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Friday 18 January 2013

Gilligan Gong Garners Response

[Update at end of post]

So, after Andrew “transcription error” Gilligan was bunged a sinecure by London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, what of the reaction? The first port of call for Londoners to see the news would, naturally, be the Evening Standard aka the London Daily Bozza, so I put the name into the search facility on the Standard website and waited for the result.

And to no surprise at all, results came there none: London’s only mass circulation paper has not bothered to report on the appointment. I’m sure that is a mere coincidence, and nothing to do with Evgeny Lebedev, donor of freebies to the Mayor, being the owner. Never mind, though, right now you can see the rear of a train on the Down Fast line of the South West main line instead (maybe near Woking).

It’s not as if the Standard’s hacks don’t know what’s going on: Pippa Crerar, City Hall head person, Tweeted “It’s true” about the “final discussions” leading to the Gilligan shoo-in, and Ross Lydall (chief news correspondent and user of Boris Bikes) took to Twitter to proclaim “Cyclists should welcome Andrew Gilligan’s appointment as Boris’s cycling czar”. So shut up and do as you’re told, plebs.

Meanwhile at the Telegraph – still generously providing £250,000 a year of “chicken feed” to Bozza – Gilligan has put out two blogposts on his successful job application (assuming there was one), both of which are not allowing comments. So I won’t either. Much. In the second post, he says it can’t be cronyism as that involves channelling public money, which he hasn’t done. Yet.

And what of the rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog? Sadly, the best they could do was to lazily post a link to Gilligan’s own proclamation. But they did manage to suggest that BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson might have reported from Amsterdam’s red light district. Sadly, the location is either just off Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, or  near Dam Square, neither of which is near it.

But then, what of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), who are supposedly hot on public sector waste? Sadly, the TPA has not even managed a website update today, and there has been no activity on the Twitter feed of chief non-job holder Matthew Sinclair, nor anything relevant from “grassroots coordinator” Andrew Allison (a textbook non-job, as the TPA has no grassroots).

So we have no reporting from those who should be holding the Mayoralty to account, and when Gilligan pops up, the Tel forbids any potentially inconvenient feedback. Tell me again, why is it that so many are cynical about politics and the press?

This is indeed cronyism, and it’s being hushed up. And that’s not good enough.

[UPDATE 1950 hours: it now appears that Ross Lydall of the Standard has written a blog post about the Gilligan appointment, but even a subsequent search via the facility on the paper's website suggests there is nothing about him in the last seven days. And there has been no news item featuring the move, which is what might be termed discreet.

Still, at least something has sneaked onto the Standard website, and there is apparently a small item in the print edition. Pity that, for whatever reason, there is no way of turning Lydall's post up from a search. Wonders of new technology, and all that]

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