Last week Boris Johnson became chair of London United, the organisation co-ordinating the capital’s support for the England 2018 FIFA World Cup bid. This after he stood down the previous week from chairing the Metropolitan Police Authority and the London Waste and Recycling Board. What does that say about his priorities?
Well, apart from breaking pledges he made to the London electorate in May 2008 that he would chair both the MPA and LWaRB, it shows that when the going gets tough Boris will leave it to others to get things going on major issues like crime and policing or building London a new waste management infrastructure.
Boris promised to chair the MPA as part of his scaremongering election campaign about crime in the capital, which was in fact falling overall and continues to fall. Nevertheless, last year faith hate offences in London were up by 46.7%, homophobic offences by 26.9%, rape by 24.2%, gun crime by 12.6%, residential burglary by 5.9% and personal robbery by 5.7%. So Boris can hardly claim to have got crime sorted during his brief stint as MPA chair.
With the new Waste and Recycling Board, it is crucial that it makes an impact now and doesn’t miss the golden opportunity to adopt new low carbon technology. But again Boris is walking away when needed.
By contrast, chairing London United is not a job Londoners elected him to undertake. But it is far easier position for Boris to entertain himself with, involving a lot of promotional events but not much actual hard work or attention to detail.
This is what we have come to expect from Boris. His is a mayoralty that gives precedence to photo ops and self-advertisement, but when push comes to shove on the big issues that affect Londoners, the Mayor is nowhere to be seen.