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.