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Monday 9 February 2015

Boris Stateside Blunderland

[Update at end of post]

While those queuing up for the chance to replace London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson when he finally exits City Hall for the last time next year are very much present and correct - the Guardian’s Dave Hill has just interviewed Christian Wolmar, who is pitching for the Labour nomination, and unlike Bozza, would clearly be a hands-on Mayor - the incumbent is nowhere to be seen.
Well, nowhere in London, anyway: Bozza has arrived in Boston, and not the one in Lincolnshire. The state of Massachusetts has better things to do right now, having been subjected to a series of heavy snowfalls, and by heavy, I mean heavy, as in a metre and a half of the stuff. Bozza claims thatThe mission, as ever, is to tell the world what we are doing in London”, and if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

Even the Mail has been critical: “Boris Johnson has been accused of short-changing Londoners after embarking on a jet-set world tour seen as an audition to become a global statesman … Mr Johnson has been accused of using the international trips to boost his foreign affairs credentials ahead of a potential bid to become Tory leader … This week he will hold talks with Hillary Clinton in New York City”.

Right. So how does a meet with Hil benefit London, exactly? The short answer is that it doesn’t: Bozza is back doing what he does best, and that is scoring More And Bigger Attention-Seeking Opportunities For Himself Personally Now. Even when he was persuaded to deign to discuss the capital, all he could come out with was pie in the sky.
Your totally impartial host speaks

After braving sub-zero temperatures for a walkabout in the snow, Mr Johnson announced plans to run more of London's roads through tunnels to improve air quality and free up land … Parts of the A13, A3, A316, A4 and A406 could be diverted underground, he said”. And demolish tens of millions of pounds’ worth of real estate in the process, no doubt, which he isn’t telling anyone - but it’s all in the plans.

We have, of course, been here before: Bozza’s propensity to cave to the motoring lobby has seen such idiocy as the “Hammersmith Flyunder” idea, which was scuppered by the mildly inconvenient fact that, under the A4 at the point where this tunnel would be built, are the four tracks that carry two Underground lines’ trains between Hammersmith and Baron’s Court. It won’t happen, and nor will any of the other crackpot schemes.

This does not stop the “news” being obediently disseminated by LBC, whose host Nick Ferrari, reprising his Credulous Boswell act, has accompanied Bozza to the USA so he can tell listeners just how much his pal is doing for London, which, to put it directly, is benefiting the capital by keeping out of the way and not doing any more damage to it.

I said recently that Johnson should leave the Mayoralty, and cease the pretence that he is bothered about it. All that this Transatlantic jolly has done is to convince me that, if anything, I should have called the bugger out rather earlier. Time to go, Bozza - and now.

[UPDATE 1825 hours: to show just how pointless Bozza's trip really is, the Standard - City Hall editor Pippa Crerar is also travelling with his party - has told readers, on the subject of his remaining in Boston, where he is now snowed in, that a spokesman said "It was a close call but he’s here to do business for London, and that’s exactly what he intends to do ... with significant tech and life scientists here he has reservations about pulling out".

Got that? Now Ms Crerar lets slip the sheer pointlessness of the trip, as she then tells "Mr Johnson was also due to take part in a discussion in front of an audience of 800 guests but they have been told not to turn up and he will appear on television instead". So he need not have stayed in the city.

What a clown. What a waste of time and money. And what a total and utter shambles]

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