Tuesday, 15 March 2011
I attended my first ever "People's Question Time" with Boris Johnson and around 20 members of the London Assembly this evening at Battersea Arts Centre. It will also be my last because the whole event was a complete farce.
Billed as a "peoples" opportunity to raise questions, a fact solemnly repeated at the outset by Assembly Chair Dee Doocey AM, it was nevertheless embarassing to see around 20 politicians sat like mute lemons in two lines behind the Mayor for two hours who himself told plenty of jokes but precious little else. So we paid them, and they didn't see their families, so they could sit quietly and do nothing.
I wanted to ask a simple question about the Shepherd's Bush Market plans, while numerous other people had other questions and weren't called but this was of far less importance to the Chair of the evening, fellow Tory Richard Tracey AM who instead gave questions to no fewer than four elected councillors who gave us all the benefit of some partisan political speeches designed to enhance their own election chances. Far more important, you see.
Outside there were around 30 police officers and what I would imagine was a significant bill for staging the whole charade. And charade it was. What a joke.
Wednesday UPDATE: The excellent MayorWatch blog has also picked up on the fact that many of the questions last night came from politicos or wannabes - author Martin Hoscik says this:
"People’s Question Time should be just that – a time for the people of London to ask questions of politicians they rarely encounter.
Those of us who who can fire off an email to City Hall or, in the case of Borough Mayors and Councillors, can write direct to the Mayor and key members of his team really should let the wider public ‘own’ such events.
They were never intended to be a platform for party stablemates or political opponents to grandstand and score petty points.
If you’re an elected or ‘wannabe’ elected figure and are thinking of going along to a future PQT please remember – the night’s not about you, your ego or your electoral hopes.
Keep your question to yourself and let the real public voice their concerns"
Posted by Chris Underwood at 23:05