Some in the media have short memories. And serially clueless pundit of no discernable talent Tim Montgomerie appears to be hoping that, as a result, nobody will notice that he has recycled a job application technique he last used in 2009 - to use a newspaper column as a way of making his pitch to a preferred employer. Sadly for Monty, he’s been rumbled, after he gave the Evening Standard the questionable benefit of his wisdom.
Then came the real grovelling: “Boris Johnson is no ordinary Tory … Teflon Boris has repeatedly defied the rules of political gravity, and his leadership of City Hall has been the reverse of the disaster his critics predicted … his eight-year mayoralty draws to a close with London overtaking New York as the Western world’s greatest city … London has entered its second great age”. He’s crawling well. And there is more.
There had been “an enlightened relationship throughout the past eight years between Downing Street and City Hall … a strong BoJo-Osbo relationship protected the City, the Olympics and underpinned Boris’s number-one success: what we might describe as a long-term infrastructure plan”. Eh? “Crossrail 1 is nearly complete, on budget and on time. Crossrail 2 is in the pipeline”. That’s enough fantasy Mayoral grovelling.
Crossrail 1 was a Ken Livingstone project: Bozza just happened not to bin it, unlike the Cross River Tram. Crossrail 2 is not yet certain to follow (although it needs to). in any case, the reality of the Johnson Mayoralty has been exposed by Adam Bienkov at politics.co.uk, where Bozza’s promises have been listed - along with their failures.
He was going to eradicate rough sleeping (it’s doubled), keep all Tube ticket offices open (they’ve all closed), negotiate a “no strike deal” with Tube workers (he hasn’t and industrial relations are worse than ever), “bear down on fares” (they’ve gone up), “bring back the Routemaster” (it’s been an expensive flop), reduce congestion (it’s got worse), not raise the Congestion Charge (it’s gone up), have a cycle hire scheme “at no cost to the taxpayer” (still heavily subsidised), not close Fire Stations (he’s closed several), hire more Police officers (numbers haven’t risen) and stop cronyism (he didn’t).
But in Monty’s fairyland, readers are told “he can take tough decisions. He has increased fares year-on-year in order to keep his trademark infrastructure projects on track. In the teeth of public and union opposition he has closed police and fire stations and Tube ticket offices”. As the public elected him, and didn’t want those closures made, it matters not at all how tough the decisions were. Plus someone else made them.
That, though, is not the point. As with Montgomerie’s 2009 rant about phone hacking - he wrongly claimed it was Labour taking revenge for Damian McBride - the main point isn’t the clueless punditry, but the appeal to a potential new employer. Seven years ago it was Rupert Murdoch - the application was successful - and now it’s Bozza. Some pundits live in the real world. Others just appeal to the vanity of the rich and insecure.