Saturday, 24 May 2008

Will Boris Johnson get stung by his worker bee?

There's a very revealing piece by George Pitcher on the Telegraph website. Pitcher who knows Tim Parker well, reckons that Boris Johnson's appointment of this 'Slash and Burn' man will work out badly for both of them:

"I think he's riding for a fall. As is Boris Johnson. My colleague Simon Heffer wrote just before the Mayoral election that Boris has founded his various careers on "stooges", an observation examined at some length in another colleague Andrew Gimson's biography of the mop-haired Mayor. The stooges – at Oxford, in journalism and in politics – are the people who do all the work, while Boris concentrates on his more important task of self-aggrandisement."

"Parker, in Boris's mind, will be King Stooge. Boris doesn't understand business. Far too boring for a man of vision such as himself. Also, it's rather "trade" for a toff from Eton and the Bullingdon Club. So Parker will be his Managing Director, he thinks, and the one who can have all those tedious meetings about budgets while Boris gets photographed with Miss Bust-Conductor on a new Routemaster."

"The trouble with this plan is that, talented as he undoubtedly is, Parker is not essentially a runner of businesses. He's a turner-round of businesses and a deal-maker. He's a slash-and-burn man, laying waste to unproductive factories and under-performing people. He once told me that it's best to fire people as soon as you arrive somewhere, before you've got to know them. That may be just what London needs – some cost-saving at the centre, to better serve the interests of Londoners, who Parker calls "shareholders".

"But unless Parker is allowed to float London on the Stock Exchange, or organise a management buy-out of Chelsea, or break up Westminster and sell the profitable bits, he will quickly grow bored. Once he's made something pay, he wants out. In that sense, he is very much like Boris (though without the narcissism). He even shares a propensity for a storm of unruly, big hair (I note that reports have suggested he's known as the Prince of Darkness at companies he's commanded – I can only say that I only heard him called Bogbrush on account of his mop)."

"Parker is not so much a stooge as a sibling and there will be grim rivalry. Boris thinks he'd bought a drone. He'll get stung by a busy bee."

I don't normally quote at such length but this is fascinating stuff and very much goes against all of the praise Boris' new appointment has got elsewhere. 

As ever in papers such as the Telegraph and the Evening Standard, the most revealing articles are often resigned to the blog sections where few people will ever read them. 

But with the appointment of the man who will really be running London over the next four years, this is one article that deserves to be much more widely read.


Toneytony said...

Bogbrush and Mophead climb aboard the ratmobile to save London City from the evil Kenguin. Neenah neenahh :)

Chris D said...

That's the thing about the Tories praising Parker for working for no money. You have to ask what real incentive there is for him to do a good job other than for the power and prestige in a future Tory establishment (cash for honors anyone).

They say there's no such thing as a free lunch so there has to be something in this job for Parker. It's interesting that the writer of this articl ethinks there isn't going to be enough to keep him interested in the job, which is worrying in itself as he will have to look for things to keep him interested which by his record seems to slashing and burning and self-aggrandisement. Not the best recipe for a succesful mayoralty I would have thought.