 16 different discussion sessions over three different time slots, enabling Londoners to attend more sessions on a far greater range of subjects and with many more expert speakers. If you wanted to question a member of the MPA, for instance, in 2007 you could have been face-to-face with  Steve House, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and Cindy Butts, Independent Member of the Metropolitan Police Authority. This year, however, Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor for Policing is joined by two fellow Assembly Members who are members of the MPA rather than any serving police officers.

As for Transport, in 2007  you could have directly questioned Peter Hendy, Commissioner of  Transport For London (I attended this session and it was very popular, with many questions asked and all receiving satisfactory answers) but this year you’ll be faced with the associate editor of Transport Times, the Lib Dem and Tory members of the London Assembly Transport Committee, the Tory chair of the London Councils’ Transport & Environment Committe and Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor’s Director of Transport Policy. I’m guessing Kulveer won’t be supplying many answers at this session as the usual public questions are about specific bus routes and transport interchanges, about which he quite possibly doesn’t possess the encyclopaedic knowledge of Peter Hendy. Nor does he possess the power to immediately influence day-to-day operations. Accountability, eh?

The previous State Of London Debates and their post-debate reports have now been removed from the GLA website, in Boris’s usual manner of censorship and re-writing history, but thanks to the Internet Wayback Machine I present the 2007 programme for comparison with that of the  new (un)accountable GLA:

12 May 2007 programme

10.00 to 11.25 Opening Plenary: The State of London Debate
Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London
Chair: Councillor Brian Coleman, London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden
11.35 to 12.50 2012 Olympic Games – A lasting legacy for London
Paul Deighton, Chief Executive, London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
David Higgins, Chief Executive, Olympic Delivery Authority
Manny Lewis, Chief Executive, London Development Agency
Denise Lewis, Olympic Gold Medallist
Chair: Victoria Derbyshire, Broadcaster
Multiculturalism: a key to London’s success
Diane Abbott MP, Hackney North & Stoke Newington
Gautam Banerji, Executive Member, Legal and Social Protection, Hindu Council UK
Pauline Berry, Interim Programme Director, Diversity Works for London
Inayat Bunglawala, Assistant Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain
Dr Indarjit Singh, Director, Network of Sikh Organisations
Wilf Sullivan, Race Equality Officer, Trades Union Congress
Chair: Redmond O’Neill, Director, Public Affairs and Transport, Mayor’s Office
London’s success: ensuring everyone benefits
Karen Buck MP, Regent’s Park and Kensington North
Dinah Cox, Chief Executive, Race on the Agenda
Kate Green, Chief Executive, Child Poverty Action Group
Steve Hart, London Regional Secretary, Transport and General Workers’ Union
Neil Jameson, Lead Organiser, London Citizens
Jane Wills, Professor, Queen Mary’s University of London
Chair: Neale Coleman, Director, Business Planning and Regeneration, Mayor’s Office
London: the most successful world city?
Martine Ainsworth-Wells, Marketing Manager, Visit London
Ricky Burdett, Centennial Professor in Architecture and Urbanism, London School of Economics and Political Science
John Ross, Director, Economic and Business Policy, Mayor’s Office
Chair: Judith Woodward, Senior Policy Adviser, Cultural Strategy, Mayor’s Office
London’s transport journey
Peter Hendy, Commissioner, Transport for London
Chair: Samira Ahmed, Broadcaster and Journalist

Please contact Transport for London to put your question to Peter Hendy in advance of the debate.

13.50 to 15.05

Thames Water

Tackling climate change – what cities can achieve
Pooran Desai, Director, One Planet Living and Co-Founder, BioRegional
Paul de Zylva, Friends of the Earth England
Farhana Yamin, Fellow in Environment, Institute for Development Studies
Mark Watts, Principal Adviser on Climate Change, Mayor’s Office
Chair: Samira Ahmed, Broadcaster and Journalist
Democracy for all Londoners
Anas Altikriti, British Muslim Initiative
Jon Cruddas, MP
Bishop John Francis, Ruach Christian Ministeries
Gloria Gomez, Leader, The Latin Front
Councillor Deniz Oguzkanli
Dilip Joshi, Executive Officer, Equality & Diversity, Hindu Council UK
Dr Alistair Soyode, Chief Executive, Ben TV
Dr Mary Tilki, Chair, Federation of Irish Societies
Chair: Lucy Anderson, Business Manager, Public Affairs and Transport, Mayor’s Office
Skilled for success – jobs and training in the capital
John Attree, Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, London First
Dinah Caine, Chief Executive, Skillset
Barry Francis, Unionlearn Regional Manager, Trades Union Congress
Bill Rammell MP, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further & Higher Education
Dame Ruth Silver, Board Member, London Skills and Employment Board
Chair: Khamani Eze, Business Manager, Major Projects, Mayor’s Office
London Assembly London Assembly: 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games – the legacy for Londoners
Jennette Arnold AM, Labour, North East
Bob Blackman AM, Conservative, Brent & Harrow
Dee Doocey AM, Liberal Democrats, Londonwide
Damien Hockney AM, One London, Londonwide
Jenny Jones AM, Green, Londonwide
Chair: Mark Demery, Head of Assembly External Relations
The importance of London’s waterways
Mark Bensted, London Director, British Waterways
Richard Everitt, Chief Executive, Port of London Authority
Robert Runcie, Director, Environment Agency
Chair: Murad Qureshi AM; Chair, London Waterways Commission
Women in London today
Denise Burke, Head of Childcare, London Development Agency
Dawn Butler MP, Brent South
Davina James-Hanman, Director, Greater London Domestic Violence Project
Gita Patel, Director, Stargate Capital
Chair: Anni Marjoram, Policy Adviser, Women’s Issues, Mayor’s Office
15.30 to 16.45

LBC News

A safer London for all
Azad Ali, Chair, Muslim Safety Forum
Decima Francis, President, From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation
Steve House, Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police
Cindy Butts, Independent Member of the Metropolitan Police Authority
Tony McNulty MP, Minister for Police and Security
Rev Nims Obunge, Chief Executive, Peace Alliance
Chair: Samira Ahmed, Broadcaster and Journalist
Tackling inequality – vital to London’s success
Tufyal Choudhury, Director, Discrimination Law Association
Angela Eagle MP, Wallasey
Caroline Ellis, Head of Parliamentary Affairs, Disability Rights Commission
Jonathan Finney, Parliamentary Officer, Stonewall
Maleiha Malik, Lecturer, King’s College London
Sarah Veale, Head, Equalities and Employment Rights Department, Trades Union Congress
Chair: Anne Kane, Equality Adviser to the Mayor’s Office
India and London – partners in globalisation
Shri Asoke Mukerji, Deputy High Commissioner of India
Nasreen Munni Kabir, Documentary Film-maker and Author
Chair: John Ross, Director, Economic and Business Policy, Mayor’s Office
Loving London’s global culture
Amma Asante, Writer/Director
Sandra Hebron, Director, London Film Festival
Bradley Hemmings, Artistic Director, Greenwich & Dock Festival
Helen Marriage, Director, Artichoke Productions
Chair: Anneliese Midgely, Business Manager, Culture, Mayor’s Office
London Development Agency The London Thames Gateway
Peter Andrews, Chief Executive, London Thames Gateway
John Biggs AM; Vice Chair, London Development Agency
Jenny Jones AM, Green, Londonwide
Chair: Manny Lewis, Chief Executive, London Development Agency
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