I have no problem with alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, or indeed any other public figure, copping off with any number of younger women. That is not the big deal. The big deal is when Bozo The Clown, or any other public figure, sprays public money up the wall in the process - or, in the case of (for instance) John Whittingdale, leaves themselves open to being compromised as a result.
Bozo demonstrates his grip of, er, something
Also, there is the minor point that the Tories are the party of those so-called family values, although that never stopped Bozo in the past. We now have the situation where, when still Mayor of London, Johnson became very close to yet another much younger woman, who has benefited considerably as a result. Jennifer Arcuri secured a £10,000 grant and was sent on a number of trade missions, for which she did not meet the relevant criteria.
What might the Mayor of London see in Jennifer Arcuri?
According to Business Insider, the Murdoch Sunday Times “reports that Johnson's office intervened on two occasions to overrule officials to ensure her attendance” on those trade trips. Also, “The paper reports that Arcuri was awarded a £100,000 grant earlier this year by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport intended to help British businesses” even though she is now resident in the USA.
And inevitably “The paper reports that Johnson formed a ‘close friendship’ with Arcuri, who worked on his campaign for Mayor [and] was seen repeatedly visiting her flat in Shoreditch, London”. Don’t tell me, a mutual interest in East African affairs.
But while The Usual Suspects are telling the world that Bozo is a Lad, a Legend, and that, well, good on him, eh chaps, the fact remains that he has behaved less than totally honestly (again). As Sunny Hundal has pointed out, “Johnson was bound by the GLA’s code of conduct ‘to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest’.He was expressly barred from providing any undue benefits to friends”.
Did he declare his friendship with Ms Arcuri? It seems not. Did he take steps to resolve that particular conflict? No he didn’t. Hundal goes on to further point out “In June last year, she relocated back to America, but her latest company still managed to win a £100,000 grant intended for English-based businesses from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) earlier this year”. And there is more.
“The department is now investigating the award of the grant after this newspaper’s inquiries discovered that Arcuri’s company’s registered address - which was used on the grant application form - is a rented house in Cheshire that is no longer connected to her”. He concludes that this smells very much like corruption.
So what is being done about it? Well, the £100k grant is now the subject of a departmental investigation. But for the earlier £10k grant, and all those trade trips, there is nothing. Yet. Perhaps Bozo’s successor Sadiq Khan will try and find out what has been happening.
The Johnson Mayoralty was already tainted enough, what with all the waste and cronyism, but this is just taking the piss. And unless someone calls a halt, he will carry on doing it, because he carries on being allowed to get away with it. And that’s not good enough.
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