When Andrew “transcription error” Gilligan was offered his two day a week, £38,000 a year, taxpayer funded sinecure by London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, he was unequivocal about his future conduct: “I will no longer be called London Editor or cover any matter related to City Hall or Boris Johnson” he told readers at Telegraph blogs.
Cripes chaps, er, he's doing it in his spare time ... haven't read it ... fingers in ears and all that ... got a luncheon to attend ... oo-er! Crikey!
So, as Bozza’s cycling “czar” gets his feet under his new publicly funded desk, in the interests of openness and transparency, Zelo Street has decided to see just how Gilligan’s promise is stacking up. And the news is that it is not stacking up at all well, because not only is he continuing his London scribbling, but he is also keeping up his attack on local Government in the capital.
More specifically, Gilligan is keeping up his longstanding and highly personal campaign against Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman, an exercise that will do his new boss no disfavours at all. Keeping the heat off Bozza and doing a bit of Muslim bashing on the side is just the kind of thing Johnson would not condone, but he’ll not be warning his cycling “czar” off doing it, either.
And Gilligan has not just slipped the odd mention into an article: he has dedicated three long and tedious posts to attacking Rahman, starting with an attack on Tower Hamlets’ assistant chief executive Isabella Freeman, whom he describes as “Lutfur Rahman’s little helper” and part of the Mayor’s “dreadful crew”. But exactly what she has done wrong is hard to see among all the Gilligan verbiage.
When not attacking Rahman and those around him directly, Gilligan takes aim at those rotten Muslims, and especially the East London Mosque, which he asserts “continues to laugh up its sleeve at us” and is run by an “Islamic supremacist group”. And there can be no mention of the Mosque without connecting it to Rahman, because someone at the council went there once.
Then, in a most fortunate coincidence, Gilligan got to kick Rahman and the deeply subversive Guardian at the same time, so out came the roll-call of supposed wrongdoing. This includes allegations of voter fraud that have never been stood up, whining about selling council owned pubs (would have been OK if Bozza had been doing it), and that some staff occasionally get a day off work.
Gilligan also trumpets his success in getting the now discredited Press Complaints Commission (PCC) to side with him, but then, the PCC said it was OK for Richard Littlejohn to tell whoppers, as his columns – like Gilligan’s posts – are deemed to be opinion pieces. But what he has not done is to totally detach himself from Council goings-on in London, and his attacks can only benefit his new boss.
So when is he going to genuinely call a halt, if ever? Don’t hold your breath.