Since being first elected in 2008, London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has made some truly calamitous decisions, and every time he has got away with it. He has also made promises that have no chance of becoming reality in the foreseeable future, and, as with the bad decisions, has not been called out for them by the one media outlet that should be scrutinising him most closely.
That is because the media outlet in question is the Evening Standard, aka the London Daily Bozza, which has become a cheerleader for Johnson, ever prepared to indulge his bad calls, vanity projects and undeliverable promises while allowing him to use supposed in-depth interviews as a vehicle for bullshitting. There can be no other description for that published in yesterday’s paper.
Joe Murphy and Sarah Sands supposedly interviewed The Great Man. So what gems did they extract from Beano Boris? “By 2016, Londoners are going to see a huge change in our city from when I came in 2008. Huge, huge change. The foot is flat to the floor. We’ve got the pedal to the metal”. And get this: “He claimed major successes will include a massive expansion of housebuilding”. Yeah, right.
Bozza has flannelled about housebuilding since 2008 and done not very much about it. But his interlocutors do manage to get this out of him: “Do you remember in Wallace And Gromit there’s a scene with a toy railway and somehow he builds the tracks as the train advances? That’s what I’m doing”. What were his interviewers actually asking? Were Murphy and Ms Sands asking him anything?
There was nothing about his decision to acquire second-hand water cannon for the Met. Nothing about the plainly ridiculous and obscenely expensive “Garden Bridge”. Nothing about the vanity cable car. Nothing about the vanity buses that break down, increasingly don’t have conductors, and fry their occupants during the summer months. And nothing about air quality failings.
There is nothing about the fantasy promise of “driverless Tube trains”. Nothing about river crossings that local road networks could not support. Nothing about his constant lying over extending Tramlink to Crystal Palace (the latest promise being hot air, as it remains unfunded). Nothing about pandering to property developers, nor his failures on “affordable” housing. Or his vanity airport proposal.
Talking of which, Bozza is given free rein to tell that he is on the candidate list for the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency, which might be an interesting contest, given so many Heathrow workers live there and he was looking to close the place. But this supposed “interview” is in fact nothing of the sort. It’s just free publicity for a political charlatan. Murphy and Ms Sands should hang their heads in shame.
Someone will ask Bozza the tough questions. But they won’t be from the Standard.