Friday, April 25, 2008

(I wrote this yesterday but, through some strange twist of fate, it didn't get posted until today. No, I don't understand why either. Personally I blame The Master. Or the Bad Wolf)

I am, as you know, incredibly well-balanced and supernaturally slow-to-anger. But today's Evening Standard is just taking the piss, wining and dining it, then leaving it in a strange part of town where the buses don't run and the taxi-drivers are all rapists (apparently).

The Evening Standard is known to be 'Fair and Balanced', in the same way that Fox News is 'fair and balanced', namely massively right-wing, xenophobic, borderline racist and making a living by making sure it's readers know all four thousand ways they are currently fucked and how they will die tomorrow with the house they live in not even worth the value of a bag of Birds Eye peas. As befits a newspaper it has taken an aggressively partisan side in the London Mayoral elections with an almost daily barrage of front-page headlines about how Ken Livingstone's campaign is being run entirely by members of Al Qaeda (I wish I were exaggerating and, to be honest, I am, but not by as much as you might think) and that Boris Johnson is a brilliant incisive thinker not seen since the death of William Gladstone, which is a surprise to anyone who's actually ever heard him talk as he's always seemed to be a berk that can't even follow an autocue.

It's no real surprise, Livingstone and Associated Newspapers have a long hatred of one another, which led to Livingstone's stupid comparison of a Jewish Standard reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard. Well done Ken. But even so, the Standard surpasses itself today. 'Mayor Talks of Boris Win', 'I'll start work on my book says Livingstone', 'He gives Tory rival advice on what to do first', 'Fears of poor turnout among Labour voters'. I'm not a Labour supporter, though I'll admit that by temperament I'm probably closer to them than I am to the Tories or Cameron's New Tories. But this sort of thing, making it look as though Livingstone has or is ready to throw in the towel is highly prejudicial. The Standard have fluctuated on a daily basis between whole-hearted support of the blonde-haired fop and just thinking he's great, they were the only ones to have an official poll that somehow gave Boris a double digit lead over Livingstone when all other polls had them either neck-and-neck or within a few percentage points.

Andrew Gilligan, who we all remember from the Hutton Report into the death of Doctor David Kelly was described as unreliable and had to leave the BBC has written almost daily essays for the Standard on the evilness of Ken and the wonderfulness of Saint Boris. Presumably he doesn't see it as a conflict of interest that, after leaving Aunty, he got snapped up by Boris Johnson to work for the Standard. Today he sees fit to launch a broadside against Ken on the grounds the mayor cannot be trusted and lacks credibility. Again Gilligan doesn't bother to mention that perhaps he is expertly placed to spot this because he has been judged to be lacking both in the past.

So today I filled in my postal vote. To my annoyance I found myself forced to give my first vote to Ken, not because he's the best candidate but because he's the best out of the two horse race he's in with Boris. The political disengagement in this country seems so complete that most Boris fans don't seem to pay much attention to the numerous hustings that their hero didn't manage to make it to or the fact that when he did turn up they might wish he hadn't. He'll have another opportunity to put his foot in it on Question Time tonight, a show which few people bother to watch. Ken supported Sir Ian Blair over the Mets shooting of an unnarmed, non-violent Brazilian that they couldn't be bothered to check wasn't an Asian suicide-bomber, he supports the intense disruption that bringing the glorified school sports day of the Olympics to this city, despite the fact that the money to pay for it is being taken from the pockets of Londoners like myself. Yet he is still better than Boris Johnson, who has never managed to run anything, who has a habit of thoughtlessly abusing whole sections of the community, who wants to spend millions of pounds replacing one bus fleet with another that will be less able to be used by parts of the community and who otherwise doesn't seem able to talk in any great detail about why he wants to be mayor or what he'll do should he get it. He's kept at arms length by the Cameron cabinet because they know that if the Conservative Party wants to look credible they can't have Boris bumbling around in the background and who they must really be hoping doesn't become the mayor because he'd end up being exhibit A in why people shouldn't vote Tory at the next General Election.

What's worrying is that there seems to be e general feeling of not voting for Labour because of things like the Iraq War. As someone who was anti-war it's galling for me to say that Boris shouldn't ride into the mayorship because of discontent over a war that Livingstone didn't support. It would be the last laugh of Tony Blair if he has a situation where the entire country turns on his party once he leaves and all the institutions he created turn blue.

Labels: , , , ,


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?