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  • Technorati: graph / links

    Does Boris know his head from his arse?

    by Sunny on 20th June, 2008 at 5:00 pm    

    BorisWatch and Tory Troll covered this recently… it has finally made the press. Telegraph reports:

    Boris Johnson has admitted that he had not read a key document setting out how the 2012 Olympic Games will be funded and insisted “I doubt it exists” - even though it is publicly available on the Culture Department’s website.

    This is in addition to the fact that Boris didn’t even know that the Rise Festival’s anti-racism message was being changed! The unions have quite rightly withdrawn funding from that event now.

    Yes, we have a mayor who is not only clueless, but has surrounded himself with expensive deputies to ensure this state of affairs carries on.

    On Monday the Evening Standard published a letter that I wrote in, in response to an article by Andrew Gilligan. It went like this:

    Dear Sir,
    I was amused to read Andrew Gilligan’s article yesterday showering Boris Johnson with praise and tips on how he can improve the lives of Londoners. While I’m sure we all want to see a genuinely competent and non-divisive Mayor in London, I really wish Andrew Gilligan would scrutinise his former employer’s short record more closely.

    Boris, he says, must be a uniter not a divider. Except his policies so far indicate the exact opposite. The “forensic audit team” into the Greater London Authority’s finances led by Tories and former editor Patience Wheatcroft claimed to be “horrified” by the financial mismanagement they have undercovered - but after a month their insubstantial three page interim report hasn’t found any way in which Ken Livingstone broke the rules, and admits that the Mayor’s advisors were “within their rights” to lobby the London Development Agency over funding decisions.

    And then there was the small matter of employing Simon Milton, which should never have happened given the potential conflict of interest, and other unelected advisors that have already stepped in to take the weight of Boris’s shoulders. After all, our Mayor has a weekly column for the Telegraph to write too, remember?. And let’s not forget the half million already chalked up just for the huge “transition team”. If this was Ken Livingstone Andrew Gilligan would be having fits. Instead, all he does is shamelessly cheerlead a Mayor who needs to be scrutinised by this paper just as strongly. He might as well put on a short skirt and get some pom-poms; he’d have more credibility.

    The “forensic” audit panel was incidentally meant to be cost-free. Now Boris has decided to award 50,000 to it too.

    Update: Dave Hill’s latest piece on CIF has more.

      |     |   Add to del.icio.us   |   Share on Facebook   |   Filed in: Culture, Party politics, Race politics

    21 Comments below   |  

    1. cjcjc — on 20th June, 2008 at 5:31 pm  


      Did anyone really expect Boris to be a man of detail?

      BTW that memo does not lay our how the games “will be funded”.

      It only outlines the then prevailing “understanding” of how the pain of the additonal costs - over and above the original “budget” which Ken admits he lied about - might be met, subject to future review.

      Mind you, by the time the bills are to be paid it will be Boris fighting Dave!

    2. Bishop Hill — on 20th June, 2008 at 5:34 pm  

      This is a slightly bizarre story, isn’t it? Does the mayor’s office have civil servants? And if so, why weren’t they able to tell Boris where this memorandum was? I suppose it’s possible that he didn’t ask, but it seems just a tad unlikely to me.

      I’m not sure that the “Boris is thick” line is the most convincing explanation here.

    3. Sunny — on 20th June, 2008 at 5:50 pm  

      Boris isn’t thick… he just doesn’t know what’s going on. Read the (now added) link to the story about Rise.

    4. Dave Hill — on 20th June, 2008 at 5:58 pm  

      Well done on getting your letter published, Sunny. You and PP readers mind find this interesting too.


      Best Wishes!

    5. BenSix — on 20th June, 2008 at 6:35 pm  

      “You and PP readers mind find this interesting too.”

      Wow, a link on Comment is Free. Thanks, Dave.

      There are a few misconceptions by posters here and there. Some of these are from CiF, and so will feel out of place, but they seem to constitute the main rebuttals. I don’t go on there because all to easily I descend from “you’re wrong” to “you’re a lying git”.

      “he might have devolved the job and not have command of the small details?”

      a) Neither the memorandum nor the Rise decision were ’small details’. That’s just obfuscatory.

      b) Yes, the Mayor should be aware of and take part in decisions and initiatives.

      “BTW that memo does not lay our how the games “will be funded”.”

      True, I was lazy on that point as well. The fact remains that the radio debate concerned a memorandum of understanding between the Government and the Mayor of London. Boris hadn’t heard of the thing.

      “The left appear to be expecting Mr Johnston to do ‘Everything Now’.”

      No, I expect him to be aware of and take part in changes of policy and topical issues. The fact is that many of us knew about a mayoral initiative before the Mayor did.

      “Yes, if only Boris were doing something sensible like going ahead with Ken’s planned 2009 festival to “celebrate” 50 years of Communism in Cuba.”

      That wasn’t going to take place. Apparently Ken “would have liked” to celebrate the anniversary of the revolution, but wasn’t going to.

    6. Indrak — on 20th June, 2008 at 6:36 pm  

      Sunny, good letter.
      D HIll - same; having looked @ comments tho, it’ sclear how people modulate information so as to maintain their positions, eg ‘looking forwards to the Guardians campaign for the next 4 yrs’ [paraphrase].

      This Boris, clearly intelligent, as opposed to those who are thus described yet fail to demonstrate [not to say they're not, just that it fails to show off their cuffs].
      Yet he’s emerging as a functional equivalent of GWBush, [by no means as thick as suits people, tho in his case it is stupidity that jumps from his cuffs]: ..like the conjugate of a complex number, for those with minimal maths, but w/out Bush’s intensely mean streak.
      Did Cameron really change his name from Gideon? - for similar but opposing reason that BJ chose ‘boris’ over ‘alex’..for the love of all those putrid reactionaries who complain about how PC everything is [the penny dropped as to what it was code for one time when I was delivering white goods].

      I was assured of what Boris is about when he feigned surprise at his phone going off whilst in a tv studio - the 1st time, ok. but a 2nd time, elsewhere..

      As for gutless Gilligen, he could define gloating from the little bit I saw after the results.

    7. cjcjc — on 20th June, 2008 at 6:55 pm  

      Bishop Hill has a point of course.
      Boris wouldn’t know about it unless someone first told him.
      Who’s responsibility was it to bring him up to speed on the Olympics?
      Not Ken’s old crony whom Boris has kept on (but whose name I forget) by any chance is it?

      This isn’t a small issue though, I agree, unlike Rise which is trivial.

    8. BenSix — on 20th June, 2008 at 7:01 pm  

      “This isn’t a small issue though, I agree, unlike Rise which is trivial.”

      Well, it is trivial in terms of life, the universe and everything (or, indeed, international politics) but it isn’t with regards to the mayoral adminitration.

      - His administation gives substantial funds to the Rise festival, and therefore he has a responsibility towards it.
      - It was an intervention from his administration that removed the anti-racism message from Rise. He had not only taken no part in this, but wasn’t actually aware of it.
      - The decision had already been announced, and debated, in the press/blogosphere.
      - Munira Mirza, his cultural adviser, had written a column on it.
      - When questioned, he contradicted the actions of his own administration, saying that an anti-racism message at Rise “sounds fine to me”.
      - It adds further strength to the “empty vessel” accusation made during the Mayor’s Question Time.



    9. BenSix — on 20th June, 2008 at 7:06 pm  

      And incidentally, the ‘delegation’ argument used on CiF is ridiculous. The very policy imagines that Johnson will organise his officials whereas, in reality, he didn’t even know what they were doing.



    10. Leon — on 20th June, 2008 at 7:37 pm  

      I’ll say it again, who the fuck is really running London???

    11. Cloned_Poster — on 20th June, 2008 at 8:39 pm  

      Boris = Bush 2000, with all the baggage.

    12. a very public sociologist — on 20th June, 2008 at 9:32 pm  

      More proof - as if it were needed - that Boris is merely the clownish front for a shadowy cabal of Tories. Nothing happens in city hall without Cameron’s nod - so a taste of things to come?

    13. marvin — on 22nd June, 2008 at 9:50 am  

      The comments at the CiF reveal what people are really thinking, here’s the first 3


      can I just tell you that your (and the Guardian’s) apparent obsession with every minutae of Boris’ words and behaviour is making you and your newspaper look bitter, small, nasty and generally pathetic. The opening sentence of your article (e.g. we’ve got to have an article on BJ even if we can’t decide what to write) also makes you sound rather creepy.

      To the Guardian - may I suggest you stop having tantrums about losing the election and start trying to behave in a manner that befits a serious newspaper?


      So Weak!

      I see Jeremy Freedman’s article bashing Boris earlier this week disappeared pretty quickly, why was that? Because it was the most aweful rubbish.

      I wouldn’t condemn this article for that but this is so trivial and who honestly cares.

      On his withdrawing funds from the Castro Appreciation Society and RISE. Good!


      I live in London and I’m bored by the continual attacks too - Boris’s honeymoon period with the Guardian never actually started, hence the sniping. So what if Boris messed up on Today: he probably finds it as tedious to participate in as many people find it to listen to. Is this going to go on for another 3yrs 11 months? It’s pathetic.

      Really, it’s a ridiculous. Shouldn’t the left be focusing on trying to regain some credible alternative to the Tories rather than obsessively bitching? It’s getting embarrassing.

    14. Sunny — on 22nd June, 2008 at 6:34 pm  

      Shouldn’t the left be focusing on trying to regain some credible alternative to the Tories rather than obsessively bitching? It’s getting embarrassing.

      You didn’t seem to be saying that when you were laying into Ken in the run up to the election…

    15. Indrak — on 22nd June, 2008 at 7:10 pm  

      I already alluded to this.
      + Reminds me of how the US rightwing would crow about how effective their ‘boilerplate’ discourse was whereas the ‘left’ was weak, do-goody, BORING.

      Then people started being straight about the reactionaries, who soon elevated themselves to declare how UNPLEASANT the left was.

    16. BenSix — on 22nd June, 2008 at 7:12 pm  

      “The comments at the CiF reveal what people are really thinking..”

      …You didn’t just say that, did you?



    17. marvin — on 22nd June, 2008 at 10:36 pm  

      Hahaha BenSix, point taken :D

    18. BenSix — on 22nd June, 2008 at 10:44 pm  


      Heh. I should say that I’m a prime obsessive bitchers, but I could never argue with as noble a figure as the great android himself.

      “Pardon me for breathing, which I never do anyway so I don’t know why I even bothered to say it. Oh god, I’m so depressed.”



    19. marvin — on 22nd June, 2008 at 10:53 pm  

      Ironically, I had an argument with the voice of Marvin in the film adaptation of Hitchhikers’ Guide in a pub. His voice is quite possibly perfect, so very very grating.

    20. marvin — on 22nd June, 2008 at 10:56 pm  

      I think his name was Alan Prickman.

    21. what is potential divider — on 25th June, 2008 at 11:40 am  

      [...] document setting out how the 2012 Olympic Games will be funded and insisted ???I doubt it exists??http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/2083Explore Architecture, Art, Design & Computation Business Editors/Technology Editors INO [...]

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