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August 07, 2008

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Guano

I still cannot see a GLA press release about this issue. Has there been any official announcement? Is the document quoted by Gilligan and the Telegraph available to the public?

cjcjc

"Cronies" implies a prior connection, often combined with little or no apparent aptitude for the specific job.

Do Boris's "cronies" have longstanding political cabal connections with him?

Wasn't Ken's one of Ken's "advisors" plucked from running a restaurant in the west country?

angela

Dave it is annoying when publications don't print comments that disagree with what they have printed, and it is also unfair and wrong. However, so many people do that. During the election, you were one of the very few websites that published good and bad comments equally, most of the left wing websites just banned right wing comments from the start. It was really hard to get stuff on. Tory Troll was good as well, although he didn't print everything, he gave people a fair say.

You are fair minded and democratic and will print what people say however much you disagree with it, but Andrew Gilligan is like the majority, he is partisan and I guess they feel they have the right to print what they like.

Tom

""Cronies" implies a prior connection, often combined with little or no apparent aptitude for the specific job."

Dave Wetzel? Some examples would help.

Another way of defining 'crony' is 'unelected political associate of someone whose politics you disagree with'. This has the extra merit of accuracy. However, it also describes the entire team assembled by any Mayor under the current system of government, so 'cronyism' is therefore a feature, not a bug.

City Hall doesn't have a civil service, it has an executive Mayor, who needs a team, whom he appoints to work for him and in his name, and who are therefore (unless he regularly appoints people opposite to him in view) will be largely politically sympathetic. The evidence so far indicates that Boris is quite happy to appoint almost entirely politically sympathetic people to top jobs, so is therefore continuing this fine tradition.

By cjcjc's definition the best Mayor would appear be someone with no political background at all or someone who never appoints anyone he's met before, which I'm not sure helps. As an example, Boris and Steve Norris appear to be old mates, which makes him a crony by cjcjc's definition. However, he's nevertheless one of the better appointments, since he's had actual prior relevant experience. Not least on the TfL Board under, er, the previous Mayor*...

It all comes down to the pool of talent not being *that* big, really. British politics is a small world.

* Yes, I know he fired him. He's allowed to.

Mr. Stop Boris

Hey Angela, which left-wing blogs are you talking about? The Stop Boris blog never deleted a single non-spam comment - it didn't even have moderation enabled, let alone used. I'm pretty sure Boris Watch runs in the same way now too - it certainly does for my posts.

Combined with the Tory Troll and Dave Hill I thought we were the unholy trinity of left-leaning Mayoral blogs, so I'm not sure which lefty I've overlooked that was treating its comment-submitters with the contempt you suggest. Although I suppose Andrew Gilligan does continue to attempt to maintain the pretence that he's a lefty so perhaps you're talking about him.

Tom

"I'm pretty sure Boris Watch runs in the same way now too "

It's got spam-filtering on. In fact I don't think we've ever seen a post by angela on there, for that matter? Coincidence? You decide.

Anyway, a quick perusal will find lots of pillocks telling us to get over Ken. The clue's in the blog title, guys, but we don't filter them out. Too funny.

Andrew Gilligan

Hello team,

A useful tool in discovering what words mean is a book called a dictionary. My dictionary defines "crony" as "a long-term close friend or companion." This definition fits Ken advisers such as John Ross, Redmond O'Neill, Simon Fletcher and Mark Watts, all of whom were close to Livingstone for many years before he became mayor and were appointed to City Hall on the basis of that personal relationship, not on merit. Boris was not close friends or companions with any of the advisers he has appointed. He knew a few of them slightly and others not at all (as you yourselves pointed out, with some glee, in the case of Ray Lewis.) Equally, I am not a crony of Veronica Wadley; I am her employee. I'd only met her once before I started working for her.

Hope this helps.

Peter

It's very simple.

Boris is Cameron's crony.

Andrew is Veronica's bitch.

texaspete

My dictionary (the Cambridge's Advance Learners Dictionary http://dictionary.cambridge.org/) defines "crony" as:

crony
noun [C] INFORMAL
a friend, or a person who works for someone in authority, ESPECIALLY ONE WHO IS WILLING TO GIVE AND RECEIVE DISHONEST HELP (emphasis added).

Firstly, you were intenting to communicate the negative parts of this definition i.e. that the previous Mayor's advisors were dishonest (Boris's own press release on this subject would conflict with that interpretation I think).

Secondly, it seems like this definition fits well with the role you fulfil for the editor of the Standard i.e. you ARE Veronica's crony (in fact to a larger degree than the previous Mayor's team were his cronies).

Of course, this assumes that selectively reporting facts to suit your editor's agenda and the techniques you used to smear the previous Mayor as corrupt are dishonest and not "award-winning" objective journalism.

Unless my dictionary is wrong.

texaspete

From the Cambridge Learner's Dictionary http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=18419&dict=CALD

crony
noun [C] INFORMAL
a friend, or a person who works for someone in authority, ESPECIALLY ONE WHO IS WILLING TO GIVE OR RECEIVE DISHONEST HELP (emphasis added)

Is this not the role you fulfil for the editor of the Standard?

1. You work for the editor
2. You are willing to give or receive dishonest help (the editor wanted Boris elected, you selectively reported facts during the election campaign and continue to do so to support that objective which is 'dishonest help').

The Mayor's spokesman, commenting on this issue said (of course, as the editor's crony, you selectively quoted from it to ignore this inconvenient part) said:

"These members of staff are entitled to these settlements. They are only receiving what they are entitled to. Some members of staff have over 20 years loyal service in local government and payments were agreed with this in mind" (see last 2 paragraphs of http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mayoroflondonelection2008/2499912/Pay-off-for-Kenocracy-leaves-taxpayer-with-1.6million-bill.html).

In other words, the Mayor says that the advisors in question are not cronies (at least not in the sense you were trying to imply).

Mr. Stop Boris

Andrew, you're surely not suggesting that Boris has been appointing advisers on merit (whereas Ken supposedly didn't) are you? If so, why is there such a narrow concentration of 'merit' in Policy Exchange?

OneHopeOneChoice

Hello Mr.Gilligan,

I'd just like to remind you that the dictionary definition isn't the only meaning and that dictionaries are playing constant catch-up because of the ongoing evolution of language. But, I think you're right about the definition of crony. Up to a point. Because, its not best to throw about accusations such as that when you and the Mayor can have it thrown straight back in your face.

You and I can only speculate about why Ken appointed the cabal of four, since its hard to really know a politician's true motives. But, if speculation is enough to condemn a man, then I can certainly accuse you of being Boris' crony for your appointment to Defence and Diplomatic Editor of The Spectator in 2004, because it would be strange for Boris to appoint someone solely on journalistic merit shortly after you made the hatchet job out of The Today report. Particularly as you'd broken the rules of investigative journalism and given the government a golden opportunity to divert attention away from the emerging story that the WMDs didn't exist in the first place.

Then there's Boris' three Policy Exchange appointees: Munira Mirza, Nick Boles and Anthony Browne. You could argue that these were solely on merit (Munira has a PhD in local cultural studies after all), but then again, there are many people outside of Policy Exchange who are equally competent and capable and, unlike Anthony Browne, don't suffer from paranoid delusions. Perhaps it had less to do with merit than it did with selecting people from within the Conservative Party's preferred think-tank. Not quite cronies, but it could be ingroup bias and oligarchy which are just as bad.

Hope turning your allegations of cronyism on their head helps.

angela

Mr. Stop Boris, well, the Guardian was the WORST! I sent them so many comments, some really mild, but anything even slightly in Boris's favour was ruthlessly excluded. They never printed a thing I wrote and I kept trying because they said some horrible stuff about Boris from time to time. Mayorwatch banned me during the election, although they have printed a few comments since. Can't remember the names of the other sites, but the left wing press were AWFUL.

angela

Come on Tom, you are fighting your attraction to me!

angela

Actually Tom and Mr. Stop Boris, I did try to register on your site, but it didn't go through. I thought Tom had realised it was me, immediately banned me and then had an apoplectic fit. If it is OK, I would like to register and come on some time, because i like to get on as many sites as I can, but it is up to you guys.

OneHopeOneChoice

Angela, it seems strange that your comments aren't registered on CiF yet the two... (how to describe them?) most insulting commentators, bannedbycastro and silenthunter, get to run riot. Especially when they're from a more right-wing perspective than yourself.

I'd say the left-wing press (if we call the Guardian and Indie "left-wing") and blogs are better than the right when it comes to publishing comments regardless of viewpoint, but not perfect. Certainly the Daily Mail and General Trust group of papers are the worst when it comes to publishing comments.

Tom

"Come on Tom, you are fighting your attraction to me!"

Successfully, so far.

angela

Tom, I did try to register on your website, but it didn't go through. I thought that you realised it was me, had an apopolectic fit and banned me, but maybe I was wrong.

angela

Mr. Boriswatch and Tom, What is CiF I thought you were Boriswatch?

OneHopeOneChoice

CiF is the Guardian's dedicated comments section, angela. "Comment is Free (... but facts are sacred)."

Tom

"Tom, I did try to register on your website, but it didn't go through"

Which website? http://www.boriswatch.co.uk is ours, and I think it doesn't need registration. I've certainly never had to approve any. I've obviously been far too coy in advertising it - boriswatch.com is much longer established and firmly in the LOL!!!BORIS!![buy a tshirt]!!!LEGEND! camp.

"maybe I was wrong"

Maybe?! You've just suggested on the basis of no evidence that I ban people for their views in apoplectic fits. I don't. Even Andrew Gilligan's welcome on there, as long as he can handle repeatedly being called Gilligoon and is willing to answer questions about why Boris is going to shaft London's cyclists.

angela

Tom, do you have a sense of humour and laugh at anything, ever, because you take me far far too seriously. I was just joking about the apoplectic fit, and also about you fighting your attraction to me. (Really, I know that it is my approval that you are seeking.)

angela

ps. Far from having a fit, I was told you scan the web desperately searching for things I have written, and once when you couldn't find anything, you cried.

(THIS IS A HUGE JOKE AND I AM ONLY TEASING YOU).

angela

Tom of Boriswatch, your website is impossible to access. I made a comment and filled out the e-mail address and user name, then there is nothing to click on. I also tried to register but they said they knew my e-mail but my user name didn't match and then I was stuck. People are probably deterred the same as me, so please advise how to access ASAP as I like to talk on various sites if poss.

angela

Also, you don't give an e-mail we can contact you if things go wrong, like Dave and Adam do.

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