When I began making my film about Ken Livingstone last year it became clear pretty quickly that there were serious issues around the accountability of the Mayor of London. To his credit this was something that Ken always realised. When challenged about the fact that he ran London as his personal fiefdom, Ken agreed, because he understood that was this was pricedsly the structure of the office of Mayor established when the institution was set up.
Quite early on in the Boris campaign, the Tory candidate was asked about issues of accountability and he admitted that he didn't understand what the fuss was about. His advisers soon pointed out that this was a huge issue (and vote winner) and Boris began to talk the language of the democrat.
But it didn't last very long into office. Boris has run into serious problems with his senior advisors, just as Ken did. In the implementation, his promise to bring in US-style confirmation hearings has been patchy at best
Antony Barnett's highly entertaining Dispatches documentary earlier this week expose some serious weaknesses in the Tory London mayoralty. But Boris showed his true colours at today's tranpost select committee, when asked about his response to February's snowfalls. It soon became clear that he thought answering such questions was beneath him. Boris is not a true democrat any more than Ken was. Walking out of a select committee hearing (however tedious it is for the Mayor of London to be asked awkward questions about the job he is doing) is just unacceptable.
Boris is a natural entertainer, but this is not enough. He has to force himself to do the boring stuff too. Accountability is everything in modern polictics and Boris needs to show that he can commit himselsf to the democratic process.