During both the successful Mayoral campaigns of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, nobody in their most fevered imaginings could have pictured a scenario where Andrew “transcription error” Gilligan, exposer of cronyism anywhere within a fifty mile radius of Ken Livingstone, would later be gifted a taxpayer funded sinecure as a reward for his relentless smear campaign.
London: rapidly becoming his kind of town
But reality, for London’s occasional Mayor and regular collector of “chicken feed” from the Maily Telegraph, is a concept remarkably free of form or restraint, and so yesterday came the news that Gilligan, who has also earned himself a reputation as a freelance sock-puppeteer, was to become Bozza’s cycling advisor, on the grounds that he owns one, and uses it regularly.
Now, the thought might enter at this point that rather a lot of Londoners own cycles which they use on a daily basis, and to find one that does not indulge in the kind of online activity that brought such odium upon Johann Hari should not be a particularly onerous task. But this is the world of Bozza, where Veronica Wadley is the best choice for the Arts Council, and Ray Lewis gets a job despite losing it.
And, as the man said, there’s more: Bozza got his pick – Sarah Sands – into the editor’s chair at the Evening Standard, aka London Daily Boris. But Gilligan, as Zelo Street regulars will know all too well, is a more eyebrow raising selection than any of these. For starters, there was his disgraceful piece on Ken Livingstone’s tax affairs, which he followed up by making spurious claims about new tax rules.
Gilligan was batting on an equally sticky track when it came to buses: as launch day approached for Bozza’s new vanity bus (that none of the operators wanted), he gurgled enthusiastically that York had abandoned bendy buses. But this was another Gilligan whopper, as it had not. The vehicle the city was binning was a First Group vanity project called the ftr. The similarity to the BozzaMaster was lost on Gilligan.
Instead, there was full support for the New Bus For London, despite its obvious shortcomings. And, staying on the subject of transport, Gilligan was on hand to denounce Livingstone for being less than totally honest on fares while – you guessed it – telling whoppers about fares. Then, to provide the icing on the cake, comes The Great Man’s parade of porkies about high speed rail travel.
This included a less than true story about the Netherlands, the assertion that Coventry and Wolverhampton are 14 miles further apart than in reality, a scare story about a report being “secret” when it wasn’t, and a whopper about high speed trains meeting mysterious forces which would derail them. For Andrew Gilligan, honesty is clearly a concept of infinite flexibility.
And now Londoners get to pay for his employment. That’s not good enough.