The Maily Telegraph’s so-called “London editor” Andrew Gilligan, also known as the capital’s supreme exponent of dodgy journalism, has once again accused Labour’s Mayoral challenger Ken Livingstone of “lying”. This comes on the back of his co-authoring a piece about HS2 and the West Midlands that gave every appearance of doing something not dissimilar. Maybe it takes one to know one.
The race for this place gets down and dirty
Or maybe not: the main plank of the latest Gilligan-says-vote-Bozza manifesto is the contention that Livingstone was significantly responsible for the London Development Agency (LDA) blowing hundreds of millions of pounds, because the Wheatcroft Review, whose panel of five was chaired by a Telegraph hack and had two Tory council leaders on it, said so.
As Mandy Rice-Davies might have said, well, they would say that, wouldn’t they? Of the rest of Gilligan’s arguments, one could have hours of harmless fun with them, but by then he will no doubt have spun yet more creative retelling. This is, after all, the hack so slavish in his love for all things Bozza that he alienated and misquoted transport commentator Christian Wolmar just to try and stand up a story.
That was the ever-popular “driverless trains for the Tube” one, which as I’ve already told, will not be happening any time soon. Gilligan, in a roundabout way, admits this when he tells that stations will need platform doors as part of the conversion. This is not only expensive, but also likely to disrupt the ventilation provided by the running of trains. That will constrain platform space yet further. So it may never happen.
On top of that, Gilligan’s constant rooting round after supposed Islamic extremists sits uneasily with his past willingness to work for Press TV, the broadcaster owned by the Iranian administration in Tehran. Yes, while Livingstone is being otherwise berated for occasionally working for the same broadcaster, his main critic, who was once reputed to be Press’ highest paid pundit, gets a free pass.
It was not always so: Rod Liddle gave Gilligan a serious interrogation over his Iranian connection, and Mehdi Hasan at the Staggers – not one to let slip a chance to pen a few hundred words – also weighed in on the Gilligan approach to selective hackery, pointing out in addition that the Tel’s current London man had also developed a habit for editing Wikipedia in his favour.
Can it get any worse? You betcha, says Sarah: Gilligan’s largely grovelling interview with Syrian despot Bashar al-Assed for the Tel is now being re-assessed, along with the nuggets “He could both make, and take, a joke ... lives in a relatively small house ... he thought the protests were diminishing”. Hell’s teeth, the al-Assads are a bunch of ruthless, butchering SOBs, and here’s Gilligan playing softball with them.
Gilligan, you’re a bigger disgrace than I thought. You’ve no room to criticise Ken.