Mordor versus the Met

Guy Aitchison
1 May 2009
It was a tense and uncomfortable atmosphere at times during yesterday's Metropolitan Police Authority meeting at City Hall. Tim Godwin and Chris Allison speaking for the Met were frequently boo'ed and shouted at by protesters and at one stage Boris Johnson in the chair threatened to suspend the meeting if the hecklers didn't stop. The two Lib Dem GLA members helped lifted the mood in the chamber for a moment, making a serious point in the process. The police were apparently concerned by the media's role in hyping up the prospect of violence ahead of the G20 leading Boris Johnson to ask them to stop. One particularly irresponsible column had apparently warned that protesters were "rioters", a "mob" and a "carnival of cretinous crusties" who would "surge like the orcs of Mordor", taunting police, disrupting traffic and making life difficult for Londoners. The author? None other Boris Johnson, of course, writing in his Daily Telegraph column. But if you think this an irresponsible and hypocritical thing for the Mayor of London and Chair of the MPA to be doing you're clearly unfamiliar with the Mayor's intelligent and politically far-sighted prose, for as a blustering Boris reassured the chamber to howls of laughter and cries of "come off it" he had in fact been "satirising the intentions of protesters to draw the sting from what they'd be doing". So, you see, not hypocritical and irresponsible of the Mayor. At all.

Video call: Coronavirus and the war on democracy

Join openDemocracy today – 5pm BST, 9 April – to discuss how the pandemic is being used to attack our rights and freedoms around the world – and what we can do about it.


  • Berhan Taye Senior policy analyst for the digital rights group Access Now, based in Kenya.
  • Justin Spike Journalist based in Budapest. He has covered the Orbán regime over the past decade and is currently investigating the government’s COVID-19 crackdown.
  • Leigh Baldwin Editor of Source Material. He previously worked as an investigative journalist for Global Witness and as a reporter for Bloomberg News, and is collaborating with openDemocracy on our DemocracyWatch newsletter.
  • Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy, who will facilitate the discussion.
  • Aarti Khosla Journalist based in India, publisher of the website CarbonCopy.info
Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData