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June 11, 2008


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Gasp, that must be all of 39 wine bottles.

Wait, didn't Boris say 100s? Cripes.

Am I the only one who is reminded of the Evening Boris' printed rumours about how Ken was a drunkard? Seems as if they won't be satisfied until Ken is chased out of London by an angry mob with flaming torches and pitchforks waving placards which scream in angry colours (red, white and blue) Standard headlines.

I will be amused by the Forensic Audit panels' report though; the Conservatives will probably lambaste Ken for some petty offence and then give themselves an all-expenses-paid-for holiday somewhere expensive. 'Tis the Tory way; promise tax cuts and lower spending, achieve that by cutting the services which really count and then award yourself ridiculous expenses or £40,000 per annum salaries to your children. Remember kids; government spending is wrong when it goes into public services, government spending is right when you exploit it, abuse it and give great fat blank cheques to yourself.


The above post is just piffle. You are getting carried away and running amok, just because 39 bottles of wine has been called "a goodly hoard" and to me that is quite a reasonable description, if there are 39 bottles. 6 or 7 would not be a goodly hoard, but 39 bottles are. Now enough with the bottles, there are much more important matters to think about, like knife crime, how to deal with the Olympic sites after the Olympics, our traffic problems, designing the new Routemaster.

Nobody is going to chase Ken with pitchforks, or be mean to him, nobody has got it in for Ken. Nobody is even thinking about Ken at the moment, he is a talented, charismatic politician and there are loads of exciting things he could be doing instead of worrying that people are connecting him with the bottles. His memoirs are sure to be a smash, and they are going to take a lot of work, so don't whip him up by implying people are gunning for him, poor man.


"designing the new Routemaster. "

Piffle. Sorting out Metronet and Crossrail are about two hundred times more important, on grounds of cost alone. Hell, sorting out the South London Line transfer to Overground is more important, since it's required before Thameslink can go ahead. Should have been announced by now if it's not to start getting really tight on timescales.

"nobody has got it in for Ken"

Piffle. I call as my first witness Andrew Gilligan. I call as my second to two hundredth witnesses all the Tory throwbacks (hello, Phil Taylor) who've been gloating about 'Ken Leavingsoon' for the last month. 'Nobody has got it in for Ken', indeed. They're re-running that old musical-hall favourite 'Dismantling The GLC' again, having enjoyed it so much the first time.

None of which helps run London in an efficient modern manner, but hey, that wasn't really the point, was it now?


Tom, just as many people are gunning for Boris as you seem to think are gunning for Ken, and Boris doesn't get rattled, he shrugs it off with equanimity.

I do dispute that people are gunning for Ken now, there was a lot of sympathy when he stood down, because he had given the job his all and was gracious and dignified when he left.

As for Andrew Gilligan, in his article in the Standard on June 13th, he actually is complimentary about Ken, several times, for example, he points out that Ken was not afraid of confrontation and did not mind being disliked, which cannot be said about Boris Johnson. Precisely because Boris Johnson does not like hurting peoples' feelings, Gilligan fears he may lack the toughness to make real hard changes.

He also says that Ken had a "clear vision, in political jargon a "narrative" of what London was and where he wanted to take it". Although Gilligan does not agree with Ken's vision, he says as yet, Boris "has not articulated a coherent counter-narrative".

Ken Livingstone has lots of talent and he has a chance enhance his reputation by writing his memoirs and taking up media offers. It never helps to look back and if he wants to stand again, he has to be in the public eye in a positive not a negative, resentful, manner. Surely it is better to go forward, rather than dwelling of slights, imaginary or real? You are encouraging him to take this negative approach, do him a favour and quit it.


"You are encouraging him to take this negative approach"

I'd be impressed if he's an avid reader of my stuff, but sadly I think this is unlikely. If he's reading this and wants to drop me some fan mail, that would be splendid.

"Gilligan fears he may lack the toughness to make real hard changes."

Gilligan's opinions are highly suspect and in the past have been clearly based on personal malice or the opinions of people like Phil Taylor rather than fact. He's also got strong links with Policy Exchange, which should worry anyone who thinks that London should be run as one of the world's great cities rather than as a sandpit for right wing ideologues. See my BorisWatch article on where the Routemaster lunacy originated for the kind of quality thinking that comes from that quarter. I suspect Gilligan's article was something of a call to heel.

As for lack of toughness, making Tim Parker lord of everything and sacking nearly everyone on the TfL board who isn't a Tory or a businessman rather makes this irrelevant, surely? It's not like anyone's expecting Boris to actually make any important decisions, he's delegated virtually everything to ideologically pure hardmen.


Tom, are you Boriswatch? Excellent, I will come on there and bug you at closer quarters. (don't ban me now......)

ps. I bet Ken DOES read your stuff. You are making quite a name for yourself.

pps. Gilligan seems to back up any accusations with facts, and the points he makes are often taken up by other more serious newspapers.

ppps. when Dave wrote an article about Tim Parker sacking people and aiming for the sick and people in wheelchairs first, I had a fit of the giggles because I could not believe it was serious. You have to admit it does sound funny.

Boris Johnson is letting his minions do the legwork while he masterminds the strategy with his brilliant intellect.

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