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Tuesday 14 July 2009

Yikes Readers, the Chicken got me!

Another month, another gaffe: Mayor of London Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson yesterday appeared on the BBC HARDTalk programme, and duly inserted foot in mouth in a way only he can explain.

Bozza gets paid around 140K to be a full time Mayor, although his lack of attention to detail suggests that the job does not enjoy his total focus. He shipped yet another deputy recently, and the Ian Clement fallout is slated to be raised during tomorrow’s Mayor’s Question Time (MQT) at City Hall.

Meantime, he is also paid by the Maily Telegraph to write a column: his fee is apparently rather larger than the mayoral stipend, at around 250K. Moreover, the question raised by Private Eye recently, that Johnson is contracted to write two columns a week, but somehow gets away with just the one, remains unanswered.

And yesterday, into the mix was thrown another remark that Boris may come to regret: when challenged on the subject of “second jobs” and Young Dave’s pronouncements on them (shadow cabinet members have been instructed to cease theirs by year end), Bozza dismissed that 250K as “chicken feed”. Hell’s teeth. If that’s chicken feed, send some round to my place pronto, and I’ll forget about the mess.

Johnson was probably being less than totally serious when he made the remark, and after all, as Dave Hill has pointed out in his London Blog today, it’s not as if the mayor is totally insensitive to those less well off: he’s an unwavering supporter of the London Living Wage. But as Dave also notes, the usual suspects are on his case over this latest gaffe.

The Beeb has an overview on its website. As can be seen, Johnson claims that, as he writes quickly and finishes his column first thing Sunday morning, this isn’t a problem. Maybe not. But if the fallout from the Clement departure suggests he isn’t getting a grip at City Hall, it will be bad news for London, for Johnson himself, and potentially for Young Dave.

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