Thursday, 18 September 2008

Why Boris Johnson joined the reds under the bed

Dave Hill has posted the latest rather brilliant missive from the anonymous sleeper cell of Kennites, currently barricaded behind a water cooler, on the upper levels of City Hall.

As a fellow correspondent with elements of this cell, I can confirm that they do indeed have a terrible and secret mission, and it is this: the total and systematic indoctrination of their new boss.

Andrew Gilligan is of course unimpressed:

"four months in, marvels one senior TfL figure, “Boris's arrival has made no difference whatever. It's all going on exactly as before.” No programmes have (yet) been cancelled. No personnel changes have been made. Indeed, one senior TfL person has just been appointed, of all things, Boris's environmental adviser.

"Less than a year ago, as further leaked emails show, Mr Hendy was secretly plotting with Ken's chief of staff to “refute Boris's transport ideas”. Now, in a truly gymnastic feat of brown-nosing, he has apparently persuaded the new Mayor that his sole purpose in life is to implement those very same ideas.

"It's surprising that someone as bright as Boris can fall for this obvious nonsense. What it probably means is not that TfL will end up working for Boris — but that Boris will end up working for TfL."

Of course it all started off very well for Mission Gilligan. Many of his Policy Exchange colleagues (himself aside) got jobs and the appointments of Tim Parker and Patience Wheatcroft looked set to propel London to the bright sunny uplands of Ken eradication.

But with the complete debaathification of London almost in sight, Mission Gilligan went and axed itself.

First we had the flop which was the FAP report and then we had the steady exodus of failed Policy Exchange and CCHQ place men, culminating in the complete discrediting of those very people who had been sent in to organise Boris's every move.

And with their fall from grace complete, Boris instead fell upon exactly those people who had been running the show for years.

And as the old borough boys moved in to clean up the mess, we are left with an administration not radically different from the one that Ken left behind.

Of course there will still be many controversies and bungles ahead. 

But if Boris wants to make a success of his Mayoralty (and he clearly does) then he can only do so by taking the kinds of practical steps that only those people who have run London for the past decade and beyond know how to take. 

And if that means listening less to Gilligoon and his pals, and more to the reds under the bed, then that is precisely what he will do.


Zanuliebours said...

Hes only getting you comfortable. Once Cameron comes well clear out all teh trotsky dreggs.

Listen to you all smug now but Cameron will send you all off to the gold mines to mine what McBottler sold off. Hah! No mention of Labour's worst ever poll then? Whats wrong what you waiting for?

The Troll said...

Ah Zanu how I've missed you. Where have you been old friend?

Tom said...

Oi, you, leave angela's metal polish alone. Ladies first!

Great article, Adam.

The Troll said...

Thanks Tom. I think we may have found another suitor for Angie. Watch out Roger!

Chris said...

Andrew Gilligan is urging Boris to break more promises. He's an election election winning machine that man!

The Troll said...

Oh yes Gilligan thinks that the rough economic times should force Boris to scrap expensive transport projects like the cross river tram.

No mention of the elephant in the boardroom though.

barry rochford said...

Isn't it the case that Boris is smarter than that he is often portrayed and can sense that not only Gilligan hasn't a nouse, but if he wants to run a steady ship, the people he was told to appoint have made a hash of it and some of Ken's chaps (eventually he'll realise that some of the women too) were jolly good at what they did.
Also, if he's going to annoy the electors of Bexley and Bromley, better do it now than when there's an election due.

David Gerard said...

*sigh* The problem is that the Mayor of London is highly constrained by the sheer practicalities of running a city. Ken's extreme nutter tendencies didn't get anywhere near as much of a run as he may have liked (Oyster Card as universal London ID card? What could possibly go wrong! o_0), and thankfully he was tolerably competent at the job. Boris being mayor is much less about what team he's on and more about the fact that the mayor is the slave of the city and has a job somewhat comparable to steering the QE II with a paddle.

The Troll said...

I'm not sure what the sighing is all about David, but I wouldn't actually disagree with much of what you say.

Many of Boris's cheerleaders thought that he would do the bidding of all the 'extreme nutters' in his own party, but what they failed to realise is that a Mayor can only govern with the consent of his city and London is still by and large a left-wing city.

Also Boris's administration was initially stuffed with right-wing ideologues (step forward Anthony Browne) and members of the CCHQ in-crowd who don't actually have the kind of knowledge and experience of governing that wass required. For that kind of expertise, Boris has been forced to look to the people who happened to have been doing that for the last decade. It just so happened that that inevitably involved turning left as well as right.

David Gerard said...

OK :-) I'm not even a Tory (old Labour dinosaur, thank you) and I think this job could be the making of Boris. Give him some real work to do instead of MP of a safe seat, doing a million other jobs not terribly well and being a TV comedian. He's looking a lot more serious in photos ... I think it's hitting home that he finally has a job to put some serious demands on his not inconsiderable abilities.

ps: I voted Ken not out of party loyalty (*splutter*) but because he was absolutely on the case with regards to transport, which is about 60% of the job. I only hope Boris understands this point.

The Troll said...

There are certainly some signs that he is taking the job more seriously now (although still nowhere near seriously enough) and I still think he has the potential to do okay.

The problem is that he is a serial disappointer and a confirmed blagger. He knows he has considerable political skills, and so will use those rather than do the hard work that's required.

That worked out okay for him as a journalist and as an MP, but it won't work as Mayor.

He has had a steep learning curve in the last few months and things have really improved since the summer break, but I'm still not convinced he won't lapse back to his old ways given half a chance.

David Gerard said...

Yeah. He's not stupid and he's not incapable of real work. I'm just not sure he's actually had to do much of it before in his life. I'm crossing my fingers for all our sakes he grows into the job, and sooner rather than later!

Helen said...

Boris may be adept at spewing witticisms in Latin or Ancient Greek but that's certainly no advantage in the field of Local Government administration. The job requires an enormous capacity for detail, the ability to instantly prioritise and a love of the nitty-gritty and every day London to a nerdily high degree, none of which Boris has demonstrated.

stuart graham said...

Much of what David says is interesting, but the bit about Ken's 'extreme nutter tendency is a throwback to the caricature past and had nothing to do with the real agenda Ken pushed through on combatting racism (successfully) whilst also advancing the role of women and overcoming homophobia. That for a start is concerned with 70% of Londoners. It's not that they're left wing, but it needs a left wing agenda to overcome the entrenched elitism enjoyed by a few. David's right that Transport is a huge part, not least because women more than men and black people more than white people use public transport.
Boris may not be bothered about the poorest in London - maybe he is but many around him only know them as servants - but what Boris cannot afford to do is allow the transport system to collapse because it will ahve a knock on affect for everyone.