Saturday, 5 July 2008

Wheels fall off Blunder-Bus as blame game begins

The blame game began apace last night as both Team Boris and Team Dave sought to distance themselves from the catastrophic events of the last few days.

And as newspaper editors prepared to pour buckets of the brown stuff over the boys in blue, Team Dave tried desperately to lay the fault at the feet of his blond haired rival.

The Daily Mail who have until this point been firmly in the Boris For PM camp, reported that:

"Last night Mr Johnson's reputation for taking risks was seen as a growing liability among Tories uneasy about the way he is running his administration.

His decision to call a press conference on Thursday with Mr Lewis was seen to have backfired, after it became clear he was not aware of the scale of the charges against his deputy."

Of course this is the risk that you take when you're as keen on devolution as Cameron says he is. But hang on, what's this:

"Critics pointed out that Mr Cameron was also an enthusiastic backer of Mr Lewis' work as a community leader, praising him as an 'inspirational leader'. 

"But there were signs that his office intervened to end the crisis after the Ministry of Justice said it had no record of Mr Lewis as a magistrate."

So was Dave wrong about Ray or wasn't he? And has Boris been devolved power here or hasn't he? Time to hear from the blond I think:

“It is with extreme reluctance and sadness that I have accepted the resignation of Ray Lewis. He has always been, and remains, an inspiring figure to me. Ray is not a conventional politician but that is a strength as well as a weakness. Ray can communicate and connect with communities and individuals that are beyond the reach of most mainstream politicians.

Oh I see. An 'unconventional politician' who can communicate with people the other politicians just can't reach. A string of 'unsubstantiated allegations' (when's that inquiry beginning again?) masking the occasional forgivable porky. Does any of this sound familiar? Has anyone got a pyramid handy? Because if they have, I've found a load of piffle they can pour into it.

Keep your friends (not so) close

Of course with Boris and Dave busily scrapping in a sack, it has been easy for their old friends to rush in for for a quick kick. 

And with only the Sun willing to bury the story this morning, it has been with some surprise that I have watched Boris's cheerleaders at the Daily Mail group, take such pleasure in their new work.

And although the Murdoch press are content to hold their fire for now, just don't expect them be wheeling out that battlebus any time soon.


Chris said...

It reminds me of those Private Eye bits:

Last month we told you that:

'Boris Johnson is a fresh new champion for London who we have always known to be the change Britain needs,'

when in fact what we meant was that:

'Boris Johnson is a complete buffoon who couldn't be trusted with a toasted sandwich maker. Keep an eye on him please.'

Tom said...

It was the Bishop in the Routemaster with the cycle helmet

The Tory Troll said...

Or the vicar in the chamber with the CRB?

Anonymous said...

So whose fault was it then? The arrogant puffball who promoted him or the bumbling buffoon who hired him? Own up guys own up.

Olly said...

(Hey first time poster here; be nice)

What I find tiring about the opinion formers to the right of this debate is that they keep saying Lewis has been "hounded" out of office by the press.

If 24 hours, two press conferences, one day of newspaper headlines and one statement by a Labour AM member constitutes a hounding then I'd like to see what happens when they really go for someone.

They also appear very keen of shedding tears over the "poor black kids" who had been taken away from a life of crime by Ray Lewis and the effect this could have on them. Fair point, but I see no such tears being shed for those on income support who have had their half price bus fares taken away. Or any groans for the decent organisations about to have their funding taken away by the LDA for some allegations that, whatever your thoughts on them, had nothing whatsoever to do with them.

Sorry if this isn't the place to post this, just had to get it off my chest.

The Tory Troll said...

Welcome Olly. Don't worry, this is exactly the right place to post. The more posters the better.

You're right in what you say about certain commentators on the right. To complain about Lewis being 'hounded' is ridiculous. He (and Boris) have not been treated any differently to how the last mayor was treated for decades and it doesn't seem to have done him any harm.

Nobody goes into politics expecting to have an easy time and Lewis was no different. He lied, he got found out and he's getting his comeuppance. That's politics. I think the reason certain commentators are feeling so put out is that their party has been in opposition for so long that they're not used to their side being under fire.

They should get over it. They won the election and have to get used to it. It's not going to get any easier for them.

Anonymous said...

It is OK the crisis is over tories have quickly appointed a new deputy mayor the Emperor Napoleon. They knew he must be the emperor because it said so on his CV.
What! what! Napoleon has been dead for over a century well who is this liar what on outrage people will think we tories just appoint fruitcakes who make up fake cvs to be out deputy mayor.

angelneptunestar said...

It was wrong for Ray Lewis to say he was a magistrate when he wasn't, and although the winner of the Apprentice also bullshitted on his CV, and it didn't prevent him from winning the show, we deserve better from a Deputy Mayor.

However, if you are working with problem kids, like Ray Lewis has, you are laying yourself open to false allegations, because of the sensitivity of the work that you are doing. These allegations need to be proved before people pass judgment and Lewis did resign, which is more than Lee Jasper did.

As for the sexual allegation about the parishioner, if it was just an ordinary legover situation if Ray Lewis is fired for that, you might as well fire half the men in this country, creating massive unemployment. Once again, we need to know the facts as we do about the financial allegations. One thing we do know at the moment is that the events happened ten years ago and the police never pressed charges on any of them.The allegations need to be investigated and clarified and it may be that he is cleared from them all.

Even if he isn't, that doesn't take away the fact that Ray Lewis created something incredibly valuable and good for society out of nothing, all by himself. For that alone, he deserves our patience and forbearance while the truth of the matter is decided.

The Tory Troll said...

Angela, the multiple allegations of financial and sexual misconduct and child abuse have not been proven it's true. But he has been proven to be a liar, which means that you should be careful before giving him too much support.

And it is not true to say that all of the events happened 10 years ago. There are new claims that he still owes money in the Windward Isles and he was found out for lying only yesterday.

All of which puts his character and his work into doubt. He has time now to prove himself to the world, but he has already in my opinion proved himself unfit for office.

angelneptunestar said...

Adam, you are right, he lied and that was not right. But loads of people DO show off and lie on their CV's and I bring up the example of the d...head who won the Apprentice because Alan Sugar didn't take it too seriously, did he?

However, this is a much more responsible job and I suppose you are thinking if he lied about being a magistrate he lied about the bad things. On television, he struck me as having a strong aura, therefore quite a big ego, which he would need to survive what he has survived in life, so I am thinking,maybe he is the sort of guy to show off, but he is not dishonest and his heart is in the right place.

You cannot deny he must have a very good side to his character to have helped the kids he has helped, and to choose that way in life when he could have chosen a worse way. None of us is perfect, we all have our good and dark sides. Why do we expect anyone in authority to be perfect, we are all flawed and struggling to do the best we can? Or else, we deliberately choose the selfish evil path in life?

Adam, it is possible he was just showing off about the magistrate thing and all the allegations will prove to be false.

Because of the good work he has done, I still think we need to be patient and show him forbearance until we know the truth about any wrongdoing.

I am not blindly supporting him, I am saying, he has earned some respite to prove his case.

Helen said...

Angela, there's no such thing as an "ordinary legover situation" if the perpetrator is a man of the cloth and not just the lothario from the accounts department.

The Tory Troll said...

He didn't just lie on his CV. He lied point blank to the public and his boss. That isn't the kind of person I want to be responsible for thousands of vulnerable kids, regardless of whether or not any of the many much worse allegations prove to be true.

It is also worth remembering that people do not always have the best of motives for doing voluntary and charitable work. I'm not saying that he had bad intentions. All I'm saying is that the fact he set up some boot camps doesn't give him any special dispensation, and certainly doesn't mean they shouldn't have bothered to check him out.

angelneptunestar said...

Adam it is a bit more than "he just set up some book camps" surely! The work he has done has actually seemed to provide an answer and a solution to one of the worst problems London is facing.

I suppose you are describing the worst case scenario of what is behind these allegations and I am describing the best. I could be dreadfully wrong, but it will be very sad if I am.

The Bristol Blogger said...

Lewis hasn't created "something incredibly valuable and good for society out of nothing."

His organisation is funded by Tate & Lyle, Morgan Stanley, Ford Trust, Lloyds TSB, Lehman Brothers, Bloomberg, Pear's and HSBC among others. It's also had the support of senior Tories, including Duncan-Smith, Francis Maude, Stephen Norris and Cameron, since day one.

A very well-crafted myth has been created about Lewis and the EYLA and has been seemingly swallowed wholesale by an uninquisitive press.

What has this organisation - which in reality is an after school club for black boys - really achieved in just four years once you get past the Tory bombast and extraordinary claims?

We seem to have been subjected to a well-orchestrated spin operation that's finally collapsed under the weight of its own huge contradictions and the Tory's reliance on the deeply flawed figure of Ray Lewis.

The Tory Troll said...

Bootcamps Angela.

angelneptunestar said...

I know it's boot camps, I just did a typo cos my nails are growing.

angelneptunestar said...

So he had funding! so what? That doesn't detract from his achievement, and he was the instigator, wasn't he, so if he inspired people to invest in his school, GREAT.

ps. i know it is boot camps I did a typo.

The Tory Troll said...

Bristol Blogger- I have to say I am leaning towards your point of view. Whatever Lewis has actually done, he certainly hasn't been scrutinised as he should have been by the Tories. To be fair to the press though, they do seem to have done their job.

As for EYLA, I don't know enough about it to judge, but I am generally suspicious of any religious and racially selective boot camp, whoever is running it.

angelneptunestar said...

Adam, that's because you would benefit from attending boot camp. (JOKE)

stuart graham said...

Where was Andrew Gilligan while all this was happening? Wasn't he supposed to be the investigator who looked after all our concerns in Gotham City? How did he miss this one?
It's not about Ray Lewis - it's about Boris Johnson and his ability to construct a team.
Olly's posting is dead right - Johnson is ensuring that Londoners who have nothing to do with his narrow interests are being carved up while he appoints people who match his ideological criteria, however incompetent. Livingstone, rememebr had worked with most of his appointments for years and whatever you may say about him, he did on the whole know their strengths and weaknesses.
Boris was elected on being transparent. The only thing that is transparent is his incompetence.

The Tory Troll said...

Gilligan's still investigating Ken. Apparently his gardener once worked for the Tamil Tigers.

Helen said...

Gilligan's one of the guest speakers at the forthcoming Islam Expo, I wonder if he'll be expounding upon any of his interesting conspiracy theories?

The Tory Troll said...

Haven't Muslims suffered enough?

Simon said...

It is an interesting question as to why Newham decided to stop funding the EYLA once they changed their procedures. Presumably if EYLA was really as successful, inspirational etc as is being claimed then it would have breezed through the process, continued to receive the funding, and Newham would have been keen to promote its association with Lewis. But they didn't.

Lewis is clearly a charismatic and articulate individual. I suspect the Conservative Party might have been amenable to his brand of bullshit in the way that Newham council were not. But it would be interesting to hear more about their reasons for stopping the funding (if there are any in the public domain)

The Tory Troll said...

I believe the Guardian have been investigating it but nothing has been published yet.

pastyface said...

Bristol Blogger and Tory Troll

this is something that has bothered me for some time about EYLA. Where are the success stories we are told about. The hundreds of children who have been put on the path to righteousness.

As its only been going for 4 year, starts with children as young as 8 and is self selecting. Can we assume no child has yet 'graduated' yet.

The Tory Troll said...

It's a good point. I think there will be more coming out about it this week. We still don't know exactly what will be happening with the project now Lewis is out of the picture. Will City Hall still be working with (his) academies? We just don't know yet. They're probably working that all out right now.

pastyface said...

I've heard mentions of other EYLA's in Haringey is this true?

I've also heard of EYLA franchises, is this true?

This goes to the heart of the tories social welfare policies. The removal of the state from social provision.

The Mayor's Fund is another example of this.

Personally I would prefer the attention be turned on the Tories as a whole. I would think most of the country don't care what Boris does apart from when he ruffles his mop on Have I got news for you.

Simon said...

"This goes to the heart of the tories social welfare policies"

This is correct and why this affair is such an embarrassment for Cameron - because the Lewis model was going to be his model for Tory social policy, promoting voluntary sector organisations at the expense of state provision. Especially where those voluntary organisations happened to promote Tory values. In that sense it doesn't really matter whether Lewis is a charlatan or not, it matters what he symbolises.

International observers will know that a very similar policy has been pursued for the last eight years by G.W. Bush, with the result being massive increases in poverty and deprivation.