Monday, 8 September 2008

Sir Simon Milton tells Boris Johnson who's the boss

Boris Johnson's new Deputy Mayor Sir Simon Milton has officially declared himself the new 'chief of staff' at City Hall.

In a rather self-congratulatory interview with the Evening Standard, Milton boasts of his supremacy over the other deputies and of his surprise to find that Boris is intelligent.

Milton tells the Standard:

“I don't like the title first deputy mayor but ultimately because of my experience and my co‑ordination role, I am closer to the centre than the other deputy mayors who have very tightly defined subject responsibilities.

"Although my job title is deputy mayor policy and planning, in reality I'm Chief of Staff.”

Oh well don't worry Simon. Just go ahead and change your job title. It's not as if anyone's going to stop you.

Physically, too, Sir Simon has placed himself at the epicentre of operations: he sits at a desk directly outside Boris's office overlooking Tower Bridge on the eighth floor.

The other three deputy mayors, Richard Barnes, Ian Clement, and Kit Malthouse, in charge of communities, Government relations and policing respectively, have offices on the other side of the building.

As well as having a dig at Tim Parker, criticising the chaos that ensued before he came to save the day and playing down the influence of Boris's new chief policy advisor, Milton also damns his own boss with the faintest possible of praise.

Just take a look at this section of the interview:

Ironically Sir Simon was one of those who regarded Boris as an amusing, lovable rogue but not to be trusted with a serious job like running London. Did he underestimate Boris? “Yes, I think that everybody does. He's an extremely quick study. When you work with him, you realise he's intelligent, passionate and motivated by noble instincts."

Whereas otherwise you'd consider him an ignorant lazy opportunist. And then this section:

“Boris is the sort of person who comes into work in the morning and gives you the 10 ideas he's had while he's cycled in. My job is to translate them into action.”

So who exactly is the advisor and who is the boss here? And when is the teacher going to hand over to the 'quick study'? 

It's said that Boris hopes to one day lead the Tory party: in the event of a leadership challenge, would he support Cameron or Johnson?

Sir Simon laughs. “I am a big fan of David Cameron,” he says. “I could never envisage Boris challenging him but anyway, nobody is going to ask him to do that job unless he gets this one right. And that's where I come in.

Well that's you told then Boris. Now off to the back of the class with you.


Helen said...

"Supertanker" - is that Cockney rhyming slang?

The Troll said...

As in 'the supertanker is handling his Johnson'?

I'm sorry. I feel wrong now.

Anonymous said...

Milton! It'll be 'Paradise Lost' for him, he'll be out by the end of the year.

'Another one bites the dust'

Anonymous said...

Looks like AG is getting nervy about Boris.’s+time+to+turn+your+attention+to+TfL%2C+Boris/

The Troll said...

Ah yes. Mr. Gilligan is still annoyed he hasn't been appointed a Deputy yet.

Hold in there Andy. There's still a couple of gaps left on the payroll.

As for Milton, he has so far given up two big jobs and clawed another one out of the hands of the undead.

He also survived and succeeded Shirley Porter. The man isn't going anywhere without a fight.

Chris said...

I guess this is the problem when you vote someone in who has no idea how to do the job: everyone rushes around trying to be the one to do it for you.

The risk for Boris is that the stooge becomes the stoogemaker. Or something.

Roger Evans said...

Simon Milton succeeded Shirley Porter but only after Westminster had been through three other leaders.

Porter was followed by her deputy, David Weeks, who was briefly succeeded by Miles Young. The next leader was Melvin Caplan, and he was followed by Simon, several years after Porter went.

angelneptunestar said...

Adam dear, do you think you should be criticising sir Simon Milton for saying he was surprised to find that Boris was intelligent? How many times have you expressed the same opinion? During the election you seemed to think he went to bed with a Noddy book.

The Troll said...

This is true Roger. It was not a direct succession. He was however a Councillor there while she was leader. The whole history of this period is documented in some detail inThe Westminster Whistleblowers which is well worth a read.

The Troll said...

Angela dear, I wouldn't call Boris stupid. Lazy and careless certainly. But not stupid.

angelneptunestar said...


Also Adam dear, he is not careless.

Anyone who says they are surprised to find that Boris is so clever do not realise that they are saying far more about themselves when they say this than him.

Sir Simon Milton is TOTALLY WRONG when he says everyone underestimated Boris. I didn't, and nor did thousands of other people, check out Boris's website.

ps. This is a non sequitor. A lot of lefty writers have no sense of humour, but you show quite promising tendencies.

The Troll said...

Oh dear we're back in capital letter territory again.

angelneptunestar said...


Tom said...

"A lot of lefty writers have no sense of humour"

Is this some kind of joke?* Or do you really think when we meet up everyone sits around in dignified silence listening to someone talk about Lenin?

* I've no idea what a joke is, of course, since I haven't got a sense of humour.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Simon Milton in a politically restricted post? if so why is he telling the world how much he admires the leader of the opposition. Matter for the head of paid service I think.

Alex said...

Is Angelneptunestar either a) Boris or b) Angie "never was anyone better named" Bray?

harold said...

Although Boris is a political disaster, I have to admit I can sleep better in the capital knowing that Simon Milton is running the show, not Boris.

Tom said...

Well quite, harold. It's reassuring to know that, if nothing useful is to be done in London for four years, the people doing nothing useful are competent and efficient.

angelneptunestar said...

Tom, the ones I talk to who live near me are quite humourless.

angelneptunestar said...

Also, William Hague is very witty and humourous, George Osborne makes jokes, DC makes jokes, Boris is the wittiest man ever... name me one witty Labour Minister.

angelneptunestar said...

Alex, angie is angelneptunestar but who is bray?

Tom, come to think of it, have you ever HEARD a Lenin joke, and Stalin was hardly a barrell of laughs either.

Tom said...

"Tom, the ones I talk to who live near me are quite humourless."

Is this still the case when they've stopped talking to you and had a stiff drink to aid recuperation?

angelneptunestar said...

They did need it, particularly during the election, when I brainwashed everyone who approached me with my constant arguing.