No hack or pundit was more useful to the campaigns for the London Mayoralty of former very occasional incumbent Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson than Andrew “transcription error” Gilligan, who spent the best part of Bozza’s 2008 and 2012 sorties denouncing Ken Livingstone as a “liar” while turning a blind eye to inconvenient facts such as Bozza being a serial, er, liar. He was rewarded with a job in the Johnson administration.
Gilligan had already made a name for himself by making claims for his particular brand of journalism that it did not merit: back in 2003, he had almost single-handedly hobbled the BBC not merely by his decision to kick off a fight with Alastair Campbell, but also by his inability to take notes in a fashion which would enable him to stand up his claims before a judicial Inquiry. The BBC disposed of his services soon afterwards.
More recently, Gilligan has been writing scare stories to order on the HS2 project, including two articles claiming that the trains would derail at high speed. The selective nature of his research has been the subject of adverse comment here on Zelo Street - see posts HERE and HERE - although the more easily persuaded part of the Fourth Estate, plus the usual cast of anti-HS2 activists, has duly lapped up his propaganda.
All of that, though, came to an end in May when the purge at the Telegraph extended to include him. Gilligan kept confirmation of his exit from the Buckingham Palace Road bunker quiet, but no more: he will join the Murdoch Sunday Times as a part-time “Senior Correspondent”. And there is rather more in Dominic Ponsford’s report.
“Gilligan wrote for the Telegraph part-time whilst also working for London mayor Boris Johnson as his cycling commissioner … At the Sunday Times he will have a brief to work on investigations and exclusive stories. He will be part-time at the title whilst also working for the Policy Exchange think tank”. So does that mean Gilligan has, in the wake of his hero Bozza leaving City Hall, departed from his part-time post there, too?
Perhaps he will be able to rectify the omissions he made after his pal Bozza became London Mayor: as Ponsford tells, “Gilligan joined the Evening Standard in 2004 and won the Press Gazette British Press Award for journalist of the year in 2008 … The BPA judges praised his series of stories revealing allegations of corruption surrounding the office of then-London mayor Ken Livingstone”. But he missed Bozza’s contribution to the genre.
So all the wasted money on the vanity cable car, vanity buses, vanity Garden Bridge, vanity water cannon, and the rest eluded Gilligan. So did the cronyism. That is what the ST’s readers have to look forward to: selective use of facts, recycling of scare stories about HS2, turning a blind eye to that part of the establishment prepared to bung him a sinecure, and a tendency to pretend that everyone else is a liar.
Gilligan might even bring his own fire extinguisher to the Baby Shard bunker. Bring on the combination of fact checkers and burning trousers.