When looking at the not always even handed reporting of the Mayoral campaign by the Evening Standard, one name stands out as being on rather a lot of the by-lines, and that name is Peter Dominiczak. Who he? Well, the Standard’s “City Hall Correspondent” was formerly a reporter on the loyally – and on occasion rabidly – Tory supporting Yorkshire Post.
The race is on for City Hall
While it’s possible that Dominiczak wasn’t true blue himself, being in the same building as such luminaries as Bernard Dineen (aka Barmy Bernard The Blowhard Bigot) does suggest a tendency to leaning right. Zelo Street regulars will need no reminder that it was the YP that reprinted Ray Honeyford’s article in the “pro-repatriation” Salisbury Review, back in 1984.
In any case, working at the YP will have provided anyone so doing with that ability to instinctively know how to word headlines in the way that papers like the Mail have made the stuff of legend (“Dacre kills with headlines”), a typical example being Dominiczak’s effort today: “Livingstone to take a bite of Boris’ ‘doughnut’ in poll battle ... Labour warned focus on the suburbs risks defeat in centre”.
What Tony Travers of the LSE actually said was “The risk is that by concentrating on these boroughs they allow the Conservatives to win back votes in inner and central London”. Note the absence of the word “defeat”. There’s the spin for you. Moreover, Dominiczak co-authored the “I’ll curb power of Tube unions, says Boris”, which appeared last week, rehashing the myth of “automatic” trains.
As I pointed out, full automation of any significant Tube line – apart from the Waterloo and City, which shuttles between two stations and has no intermediate calling points – is far enough into the future not to concern this Mayoral election, or the next, or the one after that. This article was no more than a churning over of Tory Party spin and carried no substance whatever.
Dominiczak was also the co-author of the ludicrously puffed-up “The Tube runs better on German lines” from three days ago, spinning Bozza’s claim that there was now a “Germanic approach” to project management. It was only well into the body of text that readers saw that there were significant dissenting voices among London’s long suffering commuters.
And Dominiczak was the sole author of the helpfully titled “I know what I need to do ... just give me four more years, says Boris”, which first claimed that Bozza had saved Londoners £500 each in his first four years, before listing his election pledges, and finally letting some comments from Ken Livingstone’s team in at the end. Maybe he isn’t biased, but it doesn’t look that way.
I suspect Lynton Crosby will not be unhappy at his performance.