“London’s most influential people [of] 2013” proclaimed the increasingly downmarket Evening Standard yesterday, as it launched The Power 1000, a list of politicians, sportspeople, the good and the great, miscellaneous slebs, and rather a lot of sundry hangers-on. Standard editor Sarah Sands declared “The 1000 is a power list of coruscating imagination and innovation”.
It wasn't even this interesting
And to that I call bullshit. The Standard’s own report of the obligatory bash celebrating the event gives the game away with those who it chooses to show in the range of photos: Gizzi Erskine (who?), jeweller Sarah Arnold and blogger Jai’me Jan (heard of them? Neither have I), literary agent Caroline Michel, Zoom Rockman, and “socialite” India Rose James. A real feast of, er, nobodies.
True, Doreen Lawrence was there, along with the Bishop of London and a smattering of politicians, including Sadiq Khan and the inevitable appearance by London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, but this was little more than a sales opportunity for Jacquart Champagne, together with an excuse for Z-listers to pretend they really matter to the wider world.
And the full Power 1000 list does little better: in first place is Prince George, the excuse being that “The eight-week-old son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was chosen because he has become the capital’s biggest global ambassador”. Yes, an infant who right now lives well outside London, and whose public appearances extend to a few minutes outside a hospital, is top of the Power 1000.
At which point the question has to be asked: just what power do any of the top 20 have over the capital? London functions despite Bozza (#2), not because of him. The Royal Family’s power is ceremonial. Of the others, Natalie Massenet, Nicholas Hytner, Harry Styles and Cara Delevingne? Come off it. Even national politicians, of which several are in the top 20, exercise little local authority.
Riddle me this, Standard people: how many of the really powerful have you chosen? For instance, any London Underground line controllers? How about those responsible for the city’s roads, electricity, gas, water and sewage systems? Any maintainers working on those thousands of red buses? Air traffic controllers at City Airport or Heathrow, perchance? Those keeping bins empty and streets clean?
The only obvious candidate in the top 20 is Bernard Hogan-Howe, given that he can literally bring the whole place to a standstill on his say-so. Peter Hendy rules himself out after being part of the cabal that imposed the monstrosity that is the New Bus For London on an unfortunate travelling public. This isn’t a “Power 1000”. It’s an excuse for nonentities to pretend they matter. And they don’t.
But it means more waste paper for train cleaners to collect, so that’s all right, then.