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Great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies!
February 25, 2013 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Today the London Assembly Liberal Democrat, Labour and Green Party members all voted to bypass the session in which Mayor Boris Johnson would answer questions about his controversial £16.5bn budget cuts. Accordingly, Assembly chair Jennette Arnold asked Mr Johnson to leave the session. Hilarity ensues .
posted by MuffinMan (27 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Boris Johnson isn't hilarious. Deep down he is a truly disgusting person with few morals. Shame on London for electing him not once but twice.
posted by Jehan at 10:05 AM on February 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


Well, Boris is protoplasmic, too, even though he prefers his jellies with bones.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:06 AM on February 25, 2013


Any particular reason the opposition councilors did not want to question him? Ah, here's the key point:

In an unexpected development, the mayor's appearance before the London Assembly was abruptly cut short earlier, as opposition parties seized a procedural opportunity to try to defeat his budget aims.

For the mayor's budget to be rejected and an alternative passed instead, there needs to be a two-thirds majority in the 25-member assembly.

That was theoretically impossible given the nine Conservative members - voting for the mayor's proposals - represent more than a third.

But, opposition members noticed one Tory assembly member, Victoria Borwick, was missing from the session.

After the mayor had given his opening speech, they declined to question him - expected to last at least an hour - and moved straight to a debate and vote on the budget.

posted by KokuRyu at 10:15 AM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm assuming that the errant member is the lady in green who runs back in at the end? I would imagine Boris' cuddly buffoon mask might have slipped a little further when they meet afterwards.
posted by cromagnon at 10:20 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love how Boris Johnson's shocked rant was all like, But I'm terrible! My ideas are awful! Aren't you going to do anything about it?

So, um, did they? How'd the vote go?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:21 AM on February 25, 2013


He may be disgusting, but I don't think U.S. politicians would understand any of the words that belonged to his insult: "great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies." Or perhaps this is just the low-brow British equivalent of the U.S. insult: "you're stupid."
posted by SollosQ at 10:24 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would imagine Boris' cuddly buffoon mask might have slipped a little further when they meet afterwards.

Great image, although I would point out that none of these jokers are particularly appealing individuals. Here in British Columbia we're about to boot out (hopefully) a neo-liberal, Boris-esque government that has been in power for 12 year in favour of a Blairite centre-left party, but it leaves a sour taste in my mouth that we'll be exchanging one set of humourless apparatchiks for another.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:25 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had to watch twice. The first time to get past the following stereotypes held by my never traveled to England, narrow, midwestern American mind:

1. Every meeting of a public body in london is held in a dark, stone hall.

2. Elected officials in England all wear black robes and powdered wigs.

3. Every elected official in England is male.

4. Every elected official in England is white.

5. There does not exist a black, female elected official in all of England.

the second time I watched I was actually able to listen to it.
posted by HuronBob at 10:29 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


After the mayor had given his opening speech, they declined to question him - expected to last at least an hour - and moved straight to a debate and vote on the budget.

I'm not a fan of Johnson or his policies, but this is subverting democracy.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:41 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not a fan of Johnson or his policies, but this is subverting democracy.
No more than a filibuster.
posted by Jehan at 10:45 AM on February 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm not a fan of Johnson or his policies, but this is subverting democracy.

Yes, but in representative democracy, like they have in most of the "free world," these sorts of shenanigans are par for the course.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:47 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I'm not a fan of Johnson or his policies, but this is subverting democracy."

It's how we avoided war over the Suez, so it's not all bad.
posted by klangklangston at 10:57 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what governance model the London Assembly uses, but this sort of monkey business is pretty common in democracies all over the world.

Ideally, Victoria Borwick would have been present for the budget meeting. Or, ideally, she would have been able to convince an opposition councilor to abstain on the vote. But she didn't or couldn't. Maybe she has a bad relationship with the other councilors. Maybe the other councilors are jerks. Or maybe the budget cuts were so bad that nobody wanted to cooperate. Or maybe she didn't even try to find someone to abstain.

Democracy can be complicated that way.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:11 AM on February 25, 2013


HuronBob: Worth bearing in mind there are quite a few more non-white people in London than there are people in Chicago. Only 60% of the London's total population is white.
posted by biffa at 11:14 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hard not to see this as an amusing own goal for the GA opposition, hard to believe they couldn't work out that trying to play theatrical substance free politics with Boris! was a game they were going to lose. The green/labour/llibdems lost the actually important vote on the budget cuts & boris gets a load of free PR.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 11:16 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


London has been multiracial for at least 300 or 400 years, right?
posted by KokuRyu at 11:17 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Only 60% of the London's total population is white.

Um, only 42% of Chicago's population is white.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:20 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do you want to go and read that again?
posted by biffa at 11:24 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Which part? There are more people in London, period. Shockingly there are also more non-white people in London than in all of Gabon!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:29 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Biffa.... Yeah, I know... it's that, for a good number of my growing up years, London was either Charles Dickens or WWII photographs...
posted by HuronBob at 11:31 AM on February 25, 2013


Hmmm. Tough woman. Expert deployment of exquisite politeness as a weapon.
posted by glasseyes at 12:33 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


This explains it quite well
Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens had spotted that statutory deputy mayor Victoria Borwick was missing from the proceedings and decided to rush ahead to the vote.

The Assembly needs a two thirds majority to change the Mayor's budget but the Tories currently have just enough members present to prevent this happening.

...

However, Mrs Borwick turned up with minutes to spare, saving the Mayor's blushes as well as his plans to cut fire and police services, while shaving a small sum off the council tax precept.

The Mayor's budget was later approved unamended by the London Assembly by 16 votes to nine.
posted by memebake at 2:37 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


McVitie’s heir loves him - "I love him, I think he’s amazing. An old Etonian, hugely flamboyant and hugely posh but he has cut through the stereotypical public school boy image and is a man of the people. He will play sport and rugby tackle people and just be loud, which is great."
posted by unliteral at 2:37 PM on February 25, 2013


This illustrates one of the worse problems with modern democracy: the minds of representatives are made up in advance to the point of ossification. They're not going to rationally consider opposing points of view, and there appears to be no point whatsoever in pretending to do so. Whether a proposal (however odious or obvious) is voted down or voted up purely depends on the numbers of each team present in the room. Why bother with "debates" at all?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:34 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


To counter that, here in the states, we've had a number of states debating marriage for same-sex couples lately, and there have been more than a few GOP electeds who have been swayed by comments and testimony during debate. It's part of a broader lobbying push, sure, but pretending that all politics reduces to tribalism pointlessly formalized is cynical hyperbole.
posted by klangklangston at 4:35 PM on February 25, 2013


He will play sport and rugby tackle yt people and just be loud, which is great.

Ugh, Jesus, a great summary of why people should vote on policies not personalities. "Who gives a shit what he believes in? He ate a sausage once, huzzah!"
posted by smoke at 4:56 PM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


^ And to think, we spent 8 years laughing (and crying) at the Yanks as that same stupidity kept Dubya's approval ratings above ground. Unless the entire Tory brand becomes sufficiently toxic over the next few years, we'll probably find ourselves electing this circus monkey to the top spot solely on grounds of being affably matey. Maybe another ironic instance of our transatlantic mockery coming right back at us: we love laughing at Americans in the belief that they're wildly different and misguided, until we come to the exact same point in the road a few years later, and quietly realise the US isn't off-track, it was just first.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 6:30 PM on February 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


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