Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Look over there! It's Ken! Look!

Going to tell us what the dinners were for, or put it all online?

No of course not.*

*Funny how they've found the time to leak this to the Daily Mail but haven't found the time to answer my FOI about Brian Coleman. Transparency eh?


Anonymous said...

The Mail however is running the Coleman story.

AdamB said...

They are yes:

although I suspect it's been squeezed to the side by this story, which I guess was the point.

Anonymous said...

Goodbye to the era of spin and dirty tricks then. Has Mandelson been hired as a consultant?

Mark Lee said...

To be fair, I would say that it's pretty excessive to rack up bills in such establishments - there's plenty of nice, lower cost establishments in the vicinity of City Hall. I'm going to presume he wasn't using vouchers from toptable?

But yes, the Boris spinmeisters have clearly been saving that factoid for a rainy day.

Has anyone else also noticed the fact that the expenses were released on the 7/7 anniversary, in full knowledge that the unveiling of the memorial would dominate local news (in addition to the inevitable Jacko coverage in the Standard).

AdamB said...

Yes the 7/7 anniversary has certainly been used for all it's worth by the Mayor's Team

Without knowing all the details (who, why and how many guests etc) Livingstone's expenses do look high.

But even if they were twice the amount, Boris campaigned on being a value for money mayor. His own expenses and the expenses of his aides and appointments do not meet up to that promise.

If the best Guto and Co, can say about Boris's record, is to point at Ken, then they've lost the argument.

James I said...

£16000 over four years works out at £80 a week, I think. It's not astronomical considering he was the Mayor of one of the most important cities in the world

Mark Lee said...

Very true - I had hoped that people would have grown tired of the Ken comparisons by now, but evidently not.

Interesting to note that the Ken story has attracted 26 comments on the Daily Mail story, but there are 0 comments on the Brian story. Ken is on the front page of the Mail Online. No sign of Brian.

saifu03 said...

No, the best they can do is release information on days that suit them so that most people are not aware of things. Bad news buried.

The expenses DO seem rather high - I would like to know what business he got up to. Is there any way of finding out? A little cross referencing with news and stuff as seems to have been done by some for taxi expenses and train fares?

AdamB said...

James I + Saifu03 - Context is everything. If the meals helped set up deals worth millions to London then it's money well spent. If they were, say, to entertain minor Bexley councillors, then it's money badly spent.

Context is everything and it seems that we have been deliberately spared that context.

However, according to the Standard "Livingstone is not thought to have broken any rules",000+fine-dining+bill+in+4+years+as+mayor/

I suppose if he had, we would have heard about it by now, but who knows? It would be good if we could check ourselves.

Oliver said...

This only works out at 11 quid a day... and for someone in the position of being london mayor i would say this isn't bad at all.

AdamB said...

He's defending this now on LBC now. Says Pont de la Tour was for meal with the Clinton Foundation.

Says other meals were all business related.

Nick Ferrari is also on the show. Says he was hoping for something bad, but agrees that the story is a 'non-story'

Helen said...

Yep. Ken on LBC saying that the Clinton Foundation had just donated £140,000 and the party included people such as Clinton's Chief Of Staff. Ken asked listeners if a trip to the chippie and a bottle of Blue Nun would have been more appropriate.

barry rochford said...

The amount is not astronomical, true.
Ken never hid the fact that he liked a good drop of wine.
I recall Ken trying to distance himself from the commons culture of subsidised plonk round the clock.
However, as there's no bench-mark to go by as to what is acceptable expenses for Mayor of London, it's difficult to judge.
My instinct is to feel that the story is politically motivated, judging by the fact that Coleman (who no one has heard of) spends thousands on taxis when he has a travel poass paid for is a minor story.
Also gives the right-wing bloggers a target they love to hate, whether justified or not.
I don't think anyone should have to drink Blue Nun, not even Brian Coleman.

AdamB said...

The Details the Mail/Mayor's office left out:

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Ken never hid the fact that he liked a good drop of wine.

Hold on: don't I recall this previously involving a Blasted Boris romance (D. Tele, 6 June 2008) about how he "flung wide a cupboard" to find "rows and rows of glistening Chateauneuf du Pape, a goodly hoard, over a hundred bottles"?

That later transmogrified into a snide put-down about "three dozen" Cotes de Rhone that "you wouldn't wash your teeth with".

As with all things to do with Blasted Boris, you pays yer money and takes yer choice.

The headline illustration suggests the second version is the more accurate.

Helen said...

"Mr Johnson told The Daily Telegraph how he had still been finding different parts of City Hall and "nooks and crannies" in his own "cavernous office" when he this week discovered the stash of wine.

He said: "Last night I flung wide a cupboard that I had not opened before and found to my delight a fridge, stocked with several bottles. But then, beside it was another cupboard. I opened that - it was like being Howard Carter with Tutankhamun - there was this astonishingly fine collection of wine."

It took Boris a couple of weeks to "discover" a cupboard that was right next to his own desk.