Thursday, 19 June 2008

Boris Johnson paddles away from Olympics gaffe

Boris Johnson's spin operation went into overdrive today after he admitted on the Today Programme to having no knowledge of a key agreement limiting London's contribution to the Olympics.

Asked about the Memorandum of Understanding which prevents Londoners from having to pay any more for Olympic overspends, Boris replied that he had not seen the document and then completely denied its existence.

After admitting not to have seen the memorandum he was then asked:
Interviewer: "When you do see this memorandum...are you going to try to see this Memorandum of Understanding? Will you publish it when you see it?"

Boris: "I rather doubt that it exists."

The extraordinary claim that this vital and publicly available document had been invented was then immediately taken apart by the Today Programme's own sports editor, a spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and Ken Livingstone who had secured the agreement himself.

That Boris hadn't even bothered to read such an important part of the Olympic deal before appearing on the BBC to talk about it is of course not hugely surprising. That, we keep on being told, is Boris. Isn't he lovable?

Up the Creek

However, what was more surprising was the Olympic spin operation, stroke Soviet style rewriting of history, that immediately went into operation. Almost before a single journalist could turn on his laptop, this statement was being prepared:

Oh so now I undestand. When Boris said that the document didn't exist, what he really meant was that it did exist, it had always existed and that it was central to his plans. Phew. I'm glad that one's cleared up.


Jack said...

A secret agreement that was published on the DCMS website. I accept that isn't likely to be up there with google and facebook in those most popular website lists, but I can't see how "secret" is the way to describe it.

Oh to be a spin doctor. I'd love to get paid for spouting shit all day without having to become a lawyer.

Naysayer said...

They tried their best with what they've got bless them. it's not their fault they've got a total incompetent as a boss.

Toneytony said...

Good job the era of Pyongyang style spin is over then. Thanks Boris. What was it said yesterday: "the truth will set you free." I think that was what he said anyway. It was hard to tell through all the Pig Latin waffle.

Anonymous said...

From Andrew Gimson's new chapter in his biography of Boris:

"Gone were the gaffes on which the press feasted. In their place was a grasp of policy the equal of Ken's"

Hmm. No wonder Boris called the book a 'load of old twoddle'

Nancy's stout said...

Have to say you and your kind (including poor old Ken) are just going to do what one tracked minded ol fashioned left wingers everywhere find it so hard to do. GET OVER IT and accept the results of the democratic process. You are authoritarian minded nobodies. Still, Boris as mayor (whatever his strengths and faults) will give your lonely life some meaning I suppose, as you pick holes in him for not being dear Ken, over the next four years.

The Tory Troll said...

He's in power now, so like Ken he will be scrutinised and criticised by the press. GET OVER IT. That's what it's like when 'your kind' are in power.

Still it will give you something to do for the next four years eh? Just think of all the fun you can have telling people not to criticise the dear leader (in a completely non-authoritarian way of course).

BenSix said...

It's shocking isn't it. Those snide bastards at the BBC will obscurely refer to a Memorandum of Understanding as...a Memorandum of Understanding.

stuart_graham said...

Bojo got away with it for months - hiding behind his mirth and antics. It's a biot different when in office and he will be scrutinised. Neither his nanny nor his latin master will dig him out of this one.
Not even the biased media will - at some point even the Standard has to think about its advertisers.

Anonymous said...

The BBC tore him apart over this, which was nice to see. Interestingly, they also questioned him on the dropping of the anti-racist message from the Rise festival which he claimed to have no knowledge of, and had no problem with. 'Are you sure...?' he said.

The Tory Troll said...

I know it was unbelievable. I will link to it once the BBC archive it.

Let the backlash begin.

angelneptunestar said...

Adam, to be honest though, was Ken scrutinised as much as this, particularly at the beginning? Were there loads of websites called Kenwatch, Beyond our Ken, Ken's C...Ups and other such titles?

I seem to remember he was allowed some breathing space in the first six months to get into the job, he didn't have the worst possible interpretation placed on everything, and when that turned out to be wrong, he wasn't blamed because he didn't know everything yet. He wasn't so scrutinised he couldn't even go for slash without some lefty peering over his shoulder for incriminating evidence.(JOKE)

The following tag by Juvenal is relevant to this situation.

"Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

"Who guards the guardians themselves?" or"Who watches the watchmen?".

The Tory Troll said...

"Who watches the watchmen?"

You obviously.

'I seem to remember he was allowed some breathing space in the first six months to get into the job.'

I don't know. Was he? I certainly can't remember him getting much breathing space in the last couple of years.

angelneptunestar said...

Adam, yes, it is me watching the Watchmen, and to your credit, you are all very good about it too.

Ken was allowed A LOT of leeway in the beginning, he truly was. He was allowed a long settling in period because it was such a hard job, and there was none of this Kenwatch, Watching Ken's Bloopers business. Admittedly, he was given a very hard time in the last two years, and during the election he had tough criticism, but Boris Johnson had just as tough criticism.

Any new Mayor will drop some bloopers, it is unavoidable, no new Mayor can avoid early mistakes. At this stage, no way does it make Mayor Johnson a hopeless Mayor - he made a great start, has had a lot of really fantastic ideas, and although he might delegate more than you all expected, this has always been his style; he is a creative type of person, who delegates and his forte is as an ideas person and seeing the bigger picture. I believe the end will justify the means and how it all works out is what matters.

(please forgive me, I am half Dutch, HUP HOLLAND!!! THEY ARE ON FIRE IN THIS COMPETITION!)

The Tory Troll said...

Angela I don't see you leaving many critical comments on this Boris Watching site and they've been watching his every move for years.

Could it just be that we don't like what we see but they do?

You know this blog has only been going for four months. Don't I deserve some breathing space?