Category Archives: City Hall

Grilled Bozza served on a bed of chutzpah

In case anyone missed Bozza getting a grilling from the deadly Eddie Mair on yesterday’s Andrew Marr Show, here it is:

Here’s the full interview.

Even at the beginning of this interview, Bozza has a tough time as Mair asks him awkward questions.

During the course of the interview, Mair brought up the infamous telephone conversation between Johnson and his schoolfriend and fellow Bully Boy, Darius Guppy, in which the latter asks the former for a phone number of a News of the World journalist who crossed him. At last, here is a recording of that conversation:

A Classics graduate, Johnson seems to fancy himself as a latter day Roman emperor. Think of his vanity projects like the stupidly expensive Boris Bus and the cable car and you’ll see that Bozza has delusions of grandeur that are comparable to that of a vainglorious emperor of the Late Roman period.

I have read comments from people who seem to think that Bozza gave a good account of himself and castigated Mair for a “tabloid” interview. Mair had seen Michael Cockerell’s documentary on Johnson, which will be aired on BBC2 this evening, and it is this interview that Mair is focussing on. Anyone who thinks Bozza did a good job needs to learn how to read body language and think about how discourse is being used by him.

As London Mayor, Bozza has done nothing for the city. He’s taken Ken Livingstone’s ideas and claimed the credit for them. He has no ideas of his own and has been led around by his corporate chums. Bozza is nothing but a bullshitter.

London deserves better.


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Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 48)

East London Mosque, the site of sustained attacks from Andrew "Bomber" Gilligan. East London Mosque, the site of sustained attacks from Andrew "Bomber" Gilligan.

East London Mosque, the site of sustained attacks from Andrew “Bomber” Gilligan.

Kennite was forced to announce on his Telegraph blog that he was about to be hired as Bozza’s cycling “tsar”. For this role, he will be paid £38,000 for 2 days work. A nice little earner. On that blog, he told us the following,

It’s part-time; I’ll continue in my day job, covering national and international news for the Telegraph, though I will no longer be called London Editor or cover any matter related to City Hall or Boris Johnson.

He will no longer be called “London Editor”. These are weasel words. He will still comment on London matters, particularly those that relate to Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman and Ken Livingstone. In a second blog about his new appointment, he said,

There was inevitably a second group of reactions. A small number of people who could fairly be described as partisan, such as Labour’s Len Duvall and the Ken Livingstone blogger Sunny Hundal, have damned itas “cronyist.” But as Mayorwatch’s Martin Hoscik – another man who could never be described as a patsy for the mayor – points out, all mayors are entitled to appoint political supporters to political jobs, and do so routinely without controversy. Nobody would or should call, say, the Labour assembly member Val Shawcross a crony because Boris’s predecessor appointed her as chair of the fire authority.

Such dishonesty. But notice how he gets in another dig at his favourite bogeyman, Ken Livingstone. He just can’t help himself.

In yesterday’s blog, Kennite attacked East London Mosque, which he has described, in the past, as a hotbed of extremism (or words to that effect).

I was offered the “Muslim patrol” story in Tower Hamlets, where self-proclaimed “Muslim vigilantes” filmed themselves verbally abusing and intimidating a gay man. Perhaps wrongly, I didn’t use it because I wasn’t sure whether a few kids on YouTube had national importance. I am glad, however, that the local police appear to be taking it seriously for once – in contrast to their lamentable attempts to ignore, downplay and cover up previous acts of “Islamic enforcement” and bigotry in the East End.

Really? The police “covered up”, “ignored” and downplayed “Islamic enforcement in the “East End”? The East End is a big place, by the way. But you know where this is leading, don’t you? Oh yes, it’s another smear job on the East London Mosque.

One Tower Hamlets organisation of undoubted national importance that continues to laugh up its sleeve at us is the East London Mosque, the capital’s largest. The mosque’s PR machine lost no time cranking out a statement condemning the “vigilantes” and claiming that the mosque was “committed to building co-operation and harmony between all communities in this borough. The actions of this tiny minority have no place in our faith.” This claim has been trustingly repeated by various journalists in the coverage this week. But, as the most cursory investigation would show, it is a brazen lie.

The only reason why Kennite doubts the ELM’s statement is because it’s been issued by a mosque, which by definition means they’re also Muslim. There is no other reason.

Then, in the next paragraph, Kennite gets into a bit of a tangle.

There is no evidence that the East London Mosque is directly involved in the latest attacks. But at least one activist in the Islamic Forum of Europe, the Islamic supremacist group that runs the mosque, has previously threatened and intimidated people for violating “Islamic norms,” using the IFE’s name.

Notice how he mentions the Islamic Forum for Europe, whom he accuses of threatening and intimidating behaviour and draws a lazy link between the self-styled vigilantes, the ELM and IFE. I’m only surprised he hasn’t mentioned al-Qaeda.  The English Defence League also have a penchant for intimidation. They also make the same noises about the ELM and the IFE. Coincidence?

He continues his rant,

And as this blog has repeatedly documented, the mosque itself and its annexe, the London Muslim Centre, host a constant stream of viciously homophobic and other hate preachers. In June 2011, after coming under particular pressure on the subject, the mosque promised: “Any speaker who is believed to have said something homophobic will not be allowed to use our premises.”

And certain members of UKIP have made “viciously homophobic” statements. But they’re mostly white and possibly Christian, so they don’t count. Eh, Kennite?

At the end of the blog, we find this,

Hat-tip to Harry’s Place for the adverts and one of the videos.

Ah, Harry’s Place, that fount of tolerance and understanding. Reading the blogs on that site is a little like splashing your eyes with nitric acid.

So, while Kennite has apparently surrendered his role as the Torygraph’s London Editor, he will continue to churn out smear jobs about Rahman, Livingstone and anyone who defends them or challenges his narrative. It’s business as usual.

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Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 47): Moving to City Hall

Boris Johnson’s hatchet man, Andrew “Kennite” Gilligan

The Cat always knew Kennite was close to Emperor Windbag and now, according to this article by Hugh Muir and Adam Bienkov in today’s Guardian, he’s been offered the part-time job of – get this – cycling advisor. His qualifications? He rides a bike. So what? So do I and many others, who are probably better qualified.

Gilligan is expected to take up the post part-time while retaining his current staff position at the Daily Telegraph, but curtailing his coverage of London issues. It is understood he will be paid the normal adviser rate on a pro-rata basis. Most of the mayor’s advisers draw salaries of more than £90,000.

Gilligan won’t be giving up his job as Bozza’s Deputy Mayor for Information at the Telegraph just yet. In fact, he’s been knocking out more anti-Livingstone stories like this one.

Ken Livingstone was openly laughed at by members of Labour’s National Executive Committee today, I am told, after he urged them to readmit the extremist-linked mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, to the party and let him stand as the Labour candidate in the borough’s 2014 mayoral election.

Some habits die hard. The vendetta grinds on, even though Livingtone lost last year’s mayoral election, Kennite just can’t let go.

The Telegraph is like a conduit to City Hall.

Veronica Wadley, Johnson’s former colleague at the Telegraph and editor of the Evening Standard during the 2008 campaign, has an arts and volunteering advisory role. It is said she first suggested Johnson to David Cameron as the man to win the mayoralty for the Conservatives.

Victoria Wadley too. There’s nowt like a little bit of cronyism in local government.

Here’s what Gilligoon said about his own appointment… or is that anointment?

It’s emerged today – slightly earlier than planned – that I’ve been offered a job as Boris Johnson’s cycling commissioner. It’s part-time; I’ll continue in my day job, covering national and international news for the Telegraph, though I will no longer be called London Editor or cover any matter related to City Hall or Boris Johnson.

I’m very pleased to be doing this at a time when London cycling stands on the cusp of quite ambitious change. As perhaps the foremost cycling blogger in London, Danny Williams, was kind enough to say, I have been a “big supporter” and long-term advocate of London cycling.

So, let me get this straight, he was going to keep schtum until Bozza paraded him before the cameras?

I’ve never driven a car in my life and nearly all my travel in London is by bike. I cycle about 100 miles a week in the capital, and have cycled in every borough. I understand cycling provision from a cyclist’s point of view. Just as importantly, as a fairly recent convert, cycling since 2006, I understand how you can go from being a totally unfit slob who does no exercise to becoming a daily cyclist whose life has vastly improved as a result, because I have taken that journey. I know what got me cycling, what nearly put me off cycling, and what ultimately kept me cycling because I have been through that process.

I’ve been cycling on London’s streets for 17 years. I know other people who have been cycling longer. I’m even a nationally accredited cycling instructor. Others are too. This job (it pays £90,000 a year) is Gilligoon’s reward for writing tons of anti-Livingston smear stories in the Evening Standard and later the Torygraph, for whom Bozza also writes and gets paid “chicken feed” – apparently. Did I tell you that Bozza employed Kennite at the Spectator when he was editor?

The Cat asks “When is Darius Guppy going to be brought in from the cold”? Eh, Bozza?

UPDATE 18/1/13 @ 0935

Kennite defends Bozza’s cronyism by offering us his, er, definition of the word, which is, as you’d expect, another attack on his favourite politician,

Cronyism, of the kind I exposed in City Hall six years ago, is when the mayor’s advisers channel vast sums of public money, for no clear purpose, to their friends, their business associates and women they secretly want to honey-glaze. I’m fairly sure I won’t be doing that. (And to anyone tempted to diss those Lee Jasper stories of mine, do remember that the only libel action to result from them was brought, successfully, by me.)

Naturally, Gilligoon sidesteps the issue of the smear stories he’s written for his chum, the current mayor, who’s done, er, nothing much since he was elected last year.

If you’re thinking about leaving a comment, then you can’t. He’s closed the comments thread.

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Nightmare on King Street (Part 13)

Bozza doesn’t have much luck with his Deputy Mayors. Almost as soon as they are installed, they face controversy and are dismissed. Ray Lewis, much to everyone’s dismay, has been brought back into service like a clapped out old train that’s been given a quick lick of paint. An error of judgement on the mayor’s part? Most certainly.

Since he became Deputy Mayor for Policing, Stephen Greenhalgh, the former Dear Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham, has been involved in scandal after scandal. First, he arrogantly refused to deal with Assembly Member’s questions, then he was accused of “inappropriate behaviour” in a City Hall lift. Yesterday, The Guardian’s Dave Hill reported that he could face criminal charges over his involvement in the Earls Court/West Kensington redevelopment – and I don’t think I’m being too dramatic when I use this word – scandal.

Hill writes,

A complaint that Boris Johnson‘s deputy mayor for policing and crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, may have engaged in criminal conduct while he was leader of the Conservative flagship council of Hammersmith and Fulham has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The Greater London Authority’s monitoring officer, who is responsible for ensuring that the GLA, its members and officers comply with the law, informed the complainant on Monday that under regulations applying to elected local policing bodies his complaint:

“falls with the statutory definition of a “serious complaint”: a qualifying complaint made about conduct which constitutes or involves, or appears to constitute or involve, the commission of a criminal offence. As a consequence…I am obliged, today, to refer your complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission”

The complaint relates to Greenhalgh’s close involvement when Hammersmith and Fulham leader with the proposed redevelopment of a vast, 77-acre site in the Earls Court area of inner west London by the property giant Capco.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Last March, the Kwok brothers, who were involved in the massive CapCo project were arrested on corruption charges.

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Greenhalgh accused of “inappropriate behaviour”

Stephen Greenhalgh’s time at City Hall has been marked by controversy since he took the role of Deputy Mayor for Policing in May, now he’s been accused of inappropriate behaviour.

The incident occurred in a lift when Greenhalgh allegedly patted a woman’s bottom. First he denied it, then he admitted to it but then claimed the Ernest Saunders defence of “I don’t remember”.

If found guilty, Greenhalgh’s days at City Hall could be numbered, which means that he’ll end up back here in Hammersmith & Fulham.

Adam Bienkov has more here.

Once again, Bozza’s judgement has been called into question. At the beginning of his first term, he lost 2 Deputy mayors in quick succession. it looks like another one is for the chop.

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Greenhalgh Watch (Part 1)

The former (Dear) Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham council, Stephen Greenhalgh, has been in the news again but not in the way that he’d like. As you know, the ex-Dear Leader was chosen by London’s self-styled emperor to become his deputy for policing – even though he knows nothing about the subject (he knows a lot about gimmicks though).

First, he rocks up to City Hall without the Metropolitan Police Commissioner in tow and then, he tells the Assembly that he “hasn’t been briefed”. Vintage Greenhalgh. The master bungler can be seen in this video clip.

I love the way he answers Jenny Jones’ question with, “I haven’t been… I haven’t actually read the review”.  Great opening line there, Greeno. Start as you mean to carry on. Anyone would think you despised the idea of being held to account.

UPDATE: 5/7/12 @1705

The first link is to a clip from last night’s edition of BBC London News. The second link is an interview with Riz Lateef. He looks as shifty and as sweaty as ever.  Two senior civil servants also mysteriously and abruptly left their posts. Some tweeters likened him to an over-inflated Nick Griffin.

They’re only up for the next 6 days.

The interview is at 10.10

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