Monday, 30 July 2012

Media hype over Boris Johnson goes zoink

Following his barnstorming Hyde Park speech the papers are full of Olympic-sized hype about Boris at the moment.

The Independent are particularly vocal with it's columnist John Rentoul claiming that:

"Boris has the beginnings of a Churchillian stature about him. He now has the size of personality that is waiting for a crisis that will summon him to greatness."

Except Boris has already had several crises, none of which he has risen to.

Whether it be the scandal at the Met over phone hacking, which he dismissed as "codswallop" or the London riots, which he refused to return home to, Boris has a dreadful record on dealing with crisis.

And while Churchill is best known for saving the nation from foreign occupation, and defeating one of the most evil regimes in history, Boris is best known for setting up a bike hire scheme and painting some blue lines on the road.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of Rentoul's piece we learn that:

"Johnson [has] told aides that he intends to perform his mayoral duties on "an unofficial part-time basis after the Olympics"

An unofficial part-time basis? He's not exactly fighting them on the beaches is he?

The madness continues this morning in the Indy with the headline: "Boris favoured for Tory leader as Osborne tumbles."

Except if you actually read the whole piece you find that:

"49 per cent of members surveyed want the Prime Minister to lead them into the next general election. Mr Johnson is the second choice on 18 per cent."

Perhaps the headline should have read "Boris *not* favoured for leader" instead.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Olympic opening ceremony: a triumphant hotchpotch

I'm an old cynic, but last night's gloriously shambolic Olympic opening ceremony won me over. 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

London's love-hate relationship with the Olympics

I've written an article for MSN News on Londoner's love-hate relationship with the Olympics. You can read it here.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Over at The Scoop

All the news and views from me over at The Scoop since the election:

  1. Thousands of free cable car tickets given away by TfL
  2. London police stations to be sold off admits Boris
  3. Transport for London slammed for "cluster bomb" ads
  4. Police stations to be closed to the public across London
  5. Boris Johnson faces £233 million hole in his police budget
  6. London Fire Brigade Museum saved and privatisation halted
  7. Boris Johnson to break promise not to cut fire engines
  8. Boris Johnson to break promise for 1000 more police 
  9. Revealed: How Boris's team threatened journalists and smeared critics
  10. Farewell Brian Coleman

See also my recent posts for the New Statesman if you've missed them. 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Boris Johnson: Mayor for the World

Earlier this year the Evening Standard revealed Ken Livingstone's scandalous plans to embark on a "world tour" if elected:

Labour's mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone today suggested one of his first jobs in office would be to take a “round the world” tour to drum up investment for London...

Bloody grandstanding socialist!

A spokesman for Boris Johnson’s re-election campaign said: "Londoners want a Mayor for London, not a Mayor for the world. Now Londoners can see what going back to Ken Livingstone would really mean."

Indeed. But hang on what's this in the Evening Standard just one month after the election (not available online for some reason)

A series of Prime Ministerial-style world trips? I thought "Londoners want a Mayor for London, not a Mayor for the world"?

And what's this in Boris's written answers to the London Assembly this month?

Stephen Knight: Can you confirm the foreign destinations you plan to visit over the coming months following press reports of “a series of prime ministerial-style foreign trips” to boost foreign direct investment in London?

Written response from the Mayor: Initially, I plan to visit India towards the end of 2012 and then in future years I am considering visits to the Middle East, Brazil and China, and quite possibly other locations. None of these are currently confirmed. I also plan to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos and possibly MIPIM in Cannes in future years.

And how is he going to pay for all this?

Funding will come from existing budgets, in addition to private sponsorship where possible and appropriate.

Where possible and appropriate? All aboard Barclays Bank's private jet then...

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

At the New Statesman: Boris's dozen duck sized horses

"The London Mayor's Twitter Q&A showed the perils of engaging with voters on digital platforms without really understanding them."