When asked whether he headed a “personal fiefdom”, Livingstone seemingly assented and went on to say that (and – for now – I'm quoting as closely as typing-whilst-listening will permit): “That's exactly what Tony Blair set out to do .... I was originally opposed to it at first”. Since taking up the role, however, his views have changed. Now – as he expressed in the interview – he believes the Mayoral set-up has distinct advantages over those operating through “networks” of Sir Humphries and civil servants.
What's more, Livingstone thinks that – against all signs – there's true accountability built into the position, but that this only takes effect during election time: “I am accountable to Londoners; they watch me the whole time and if they don't like what they see they'll get a new mayor”. Well, yes, he's strictly correct. But – when the Mayor's term of office is around 4 years – this is accountability with a long, long time lag. Which is surely similar to no accountability at all.
All of which backs-up the main conclusion of Martin Bright's investigation into Livingstone: that the next London Mayor – whoever it is – needs to rapidly reform the role of Mayor itself. There's no place for a fiefdom in 21st Century London.