Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Andrew Gilligan and the sound of his own influence

As I stepped into the Great Hall at the RSA I met a wave of influence coming the other way. Rows and rows of 'London's most influential people' had gathered to impress their influence upon the all-influential panel. This, I thought to myself, was influence.

We were here apparently, to talk about the Olympic legacy, but for at least some of the people gathered, it was more of a chance to hear the sound of their own:

"I think the Olympics have some claim" said Andrew Gilligan to the crowd of influencers, "to be the greatest con trick in history. They are largely a fraud."

There was a loud ring of applause from the influentials. "Hear, Hear" shouted one man. "Quite so!" shouted another. 

He had them in his hands now. Time for the killer blow:

"The Olympic accounts" he said visibly working himself up for the big moment, "are about as open and transparent as Lee Jasper's bank account."

The joke crashed. Gilligan's ego, which by now was holding him aloft Atlas-style, had dumped itself flaccidly on the front row. This was not, it seemed, the way influential people did their influencing.

But Gilligan was not a man who was about to be influenced. He had a script and by god he was going to stick to it. 

"London" he said picking himself up off the floor, "will be turned into an armed camp."

Oh really. An armed camp you say. God that's scary. What can we do about it Andy? Please tell:

"We cannot" he conceded "give the Olympics back. If only we could."

"But with the arrival of Boris, we may see some movement."

Ah yes Boris. I wonder what movement he would be doing right now? Turning through the pages of the relevant literature no doubt. Eagerly asserting his influence over all the relevant bodies of course. 

But by now Gilligan was winding himself up for the Big Moment. The rhetorical flourish to end his latest great work:

We must end our belief in the Olympics, he told us. Venues must be cancelled and contracts must be torn up. 

This is not the time for our old fashioned belief in a better future, but the time for a modern scepticism of our openly fraudulent leaders. It is time to cut back and to kick them off. 

"I give you," he said "the London Austerity Olympics."

The crowd roared in approval. Yes to austerity Andy. Yes to scepticism everybody. Yes to saying no, London. Yes to saying no!

You can read a full account of the debate with Will Self, Tessa Jowell, Kate Hoey and Seb Coe in the austerity Evening Standard - The newspaper which influences


Anonymous said...

Thankfully it is Seb Coe and Kate Hoey, not Gilligan and Self who will be making these decisions, otherwise nothing would ever be done in this cIty.

harold said...

Yes - it's all going to happen, but other people have to do the work - like you!
The latest thing is his well publicised routemaster replacement and scrapping the bendy bus.
Now, on TfL's site there's a competition for a new bus. I really think it would be splendid if this blog submitted an entry after consultating with us all!

The Tory Troll said...

That sounds like a good idea. I know that Tom from Boris Watch has already consulted his child after handing them a box of crayons. Maybe we should all have a go. Please send all contributions to the usual address

karl said...

We should all just take pictures of Bendy Buses and submit those. Just take the doors out of the last exit, bobs yer uncle!

Chris said...

Andrew Gilligan is an arse. I have nothing more to say.

Alex said...

Some sort of arse on wheels?

The Tory Troll said...

'some sort of arse on wheels"'?

Alex said...

That was more of a design concept for the bus...

Sunny said...

love it!