Boris Hasn’t Got the Trots

Over at Harry’s Place and elsewhere on the left-wing blogosphere they are hyperventilating about the appointment of Munira Mirza, who has been hired by Boris to be his race relations adviser, to the consternation of many on both the left and the right. Some on the left claimed she was a member or a former member of the RCP sect. As did some on the right.

So Guido asked Munira –

“Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party?”
She quickly pointed out to Guido “I think the RCP was disbanded while I was still at school. I wasn’t a member.” Doh!

Guido has just got off the phone with Joe Derrett, who works in the Mayor’s press office – for now – he has for some years handled press requests for interviews with the Mayor. Guido asked him if he was “surprised to still have a job?” “Why?” he said defensively. “Aren’t you the former London Regional Labour Party Press Officer?” “Errr, I’ve got to go to a meeting.” he claimed. Somehow Guido suspects Joe won’t be in tune with the new order at City Hall for long…

The First Days of Mayor Boris

It got off to a good start with the police making good on his tough crime stance promise – shooting a drunk gun toting lawyer. However this banning of drink on public transport* has Guido worried (for one reason and another). Will hip-flasks be confiscated?

Will we be able to travel intoxicated, will one be able travel with bottles of booze? What are the mechanics of this? Guido may have to resort to Cameroon style transport arrangements in London – cycling one-handed while swigging from a jug of Pimms. Oh, hold on…
The thing is Boris, if you go to Beijing to hob-nob with Tibet’s oppressors (and don’t send the right signals) as well as getting all authoritarian in your first week with the G&T swilling classes on the long march to Zone 6, we will remember your treachery come 2012. This may be the most rapid disillusionment with a politician ever…

*Pretty sure that Guido was served alcohol on public river transport between Westminster and Canary Wharf one evening. It was pretty civilised for public transport. Is that to be banned?

Why Guido Backed Boris

Guido’s old friend Harry Phibbs can claim to be the first person to promote the idea of Mayor Boris Johnson. The Hammersmith councillor and Evening Standard diarist first posited Boris running in January 2007 on the Social Affairs Unit’s blog.

Guido thought it an inspired idea and posted a comment in reply:

Draft Boris, this is a tele-democracy, he is a performer. He will crucify Ken.

For what it was worth Guido then did everything in his power to encourage Boris to run. Guido made the succint case for Boris ten days before Tory nominations for Mayor closed. Here was the argument for Boris winning on psephological grounds. Guido’s July 2007 poll that showed 83% of Guido’s readers wanted Boris to run was unscientific but encouraging for him.
It was Guido who set up the “I’m Backing Boris” Facebook group which gained over a thousand supporters in the days before he announced he was running – and was actually taken over by the Boris campaign team when he formally announced he was running.

“How much influence do bloggers and the internet have in politics?” is a question Guido is often asked. My reply is that we only have influence over politicians, journalists and thus the climate of ideas. We don’t have any influence over the voting general public except through that opinion leading influence. Guido set out last July to encourage one political journalist to seize the moment, if Guido succeeded in that objective, his mission was accomplished.

Back Boris for a Greater LondonSome co-conspirators have suggested that Guido compromised his USP and libertarian principles in backing a politician’s bid for power – the first time this blog has endorsed a politician. Well Guido has hated Ken Livingstone’s brand of municipal socialism for decades, at one point it looked possible the Tories would again choose Steve Norris to lose to Ken again – that was not a prospect Guido welcomed. Boris has admirable libertarian-conservative instincts and is a refreshingly direct politician who speaks his mind. In a personal note to Guido after he won the Conservative nomination, Boris indicated that the admiration is mutual. So with an opportunity to encourage someone like-minded to lead London, it would have been churlish to remain aloof from the affray.

Boris as mayor will also hopefully provide Guido with lots of fun material…

London is Officially Liberated

Twinned with Edinburgh

+++ Paddy Power Pays Out Bets on Boris +++

According to Mike Smithson over on Politicalbetting.com.

Good Morning London

Twinned with Edinburgh

Ipsos-Mori V YouGov

Today will be the day where YouGov makes or breaks its reputation. YouGov alone is predicting victory for Boris – the rest of the major pollsters go for Ken by slim margins. Last night it looked to Guido like Ipsos-Mori were in CYA* mode, posting comments on PoliticalBetting.Com nuancing their position. Punters believe and trust YouGov…

Mori in the past have spun bad calls with “last minute surge” lines. Expect more of the same…


*Cover Your Ass

+++ YouGov Whisper Number Has Boris Ahead 6% +++

Mike Smithson has the whisper from a reliable source that YouGov’s last poll has Boris “leading Ken 44%-36% on first preferences. After second preferences that becomes 53% to 47%.”

Guido Predicts…

Boris will win and nothing else will really matter tomorrow. Polly Toynbee and all the rest of the chattering classes will choke on their words. Labour will finally understand in their collective consciousness that they made a terrible choice in replacing the triple election-winning Tony with the triple election-avoiding* Gordon.

They will also know that if Boris can win London, Cameron can win Britain. Gordon is a loser…

*1994 avoids risking challenging Tony for the leadership. July 2007 engineers a coronation through menace and intimidation to avoid a challenge for the leadership. October 2007 funks calling a general election to obtain a personal mandate in the face of a resurgent Conservative Party.

How Do You Like This Big Tent Gordon?

Kate Hoey will be Mayor Boris’ sports adviser in the run-up to the Olympics and if some rumours are to be believed, Brian Paddick, not Boris himself, will be his chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority. That would be sweet revenge for Paddick, although it might not be so comfortable for Sir Iain Blair…

One Labour insider has just told Guido that Labour will implement a scorched earth policy in an attempt to sabotage Boris at every turn. Just as they have squeezed the SNP government in Scotland budgetarily from the centre they will do the same in London. Central government under their control will collectively punish London’s voters for not voting Labour…

+++ YouGov: Boris 11% Ahead on First preferences +++

10% after second preferences…

Boris is Right, Tories Wrong. London Should Be a Shining City

Anyone who believes in free markets and free trade has to believe as a corollary in the free movement of people. Guido is the son of immigrants who came from Ireland and India to London in the 1950s and 1960s for economic and social reasons. They came, primarily, to better themselves. Now having lived and worked in some of the world’s greatest cities Guido still believes that London is the best of them all and is grateful that the city took in his parents.

Sure the roads are congested, they are in Tokyo and New York as well. Culturally New York is very self-centred and less internationalist, Tokyo is a bit of a mono-culture that just about tolerates foreigners. London is much more cosmopolitan than even New York with better French food than Paris, more bankers than Frankfurt and better nightlife than Berlin. Many people have come here without the right paperwork, they have come here to work and better themselves. They are not the problem and should be allowed to stay and given if necessary an amnesty to make them legally resident. They enrich us all. It is the people who come here to abuse the welfare state and commit crimes that are the problem.

Cameron disavows the policy and ConservativeHomies are up in arms about Boris supporting an amnesty for illegal immigrants. They should remember that one of their heroes, Ronald Reagan, supported and implemented an amnesty. London should be a beacon to those who want to be free to prosper for themselves and their families. Disqualifying newcomers from abusing the welfare state and deporting convicted foreign criminals might reduce the opposition to immigrants. Ronald Reagan did something like that when he had an amnesty for immigrants in 1986, because to him, the ultimate conservative optimist, immigration was a vital part of his vision of his country as “a shining city upon a Hill”.

Boris is an optimist in the Reagan mould who would like London to be a shining city for those seeking freedom and prosperity. An amnesty might not be a popular stance to take, illegal immigrants don’t have any votes, but it is the right stance.

Boris Will Do PMQs Tomorrow

Guido can confirm the Times’ Sam Coates exclusive that Boris will lead for the Tories against Harriet Harman tomorrow at PMQs. Repeated misleading references to Boris by Gordon Brown were the trigger for Cameron’s decision to give Boris an unprecedented right of reply in the PM’s absence. The last time a backbencher was given such an opportunity was during Asquith’s time.

“Lets face it, Boris is better known than most of the shadow cabinet, this will give him a chance to show leadership, he will crush Harriet Harman at the dispatch box“. Is this a high risk strategy? Not really, he is up against Harriet Harman…

“Block Boris” Says Ken’s Transport for London Commissar

As panic starts to grip Ken and the London Labour Party things are getting pretty desperate. Gordon lies at PMQs regularly that Boris wants to cut police numbers – as if a Tory mayor would ever cut back on coppers. Now Ken is pulling whatever levers he can to hold on to power. London’s transport commissar, Peter Hendy, has ordered his spin team to counter the popular Boris message on killer bendy-buses. Transport for London has also told taxi drivers not to issue receipts with “Back Boris” logos. Guido understands that 50,000 books of these receipts have already been snapped up by cabbies. This is a mistake by Ken, cabbies are not ones to succumb to authority. Petty diktaks like this will only get their backs up and ensure they do back Boris.
More sinister are the implicit threats to police funding hinted at if police sources don’t stop telling the truth about the appalling safety record of Ken’s bendy-buses. Ken clearly favours his friend Castro’s policing methods, where the police follow the party line…

UPDATE : In the comments there was some dispute about whether Hendy threatened police funding. Here is the quote from an email: “The statements clearly come from the Met traffic officers involved in the investigation (and are manifestly incorrect). It makes me inclined to cut support for TOCU in future budgets as clearly their support for us is limited to taking money and is one way.”

TOCU is the Transport Operational Command Unit, the Met division charged with tackling road safety and bus crime. Funded by TfL, it has 1,200 police officers, community support officers and traffic wardens and is a key part of the Met’s anti-crime strategy.

Even Buskers Have Spin Doctors Nowadays

Guido got an email yesterday with a story claiming that Boris posed for a photo-op with a busker handing over a twenty pound note. When the photo-op was completed he put the twenty back in his pocket. Cheapskate!
Having not been invited to yesterday’s “Bloggers for Boris” lunch (Tories only) Guido was in the mood for a bit of Boris bashing. So Guido contacted the busker, Claire Toomey, and she gave a surprisingly carefully worded explanation.

I was busking in Croydon in November (ish) and Boris Johnson came up to me and posed in front of me for pictures. He didn’t really speak to me. When he left, a passer by came up to me and said did he give you that £20 and I said what £20? When I looked in my guitar case there was nothing there and I thought that was a bit odd.

Fantastic. Guido hunted around for the picture. Guido asked if she knew anyone who had the picture. She suggested Guido contact her PR company. A busker with a PR agent?

Anyway Guido did contact her PR. No picture. She also admits she didn’t actually see Boris proffer a £20 note either.

Claire has a nice MySpace site and an album coming out shortly which needs publicity…

UPDATE : Have now got hold of the photographer for the local paper – he says Boris threw some change in the hat – there never was any note. Ken backing bloggers are of course running with the spin

Boris Now Punter’s Favourite

Guido managed to get a few extra quid on Boris before he went better than evens. Guido has felt ever since Mike Smithson drew attention to the second preference polling that Boris should be odds on. He is now.

The sheer ferocity of the attacks from Labour figures at their spring conference suggests they know it as well. Labour activists don’t like him and therefore don’t understand how he could win. Two months to go before they will find out…

Create Your Own Boris Finger-Puppet

What with Gordon, Clegg and Dave doing Blue Peter, it falls to Guido to demonstrate that you don’t need double sided sticky-tape to be a politician. See it on GuyNews.TV.

Taxi for Boris

Very amused to be handed this receipt by a London cabbie. Apparently the campaign is giving away the books of receipts free to cabbies. Ambient marketing…

How Much Did Hugh Muir Pocket Courtesy of Ken?

The Guardian’s diarist, Hugh Muir, gave Boris a good going over yesterday in his diary column, all but accusing him of being a supporter of the Ku Klux Klan.

Only on Saturday another Hugh Muir piece also appeared in the Guardian, headlined Boris Johnson Faces Conflict of Interest Charge Over Office, over Boris taking free office space from a Ken hating business.

Conflict of interest charges are serious indeed and should be answered. So how much did Hugh Muir get for his contribution to a report commissioned by Ken – The Search for Common Ground? We know it cost the Mayor’s taxpayers £22,000. We know of course it had a foreword by Mayor Ken. What we don’t know is how much of the taxpayers £22,000 Hugh pocketed courtesy of Ken.

Guido has tried to contact him to find out, but no reply so far. Hugh’s article on Boris concluded that Boris “should know there is no such thing as a free lunch”. Quite, so how much did Hugh get from Ken Livingstone?

Charity Commission Warns Ken Backing “Charities”

The Charity Commission has rapped a dozen Muslim charities for supporting Ken Livingstone’s bid to be re-elected as Mayor of London. They wrote a letter which was posted on the Guardian’s CiF a few weeks back (3 January).

It read: “We the undersigned believe that it is in the best interest of the Muslim communities of London, and indeed all Londoners, to back Mr Livingstone in this year’s mayoral elections.” The Commission received several complaints that the letter breached charity law, which forbids charities from supporting political candidates or parties.
[…] Read the rest

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