Posts Tagged ‘Boris’

The Man Who Would Be A Rubbish King.

January 27, 2010

Blogger Adam Bienkov submitted a Freedom of Information request to see correspondence between Boris Johnson and Prince Charles.

This is being resisted. However, interesting revelations have still come to light. According to the Evening Standard:

Mr Johnson is understood to receive handwritten memos from the Prince “every few months”. Sources also claim the Mayor has met Charles at Clarence House every three or four months.
  
It raises questions over how far Charles influenced the Chelsea Barracks housing project. The development was dropped last June by its Qatari backers after Charles wrote to them criticising its modernist appearance.
Prince Charles has raised some eyebrows in the past by stating strong opinions on topics as diverse as fox hunting, GM crops, and education.
 
Rather than play-it-safe by concentrating entirely on supporting charities, Prince Charles cannot resist the urge to share his views on controversial matters. A former aide claimed that the Charles sees himself as a “dissident” and feels compelled to confront majority opinion when he feels it is mistaken.
 
If Charles was a normal, though obviously slightly eccentric, letter-writing bloke, that would be fine. Charles Windsor could participate in debates, lobby powerful politicians, and even stand for election if he so wanted.
 
But as Prince and future monarch, Chuck must accept that he has to stand above the political fray. For the monarchy to survive in a democratic polity it has to depoliticise itself as far as possible. That means abstaining from these sorts of arguments and avoiding putting excessive pressure on politicians to do what you want them to do, whether in public or in private.
 
Queen Liz II has managed to function in such a manner quite successfully. Her reign has seen some tumultuous political happenings, but Elizabeth has stayed aloof and has therefore preserved the “dignity” of her position.
 
She is apparently shy and not especially interested in politics and current affairs, so that has all worked out very conveniently. Her popularity was only really dented by the personalised controversy surrounding the Royals’ treatment of Diana.
 
A King Charles III who uses his position to influence elected officials and to try to change policy decisions will soon alienate politicians and probably public opinion at large. Good news for republicans like me. Does Charles have the self-discipline to change his behaviour once he inherits the bench covered in velvet? Stories such as this suggest not.
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Mayor Trumps.

November 5, 2009

Earlier this week Boris Johnson came to the rescue of film director Franny Armstrong when a bunch of hoodlums set upon her. Although she’s not a Tory and actually voted for Ken Livingstone at the last mayoral election, Armstrong said: “If you find yourself down a dark alleyway and in trouble I think Boris would be more use than Ken”.

Is this true? Does Boris really trump Ken when it comes to fighting prowess? Here is a very serious assessment of their differing capabilities…

BORIS ‘BRUISER’ JOHNSON

HEIGHT: 5 feet 10 inches.

COMBAT EXPERIENCE: Trained in basic thuggery at the ‘Bullingdon Club’. Thought to be a specialist in smashing plates, throwing pot plants through windows, and then paying for the damage. 8/10

ALLIES ON THE BATTLEFIELD: His mate Darius Guppy knows some gentlemen who will break legs for cash. Boris is happy to go along with such schemes. 6/10

BRUTE STRENGTH: Look at him, he’s a sizeable fellow. Plus his constant cycling and history of rumbustious extramarital affairs suggest considerable energy. 8/10  

SECRET MANOEUVER: ‘The BoJo Piffle’. Boris starts waffling on about Ancient Rome and drops in a few witticisms whilst waving his arms around manically. Potentially amusing, but rarely deadly. 3/10

LOW CUNNING: Pretending to be a buffoon but actually getting himself elected as London Mayor and perhaps establishing himself as a rival to fellow Old Etonian David Cameron. 9/10

OFFENSIVENESS: Has managed to offend cities such as Liverpool and Portsmouth. Has said ridiculous things about gay marriage. During his editorship of The Spectator he was happy to allow pretty racist articles to be printed. His own ‘humourous’ description of African “watermelon smiles” and “piccaninnies” also got him in a spot of bother during the mayoral campaign. 9/10

OVERALL ‘KO’ ABILITY: 7/10-ish

 

KEN ‘LEFT HOOK’ LIVINGSTONE

HEIGHT: I can’t find a reference to Ken’s height on the intergoogles, but considering his love of giving planning permission to tall buildings let’s say somewhere around 1,020 feet.

COMBAT EXPERIENCE: As a prominent anti-war figure it would be against Ken’s principles to involve himself in violence, although he can get very cross indeed during heated arguments with Evening Standard hacks. 2/10

ALLIES ON THE BATTLEFIELD: Very chummy with former general Hugo Chavez. Ken’s hosting of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in the 1980s and suicide bombing justifier Yusuf al-Qaradawi in 2004 means he has good contacts with people not totally averse to physical force tactics. 9/10

BRUTE STRENGTH: Ken doesn’t do too well here, but his love of whisky drinking could well unleash some pent-up aggression at the required moment. 5/10

SECRET MANOEUVER: ‘The Screaming Newt of Doom’. Ken revs up his voice to produce an ear-splitting nasal whine so powerful that it can destroy Frank Dobson’s mayoral hopes and really irritate Prime Ministers. 10/10

LOW CUNNING: Getting cheap oil from Venezuela for London buses whilst they get, um, consultancy or something wishywashy like that in return. 7/10

OFFENSIVENESS: Telling a Jewish journalist that he was like a concentration camp guard and then refusing to apologise was fairly rude. His cosying up to Islamists and views on Israel have certainly not endeared him to the Jewish community. Saying things about the British treatment of the Irish being worse than Hitler’s treatement of the Jews made him seem like a twit in just about everybody’s eyes. 9/10

OVERALL  ‘KO’ ABILITY: 7/10-ish

Ergo, Ms Armstrong is wrong to so readily dismiss Ken’s fighting skills.

Although the former mayor may not look up to much, the people on Ken’s Christmas card list could prove very valuable as allies in a combat situation, and the secret manoeuver he keeps hidden up his sleeve can be devastating.

Admittedly Boris is better in a straightforward punch-up, but a holistic assessment suggests that the former and the present London mayors are pretty evenly matched.

Shedgate

August 7, 2009

A round-up of media attention given to Boris Johnson and his law-violating shed which caused myself and other neighbours a not inconsiderable level of aesthetic irritation:

BBC News

The Islington Tribune

The Guardian

The Mirror

The London Paper, which reports that BoJo is mourning his deceased shed.

It’s not like there’s anything else more important to talk about, is there?

Boris’ shed fought the planning law and the planning law won

August 6, 2009

Remember this post?

Well, it turned out that BoJo had indeed moved into that very expensive house just a stone’s throw from Jako Towers! Although I have not yet seen him and I certainly haven’t thrown any stones at his property, he is definitely there. I look forward to canvassing him. And hosting a ‘Boris Watch’ party.

A few weeks ago an awful wooden shed suddenly appeared on the balcony of the Johnson house. Everybody remarked how cheap and ugly the shed looked. It certainly did not fit with the character of the rest of the building. It was also in a weird position – it seemed to take up the entire balcony and there was no obvious way to enter the shed. Anyway, what is the point of a shed on a balcony?

Earlier this week I went to stay with relatives in Scotland. They live a lifestyle very different from that of the Mayor of London and would not dismiss £250,000 per year as “chicken feed“. However, my uncle’s new garden shed manages to be much more respectable and attractive than the monstrous eye-sore Johnson inflicted upon his neighbours.

Today justice was served: the shed has been dismantled. Someone complained to the planning authorities and Johnson was ordered to take it down. BBC London even ran this story as an item on tonight’s news – you can imagine how excited I was when I saw that! They are describing it as a “summer house” but I feel that is being too generous.

Before you ask: it wasn’t me who snitched on the shed. I am far too busy. I didn’t even take any photos as I think that might be a bit too stalker-ish and I respect the rest of the Johnson family’s right to privacy. To be honest, I was also enjoying speculating on what exactly Boris was doing in this ugly and weirdly-positioned glorified shed/summer house. However, I have been speaking to neighbours and I knew that complaints were lodged almost as soon as the offensive item was erected.

I can still see some planks of wood on the balcony but I’m satisfied that BoJo has learnt his lesson!

There’s a BoJo in the neighbourhood?

May 12, 2009

Boris Johnson has been spotted with a removal van next to a house less than 60 seconds away from Jako Towers*. The ‘For Sale’ sign outside this house had recently been removed. Is Boris my new neighbour? Will I see him down the local? Should I throw myself infront of his bike to martyr myself for the cause (whatever that may be)?

 *Yes, this does mean I live in a fairly posh area, but my ward enjoys 100% Labour representation, so yah boo sucks to you

Message from Ken

May 1, 2009

It would appear that Ken Livingstone’s Friday night is about as unexciting as mine, since this popped into my inbox just a few minutes ago:

Dear friend,

As you know it is one year this weekend since the London mayoral election: one year of Conservative government of our capital.

Over the past year we have seen significant steps backward for London under a Tory administration.

Progressive London has produced its assessment of the first twelve months of Conservative rule in London. You can read the full document here.

Progressive London’s report shows that Boris Johnson is making London:

* More expensive – with unnecessary fares increases

* Worse for outer-London – future transport links axed and higher fares to travel into central London

* Less healthy – with the cancellation of the Low Emission Zone extension

* More congested – with the plan to halve the size of the congestion charge zone

* Less green – with moves like the removal of the western extension, cancellation of the CO2 charge, and the decimation of City Hall’s environment team

* Less internationally attractive – cutting promotion of London

On hard policy and actions Conservative priorities have been clear: raising fares above inflation, slashing investment in public transport, encouraging the worst-polluting vehicles, squeezing spending on the police service, ignoring the need for affordable housing, suspending progress on tackling air pollution and axing cultural festivals. 

Conservative rule in London fanned the tensions building to the G20 protests then fell silent in the aftermath. 

And at a time when the public have rightly had enough of irresponsible bankers, Boris Johnson was the first significant British politician to leap to their defence – and followed this by denouncing the higher tax band for the very rich.

All of this makes our task as progressive Londoners all the more important. 

I hope you will find the information and analysis in the Progressive London assessment of the last twelve months of a Conservative mayoralty useful. The full document can be found here.

Yours sincerely,

Ken Livingstone

Good ol’Ken. Although I’m not his biggest fan, and indeed I’ve posted before on how I would like to see a serious (and fair) competition for the selection of the next Labour mayoral candidate, he deserves credit for his monitoring of what Boris is up to, his regular attendance at mayor’s question time in the Assembly, and for his relentless self-promotion as a ‘mayor in opposition’. You may disagree with his methods (or with the oddball statements that sometimes come out of his mouth) but I don’t think anyone can seriously doubt his commitment to London. If there is a Labour figure thinking of standing against Ken, he or she will have to show a similarly high-level of dedication to the campaign and to start showing it pretty soon.

Boris, and the art of sticking your oar in

April 9, 2009

As Paul Waugh and Kevin Maguire have pointed out, there’s something very fishy about Boris’s announcement of Bob Quick‘s resignation on the Today Programme this morning.

Counter Terror policing in the Met doesn’t come under the remit of the Metropolitan Police Authority, which Boris heads – it’s directly accountable to the Home Secretary.

It would appear that there were discussions about Bob Quick’s position last night with the Home Secretary (as you would expect) – but that the Mayor, apparently without reference to the Home Office, the Met or the MPA, decided to go on national radio just after 8am to announce the resignation.

Quite apart from the fact that this is no way to treat an employee of an organization which is accountable to you, it invites the question as to what really went on, and whether Boris had any contact with Mr Quick, either prior to his meeting with the Home Secretary, or prior to his decision to resign (whichever was the earlier).

It’s all very fishy – and it’s not the first time that Boris has appeared to be playing fast and loose with his MPA Chairship (remember, Ken ensured that someone else was Chair of the MPA, to ensure that there was separation of political control from the operation of the capital’s policing).

Remember Greengate, and the conversation with Keith Vaz thereafter? Remember also that it was Bob Quick who made some relatively mild criticisms about the way the Tories worked the press over the Damian Green affair, and provoked the ire of the Mayor and his mates.

It seems to me that Boris is always motivated by partisanism, and never by good governance and sound public administration; also, he shoots from the hip, asking questions later. He doesn’t appear to have much of a grasp of his brief, other than that it’s to make as much trouble as possible for the government (and, by extension, the police). At the very least, he should be seriously considering his position as MPA Chair.

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