Boris Johnson: Recycling the same old spin

commentWe’ve been here before, it’s early November, a People’s Question Time session is about to take place and Boris’s PR operation are briefing on his progress in increasing accountability at City Hall.

Last year we had a press release claiming his holding of a legally required People’s Question Time as evidence of him fulfilling “a manifesto pledge to make London Government accountable and transparent.” Sadly, it wasn’t true.

In May this year a press release issued for the legally required, annual State of London debate contained the following quote in Boris’s name:

“During the election campaign, I promised that I would open City Hall and the Mayoralty up to scrutiny by the people of London and that is exactly what I have done. By holding regular public meetings such as the State of London Debate and increasing the number of People’s Question Time events, my administration has given Londoners across the capital the opportunity to come and directly quiz me and my team and some of the senior decision makers in London on the burning issues for the capital, such as the economy, policing, housing, transport and the environment.”

It’s more than possible, one might even suspect desirable for Team Boris, that people misunderstand the sentence “By holding regular public meetings such as the State of London Debate” to imply State of London was the result of one of his actions.

When London Assembly Chair Darren Johnson opened this year’s event it was hard not to see his stressing of it being “the ninth” such debate as a reaction to Team Boris’s spin.

This of course followed highly misleading press releases implying London had never before marked St George’s Day, an outright fib from City Hall which allowed the BNP to claim credit for Boris’s ‘new’ policy of doing exactly what his predecessor had done in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

But it seems despite spending much of his campaign and Mayoralty decrying the supposed culture of spin under Ken Livingstone, Boris just can’t help himself. In a press release ahead of tonight’s People’s Question Time at Brixton’s 02 Academy he once again claims:

“During the election campaign, I promised that I would open City Hall and the Mayoralty up to scrutiny by the people of London and that is exactly what I have done. By holding regular public meetings such as the State of London Debate and increasing the number of People’s Question Time events, my administration has given Londoners across the capital the opportunity to come and directly quiz me, my team and some of the senior decision makers in London on the burning issues for the capital, such as the economy, policing, housing, transport and the environment.”

Can you spot the very slight difference between the two quotes?

Comments

  1. Liam says

    This is a common theme of his Mayoralty. Witness the traffic-free day on December 5th 2009 – another example of an event introduced by his predecessor that, in the press release, he seems to claim credit for.