Whenever the Maily Telegraph’s “Deputy Editor” Benedict Brogan sounds off on any subject, readers would do well to remember just how well informed and perceptive he is not. Ben’s sheer cluelessness was cruelly exposed in the wake of Phonehackgate when, in January last year, he penned a suitably fawning piece titled “Andy Coulson’s staying power in Downing Street”.
Coulson, Ben asserted, “commands an extraordinary hold on David Cameron and the Government machine ... he runs a tight ship, and is now contemplating changes to make it more efficient ... he is considered, frankly, irreplaceable”. This steaming pile of highest grade bullpucky was deposited on January 18. Three days later, Coulson was out the door, a move that had been decided 48 hours previously.
This unparalleled ability to make totally wrong calls should be borne in mind when considering the latest Brogan missive, “As donors stampede to back Boris, the PM can only watch”. Ben tells that Bozza is on some kind of roll, that the Tory Party has decided Young Dave is some kind of latter-day version of Sailor Heath, and that only the Blond can save his party and deliver Real Conservatism (tm).
And this is drivel from start to finish. Brogan talks of “business” (who they? – Ed) wanting “robust action on tax, workplace regulation, European bureaucracy and reducing the size of government” and then slipping in this jaw-dropping line: “all themes that the London Mayor made a central part of his campaign for re-election”. He didn’t, because none of these are within his control.
Indeed, far from “reducing the size” of the GLA, Bozza is talking of extending its reach, via TfL, to take over more suburban rail services. Brogan, like a lot of right-wingers, is projecting his wish list onto Bozza. And his only evidence – apart from all those “sources” that served him so appallingly over Andy Coulson – is ConservativeHome, which is little more than a jerking circle for the hopeful right.
Moreover, Brogan asserting that Bozza “is everywhere, on the radio, across television screens, booming from the tannoys on the London Underground” betrays the basic flaw in his thinking. London’s occasional Mayor is only “everywhere” if the extent of your world lies within the M25. Bozza ain’t anywhere in the North West. Or Wales. Or Scotland. Or anywhere else that is not London.
And even in the capital, questions remain: Bozza won re-election by just 60,000 votes despite a vicious campaign on his behalf against Ken Livingstone. He has continued spending other folks’ money on vanity projects that nobody asked for. He can’t take criticism without becoming peevish and sometimes downright abusive. And there are limits to Government by saying “crikey” and “yikes”.
Benedict Brogan appears to be in “famous last words” mode yet again.