Boris and Expenses

It’s been a tough week this week. I was angry and disappointed to learn that my former deputy had made some very serious errors of judgement when it came to expenses. He rightly stepped down and we must now move on.

I won’t gloss over my own issue with expenses. Despite being a fanatical cyclist, I have had to use taxis over the past year to travel to official functions as Mayor. To be honest, I always prefer using the bike, even to very posh functions. However, sometimes using a taxi is unavoidable.

When I was elected, I promised that I would be open and transparent – for good or for bad. Even though the release of information about expenses can be and has created negative media stories, I believe that is a price worth paying for a truly accountable mayoralty.

And it is important to focus on our broader efforts to run an open and value for money City Hall. We have made significant savings, such as cutting the media budget by £700,000 and closing down the office in Venezuela, saving £100,000.

We publish all spending over £1,000 and, more importantly, City Hall no longer spends money on narrow political causes. I am pleased to report we have not held any lavish lunches with South American dictators!

All this has enabled us to freeze our share of the council tax for the first time in 8 years.

So, I believe we have a good record when it comes to respecting your money, using it with care and in a transparent manner. I will always be in favour of shining a light into dark corners, and one thing I will promise is that you will never see anything blacked out when it shouldn’t be in any document we publish.

Boris is on Blue Blog

Michael Jackson: the man that Beat It

“…and Gordon Brown will probably moonwalk into Prime Minister’s questions.”

To understand the cult and martyrdom of Michael Jackson, we need to go back to Thriller, the 14-minute masterpiece directed by John Landis in 1982. Jackson hired Landis after seeing An American Werewolf in London and he told him: “I want you to turn me into a monster.”

That is what happens. It is an extraordinary piece of music-TV and it helped the album to sell 65 million copies. Jackson does his breathtaking dance routines, and then morphs into a lycanthrope, his physical features changing almost beyond recognition, so that what was once charming becomes downright scary. Which is what happened, of course, to Jackson himself over the next two decades. He entered into a kind of abusive relationship with the tabloid press, in which his attention-seeking was matched by their prurience. He mutilated himself with plastic surgery, and the world was treated to stomach-churning pictures of dislocated nostrils and drooping eyelids.

Continue reading Michael Jackson: the man that Beat It

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

“the world has heard so much about duck houses and lame duck prime ministers that they must think we are all completely quackers

If the BBC’s chiefs have an ounce of common sense they will seize the moment, cut Jonathan Ross’s salary in half and use the money to hire another 20 Farsi-speaking analysts. […]

There is a good reason why the ayatollah bashed Britain with such singular ferocity, and it is to do with the Iranians’ changing view of America. We have been co-opted to play the role of Great Satan, because America is now led by Barack Obama, or Barack Hussein Obama, as Fox News always calls him, and it is obvious that the mullahs don’t know quite how to handle him.

Obama’s intelligent speech in Cairo has had a big impact in the Muslim world, and it is obvious that it is his presence in the White House – far more than any BBC broadcast – that is giving hope to the demonstrators in Tehran.

I don’t know whether this election was rigged. Even if there were as many irregularities as the protesters claim, it seems sadly possible that Mr Ahmedinejad retained a majority of the votes, if not 63 per cent. Indeed, I saw one BBC television report that scrupulously portrayed the messianic reception he received in parts of the country, with weeping women queuing to touch the hem of his raiment.

  Continue reading Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Wealth creation and public spending

So here we go again. The battle lines are drawn, and how numbingly predictable it is. For the next 11 months we are fated to endure a necrarchy, a zombie government – and a brain-dead argument about public spending. […]

I want to hear politicians talk less about themselves and their priorities and more about the entrepreneurs, the people who get up at 5am to organise their business or cut deals with the other side of the world. Every time you hear politicians swanking about what they are going to do with public funds, remember that wealth was ultimately created by private enterprise; and, if they don’t help the wealth creators, they won’t have any money to spend.

[The full article can be seen as first printed in the Daily Telegraph on 15 June 2009]

BNP Protest – Nick Griffin pelted with eggs

He really did get a good egging – see here


Here is a further timely Dungeekin rendition in a wonderful ‘Oliver’ spoof


In this life, one thing counts,
Tolerance in large amounts,
But when you see the BNP,
You’ve got to taunt a Fascist or two.
You’ve got to taunt a Fascist or two, boys,
You’ve got to taunt a Fascist or two.

When you see the BNP,
You’ve got to taunt a Fascist or two!




Hanging on to jobs and power

If Labour backbenchers want to remove such suspicions, their only choice is to revolt. Will they? Don’t hold your breath.

What a shower. What a farce. […]

The past few days have reminded me of the climactic scenes of one of those Pink Panther films, when the world’s supposedly most ruthless killers are converging on their target, and their mission is Kill Clouseau! or in this case, Kill Gordon! Each has his or her signature weapon, and each manages to bog it up. With an unexpected yell, Purnell springs from the stationery cupboard at the Department of Work and Pensions – and his rubber dagger spangs harmlessly aside. […]

[The full article can be seen as first printed in the Daily Telegraph on 08 June 2009]

Simon Heffer for Chelmsford

He actually has a world view…He actually believes things, and he believes them with a volcanic sincerity

..a withering reproach to all the temporising anaemic difference-splitters of this Parliament.

We want the Heff, as we affectionately call him, and we want him now.

David Cameron is said to have received 1,000 letters from assorted headcases who believe they are an undiscovered talent, the Susan Boyles of the next Parliament. And yet of all the names that have so far emerged, there is only one that has really made me sit up. I speak for millions of Daily Telegraph readers when I say that last week my heart leapt for joy when I saw that at last Simon Heffer is poised to allow his name to go forward.

I pounded the table so hard the crockery rattled. I emitted a strangled cry of relief – the kind of noise they must have made in Mafeking when they realised the siege was about to be lifted, and my being was flooded with that sense of ineffable calm that is said to have descended on Churchill when he heard that, after agonising years of prevarication, America had entered the war on our side.

Politics may be in crisis. Parliament may be discredited. The very letters MP now seem to stand for nothing but a bunch of Mercenary Plunderers. But with Heffer poised to enter Parliament, and with the ample Hefferian trouserings set to polish the leather of the green benches, I had a sudden sense that everything was going to be all right.

It is true that the news filled me with such elation that my vision was temporarily clouded, and I may not have read the fine print of the article. But I received the distinct impression that he had set his sights on an Essex seat; and since Heffer invented the very phrase and concept of “Essex Man”, and since he is already known as the “Sage of Chelmsford”, it struck me that he must be a shoo-in.

Continue reading Simon Heffer for Chelmsford