What’s going on at the GLA?
1. Khan does not understand how to run an organisation effectively. But then why should he? He’s never really run any organisation of any size before. Ken had run the GLC. Boris imported first Simon Milton then Eddie Lister to run the GLA for him as they had both run flagship Tory boroughs. But Khan has not got control of his train set. He is good at campaigning and that really is all he does.
2. Khan is totally distracted. His first job is to make sure that he doesn’t suffer a Robin Wales moment and not get re-selected this autumn to run as Labour’s mayoral candidate for a second term. London Labour’s membership is way more Left than Khan. If Momentum decided to try and ‘have a go’ by putting up a more Lefty candidate, he might struggle to win that Labour selection. So he is busy being nasty to developers and trying to look more Left than he really is. And of course he still thinks that he could be the saviour of the Labour Party nationally if the Corbynistas ever had a misstep. Hence he is very busy with photo ops for every ‘right on’ cause rather than actually getting his hands dirty on minor things like…planning.
3. No one is in charge of GLA planning. Ken had Giles Dolphin. Boris had the aforementioned Milton and then Lister. The Mayor needs someone with his arms firmly wrapped around the planning brief. But who’s in charge of planning right now? James Murray seems to be doing nothing other than speaking at every conference going. Jules Pipe is literally invisible. (Does he even still work there, Ed?) And meanwhile the long-term experienced officer corps is slowly and quietly draining out of City Hall.
Our capital’s planning is rudderless. And that’s a problem.