Thursday, 10 July 2008

Boris Johnson takes his big pot of Blue-wash online

The Blue-wash of London government continued apace yesterday after it was revealed that Boris Johnson will spend £40,000 on re-writing and relaunching the Mayor's website.

The move to overhaul the website was made at some point in the last month but news of it was slipped out within a summary list of decisions sent to the London Assembly yesterday.

It follows the decision last month to completely blue-wash all GLA promotional material by removing the red 'on' from the 'Mayor of London' logo and is seen as part of a wider desire to 'differentiate' the new administration from the old one.

But with so much attention being given to purging all trace of the Ken years from City Hall, many are beginning to wonder if we will ever see the start of the Boris years.

Clashing Colours

Writing in the Evening Standard just before the Ray Lewis fiasco broke, London government expert and director of the London School of Economics Tony Travers asked:

'How will a Tory capital be different from a Labour one? At this point, we still don't really know.

'For not only is Johnson no ideologue - Ken Livingstone set the terms of the debate in the mayoral election. Meanwhile, the first two months of Johnson's regime have, unsurprisingly, been taken up with appointing senior staff.

There will now be a further stage while his office starts to link itself to the remaining City Hall machine. Only after that process will stronger signals start to emit from Planet Boris.

'They need to come soon.'

Unfortunately for Boris, those stronger signals were either lost in the fiasco of last week or they were never sent. 

And even if those signals were about to emit from Planet Boris, they will now face the interference of the investigation launched yesterday into his botched appointments.

But as Tony Travers points out, the big obstacle to a clear picture of what a Tory London will look like, is that there is no one clear picture of what a Tory London should look like:

'Johnson can look to no single, clear model of London Tory government in the boroughs. The Conservative town halls demonstrate some very different approaches to "centre-Right" government.

'Kensington and Chelsea, for example, has always been dominated by moderate Tories of the old school, with a keen concern for the disadvantaged.

'Wandsworth, on the other hand, has successfully pioneered a privatised, low-council tax - some would say Thatcherite - administration.

'Westminster is halfway between these two approaches. Meanwhile, many outer boroughs, especially where power shifts back and forward from Labour to Conservative, have a less distinctive brand - but tend to give priority to clean streets and efficiency.'

So stuck as they are with such a mish-mash of different approaches, the new administration has been caught dithering as to what should be the middle ground. 

And so with so many suggestions and with so few answers, Team Boris have been content to spend their time with little more than a big pot of blue paint.


Chris said...

How long before there's a picture of Maggie hanging above the chamber?

The Tory Troll said...

Chicken Yoghurt is offering to do the website for £5000. Anyone got a better offer?

Anonymous said...

I will do it for £50 plus a selection from the wine cupboard. A few of those GLA sandwiches would go down nicely as well.

spanky said...

The 40k appears only to cove the cost of writing the content - the coding and magic sparkles will cost a lot more......

The Tory Troll said...

You might be right there Spanky. It does only specify the cost of the copy writing.

It is possible that the other costs may already be in-house though. Another question to the Mayor's office then.

victor allen said...

Hold on £40,000 doesn't sound much, but given the working life expectancy of any of Boris's appointments, that's a lot of money for what might turn out to be two days work.
Also, what new ideas has Boris got to put on the website?
Presumably his bus design competition?
Oh, of course: 4X4 sales section.
Situations vacant, perhaps?

Helen said...

A video game in which Boris tries to get from Islington to City Hall on his bike whilst breaking the law as many times as possible.

pastyface said...

I assume we won't be seeing the end to the library of press releases going back to 2000.

It seems this administration's aim is not improve the lot of londoners and the city itself but just to wipe Ken et al from the history books.

The bitterness and hatred they have for Ken seems to me much greater than mine for them and I have to say that is pretty big

harold said...

I say give the post to Andrew Gilligan.
Then we could have a real Minister of Truth and he could moonlight for the Standard and investigate himself.

Anonymous said...

Suryl BoJ's commitment to ' cutting waste and ineffeciency' is exposed here. Who really cares what colour the logo is and at a time when young peoples projects are desperate for cash 40k plus is a lot of money. This will not be the full cost total rebranding including of all Lond-on signs across the GLA group,Tfl vehicles, police and fire vehicles for example plus reprinting of things like letterheads, business cards, comp slips wll take the cost closer to £500k I am sure. Surely this would be better spent on youth diversionary projects?

harold said...

I'm not so sure, Anonymous.
After all, if an emergency vehicle arrives to help me out I would insist that it has the new true blue logo on - i'm sure most Londoners would agree

Alex said...

It's very clear which Tory council is the model; Westminster, where all his mates come from. Partisanship comes before everything, property developers are God (which is hilarious in current conditions...), and the policy agenda is merely a way to demonstrate spite to disfavoured groups and distribute pork to favoured ones. It's Shirley Porter 2.0.

The Tory Troll said...

Well today's consultation paper for the revised London Plan certainly does suggest that this may be the case Alex. As ever, there is very little detail in the document, but what there is suggests that a bit of old school Tory gerrymandering may very well be on its way. More on this coming up.

Anonymous said...

pastyface: start downloading that news release archive now, if Ian Clement's going to have anything to do with it.

When his gang took over at Bexley council, they gobsmackingly erased the entire news release archive from Bexley's web site - now the oldest news release is "Conservative success at local elections", 8 May 2006.

Compare and contrast:

Bexley council news release archive today.

Bexley council news release archive as at April 2006.

It's almost as if they knew they were going to be awful by comparison with their predecessors, and didn't want anyone to be able to confirm their suspicions.

Anonymous said...

P.S. It's quite amusing that the Bexley council news release archive page (now) contains a disclaimer which says:

"Please note that archived news releases are published as a record of past events and decisions and those published before 5 May 2006 do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the current administration."

The first news release still available on the site is dated 8 May 2006, so this disclaimer applies to nothing at all.

They must have put the disclaimer up when first elected, then decided it just wasn't enough and wiped out the whole archive, but then they forgot to remove the disclaimer. Now it just draws attention to the fact that they've deleted everything!