There were gasps of disbelief at the news that Andrew “transcription error” Gilligan, sock puppet master extraordinaire and obedient attack hound to anyone opposing Ken Livingstone, was to be made advisor for cycling to London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. There has been a second helping of disbelief today at the scale of his remuneration.
At first, the annual salary of £38,000 does not seem overly generous, until the realisation sinks in that Gilligan will only need to appear at City Hall two days a week. But this is a similar pro-rata rate that is already paid to Bozza’s chosen ones – equivalent to £95,000 full time – so the news should not have come as a surprise. But the hypocrisy of Gilligan certainly has.
He was, after all, in the vanguard of crony bashing when Livingstone was in office, and found adversely on anything to do with Lee Jasper – a campaign that resulted in its target penning a furious letter to the Evening Standard (aka London Daily Bozza) refuting many of Gilligan’s claims and demanding right of reply. From the claims made against Jasper, one might have expected prosecutions. There were none.
Livingstone being spotted in the company of Independent Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman was another favourite target for Gilligan. Here, there were not merely cronies, but Muslim ones. They attended mosques that may also have been attended by other Muslims. This was not sufficiently eyebrow raising, so Gilligan kept dropping the term “extremist” into his copy, just to be sure.
But all changed when Gilligan’s chosen candidate was elected Mayor. The less than totally transparent choice of Veronica Wadley – another key player in getting Bozza to run for Mayor and who helped to create the image of what Dave Hill called “Mayor Jolly Goodfun” – for chair of the Arts Council did not warrant as much as a murmur of complaint. Nor did Bozza’s loss of all those deputy Mayors.
And nor was there any complaint from Gilligan as news emerged that under Bozza the number of those at City Hall trousering in excess of £100,000 had jumped by 75% since his arrival there. Nor was there any grumbling when Ms Wadley was gifted a £95,000 a year role as Bozza’s head of volunteering, and duly volunteered very little information to anyone who had the audacity to question her about it.
Then when Bozza very publicly intervened in the appointment of a new Standard editor to replace Geordie Greig, who had decamped to the Mail On Sunday (to the apparent irritation of Paul Dacre), to get Sarah Sands, his preferred candidate, the job, once again there was not even a peep from Gilligan. Anyone might think that this kind of thing demonstrates open political bias.
Or that it shows him to be a stinking hypocrite. Or maybe both.