While the national political focus has been on Newspeakergate, events have been unfolding in London which do not reflect entirely positively on the mayoral reign of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. Because Boris has just lost yet another of his many deputies: yesterday, as noted by Dave Hill in his excellent London Blog, Ian Clement – who has been found misusing his corporate plastic – bowed to the inevitable. Bozza’s reply suggests that he’s jolly angry about it all.
I voiced my concerns a while ago over whether Boris was giving less than 100% commitment to the mayoralty. Since then, there has been the odd positive sign: Johnson’s transport man Kulveer Ranger has persuaded his boss that the previously ditched Cross River Tram was actually A Good Thing, and the two of them are now actively pursuing alternative funding for it. Unfortunately, the harebrained idea of eliminating bendy buses has also been pursued, with the replacement double deckers needing to operate more frequently (because they carry less passengers), and providing longer journey times as they need more time at every stop.
The bus operators aren’t fussed about this: they make their margin whether or not the buses bend in the middle. And they’ve been carrying lots of folks recently, as there has been yet another Tube strike by the RMT (prop. Bob Crowe). Boris and TfL’s Peter Hendy are one tactical brain short when squaring up to Comrade Bob: former mayor Ken Livingstone knew how trades unions worked, and knew the leadership’s mentality, describing the RMT as operating “more a protection racket” than a union. The dispute, unresolved, rumbles on.
Meanwhile, the activities of Ian Clement continue to attract attention, as Dave Hill has observed today. The latest allegation suggests that Clement charged expenses he incurred when working for the Johnson campaign team. The questions, when they inevitably arrive, will ask what Boris knew, and when he knew it. And if he didn’t know it ... you get the picture.
As I said before, Bozza needs to quit farting around and take this job seriously – or let someone else do it. Not a good advert for the modern Tory Party, is it, Dave?