For Boris Johnson, £250,000 is “chicken feed”


by Sunny Hundal    
1:25 am - July 14th 2009

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The Conservative Party has been trying furiously in recent years to dispel the notion that it’s a party dominated by and for rich public-school elites. But we know this to be a facade when their own leaders contradict that party line.

There was David Cameron who couldn’t remember how many houses he owned; Anthony Steen MP, who said people were just jealous of his large pad; Michael Gove MP, who made £1,250 an hour. Now London Mayor Boris Johnson says the money from his second salary of £250,000 is just “chicken feed”. The Libdem MP Norman Baker said tonight:

There is nothing wrong with people writing newspaper columns, but this is an enormous amount of money and for Boris Johnson to dismiss it as ‘chicken feed’ shows just how out of touch he and the Conservative party are from the reality of life for millions of Londoners struggling to make ends meet in the depths of a recession.

Mostly right – except that there is something wrong with the London Mayor taking on several side jobs while his own administration is collapsing around him.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,London Mayor ,Westminster


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Reader comments


1. Councilhousetory

His popularity must do your nut. Good.

But his stupidity provides us lefties with all the ammunition we need

So, other than proving you’re still hung up on jealousy and class warfare tactics, what is your point?

“there is something wrong”

Quite, there’s something very murky about the nexus of right wing journalists and right wing politicians, particularly around how far it ensures that the latter’s misdemeanours aren’t reported by the former’s newspapers. Accountability my arse.

It’s an enormous amount of money for basically very poor articles written quickly and dressed up in typical verbiage and that suggests to me that the articles aren’t the point, it’s having him on the paper.

“His popularity must do your nut”

What’s popularity got to do with it? It’s the fact that he’s fucking incompetent, not interested in the job, can’t pick reliable staff and is over-reliant on spin that’s doing my nut. That people seem to find this amusing is an interesting lesson in people and the evident fact that effective, controlled spin doctoring still works, which is interesting after 12 years of New Labour.

@MarkM; I was suggesting that Boris’ slips of the tongue were so cringeworthy they lend themselves nicely to his criticism. You seemed really rattled by this, honestly argument ad hominem is the new black, yesterday on a Guido thread I was told to die and get a maths ‘o’ level.

6. Ken McKenzie

Tom,

The party of Bernard Ingham has never objected as such to spin doctoring. They just hated Labour being good at it. Only they’re allowed to do it.

That should be the Tory motto – “only we’re allowed to do that”.

Even I’m not going to perform my normal role here…it was a very stupid remark.

Though – as with Gove – it’s worth pointing out that however good or bad a job he is doing, writing one short article per week is not going to affect his performance either way.

That he is paid so much is solely the business of the owners of the newspaper.

Tony Blair, Alastair Darling, Harriet Harman, Charles Clarke, Patricia Hewitt – a small selection of the many leading Labour figures who were educated in private schools.

But does anyone care about their backgrounds? If they’re good ministers (or mayors), nobody does. The debate about Boris should focus on how he does his job, not how much money is owned by him or his family.

9. Ken McKenzie

cjcjc

Incredibly, we’re in agreement. If the paper wants to pay him £250,000, when I’d do it for, say, £200,000, then that’s their perogative.

Actually, I think Gove and Johnson are both excellent writers. I’d just rather they both stuck to what they’re good at.

What is wrong with him spending an hour on a Sunday knocking up a hilarious comment for a newspaper then?

Some may think it wrong that he can attract such a huge fee for his efforts, but worth and value can only be determined by the buyer.

Ken Livingstone used to work as a restaurant critic for the Standard . I never heard anyone on the left complain.

“Mostly right – except that there is something wrong with the London Mayor taking on several side jobs while his own administration is collapsing around him.”

Hmm. And I thought it wasthe lefties who insisted that everyone should have a proper work life balance. You know, not be tied to their desks at their jobs every hour of every day, be allowed, have the time, to explore other interests and enthusiasms.

Is it really thus a serious suggestion that Boris should be Mayoring on a Sunday morning? Or is he, like everyone else, allowed time off from the day job in the name of the work/life balance?

#8 Tim
I quite agree, but his bumbling antics haven’t done much for London, as #4 (Tom) points out very nicely.

#12 Loads of people on the left complained! A crook is a crook, no matter which side of the fence you’re on!

“Ken Livingstone used to work as a restaurant critic for the Standard”

Yeah, but that was before he was Mayor of London.

No wonder the Daily Telegraph ditched Iain Dale’s column if they are having to pay Boris £250,000 for his articles. I wonder how many other writers were also given the chop to cover over paying someone else who is already very rich?

@Worstall – ‘clever’, but I think the “while his own administration is collapsing around him” clause was significant…

“@Worstall – ‘clever’, but I think the “while his own administration is collapsing around him” clause was significant…”

Significant if it’s substantiated.

Now that it is almost certain they are going to win the next election they don’t even bother to hide their true opinions . The green wash has gone and we can see them for what they really are. Far right wing, rich privileged snobs, who have contempt for the less fortunate in society.

Cameron and his cronies are going to be one of the most arrogant and selfish govts in history.

@19 good point – perhaps BoJo should turn his column into a Clusterfuck Diary. I’d read it.

It is also why I take with a pinch of salt the whining of newspapers about their falling sales and loss of revenue. If they can pay that kind of money for the rants of Boris they can’t be that badly off.

Boris is just one of the many Conservatives who benefit from the giant wing nut welfare circuit.

Hmm. And I thought it wasthe lefties who insisted that everyone should have a proper work life balance.

Tim Worstall you really do turn up with bizarre retorts. How is him doing several different jobs – the most important of which involves a public office and he does badly – lead to a good work/life balance anyway?

I don’t give a monkeys how someone wants to live their lives. But if they’re working for the public they should concentrate on the job in hand rather than flaffing about for huge sums of money they consider “chicken feed”.

The Tories have so far run a disastrous ship. If that were Ken Livingstone with 4 resigned deputies they’d be hopping mad over ‘incompetence’. They’re accusing the other side of sour grapes because they’ve got nothing else to say.

“The Tories have so far run a disastrous ship. If that were Ken Livingstone with 4 resigned deputies they’d be hopping mad over ‘incompetence’. They’re accusing the other side of sour grapes because they’ve got nothing else to say.”

Exactly

They get away with it because the media is so biased in the tory favour. Hardly any of Boris’s screw ups get into the media, and as you rightly say if it was Ken the media would be on about it everyday. Even the BBC does not bother to cover Boris and what a mess he has made. But then the BBC is more concerned with being nice to ‘call me Dave’ in the vain hope that he will be nice to the BBc when he gets in.

Big mistake. As Chamberlin found you can’t appease the brownshirts.

Tim Worstall you really do turn up with bizarre retorts. How is him doing several different jobs – the most important of which involves a public office and he does badly – lead to a good work/life balance anyway?

Because the corollary of saying that it’s a disgrace that Boris Johnson writes a column for the Telegraph – which he has said that he dashes out on a Sunday morning – is that he ought to be spending every minute of every hour of every day ‘doing something as mayor’.

And incidentally, what other jobs does he have? He writes a weekly opinion piece as well as being mayor, but Sunny refers to ‘several side jobs’ – what are they?

“There is a good reason why Boris needs this money …”

What reason? Petronella duffed again?

“the corollary [...] is that he ought to be spending every minute of every hour of every day ‘doing something as mayor’.”

Nope.

You see, in the real world of real work, if your performance in your day job is flagging your boss will call you into his office and (ahem) gently suggest you pack in the work-on-the-side.

Nope. If the boss suggested that your work was suffering as a result of what you did on a Sunday morning and told you to quit it or he’d fire you, you could roast him at a Tribunal.

In the real world of real work that is.

Tim J – on various jobs see this:
http://www.boriswatch.co.uk/2008/06/04/one-down-five-to-go/

is that he ought to be spending every minute of every hour of every day ‘doing something as mayor’.

I think what we want…. no actually what we need, is a London Mayor who can run a fucking administration and isn’t sucking up to the police and his idiotic Tory administration every time and standing up for the people.

HE’s lost how many people now? Do you know his full list of gaffes? Remember his statement after the G20 protests? Has he apologised now for sticking up for the police without actually forcing them into an inquiry and account for their actions (thankfully our other politicians aren’t so subservient to state power)?

The guy is a joke. Name his biggest achievement as Mayor so far.

29. sean fear

The guy is a joke. Name his biggest achievement as Mayor so far.

Not pandering the kind of pressure groups you love so much.

HE’s lost how many people now?

Three? Four? Big deal. Good on him for getting rid of the bad’uns. Labour could learn a lot.

And all this talk about what people earn just smacks of envy, not of righteousness.

And you do know that Anthony Steen is stepping down at the next election?

In relation to second, third, fourth, or fifth jobs… well, I doubt being a Telegraph columnist impacts on being Mayor. The other three jobs, Chairman of Transport For London,
Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, Chairman of the London Waste and Recycling Board, probably overlap with the job of Mayor to some degree. But we are now one post and 50 comments and the arguments that Johnson is rubbish as Mayor, and that his other jobs are detrimental to being Mayor, have yet to be substantiated.

You do remember that Livingstone was Chairman of TFL when he was Mayor? Is the Mayor allowed to have more than one job if he is a lefty?

“And all this talk about what people earn just smacks of envy, not of righteousness”

Ifyou practice the politics of greed don’t be surpried if people practice the politics os envy

“and the arguments that Johnson is rubbish as Mayor, and that his other jobs are detrimental to being Mayor, have yet to be substantiated.”

They have been well proven. It is only moron trolls like you who can’t see it. Fuck off back to conservative home troll.

sally, they may have been proven, but as I said not in the OP and 30 comments here.

As for “the politics of greed” and “the politics of envy”:

In relation to the £250k, if Johnson’s job as Mayor is not being detrimentally affected by the Telegraph paying him £250k, why on earth are people upset about it (except his ill-conceived comment that it is chicken feed)?

If his job as Mayor is being detrimentally affected, why on earth does the £250k matter?

Good on Johnson for getting the £250k, if his job as Mayor isn’t negatively affected.

And sally, you are very, very dull.

“Nope. If the boss suggested that your work was suffering as a result of what you did on a Sunday morning and told you to quit it or he’d fire you, you could roast him at a Tribunal.

In the real world of real work that is.”

What can I add, if that’s the ‘reality’ you live in?

Good on him for getting rid of the bad’uns. Labour could learn a lot.

He didn’t want to get rid of them did he? He had to? Two were corrupt! One left because of internal in-fighting and one resigned because he was a twat. Hardly something Labour should learn from.

“one resigned because he was a twat. Hardly something Labour should learn from.”

Might I gently suggest that that is something which every political party, heck, every organisation, would do well to copy and learn from?

Getting rid of the twats sounds like a very good idea indeed.

If Johnson is being paid £250k , it explain why the Telegraph’s factual reporting has declined: they cannot afford the reporters on the ground.

What can I add, if that’s the ‘reality’ you live in?

Nothing, though if you are in a position to threaten people with the sack because of what they do on the weekends I suggest you read up on unfair dismissal.

Tim J – on various jobs see this:
http://www.boriswatch.co.uk/2008/06/04/one-down-five-to-go/

You don’t think that chairing three committees on the governance of London might, in some way, be related to the fact that he’s mayor of London? Or do you think that he’s moonlighting as the Chairman of the London Waste & Recycling Board out of his own selfish amusement?

He’s President of the Anglo-Turkish Society as well you know…

Sigh. As much as I agree with the sentiment of this article, I simply remember the research that was done on inequality in the UK and how people felt the gap was not between those living in poverty and the very rich but those living as middle class and the very rich. Ha.

So yeah, no one cares to be fair, the public certainly don’t.

I wish the left would simply get it through their really kind minds that we’re not a nice bunch of people, humans. Or maybe English people.


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    [...] Sunny Hundal at Liberal Conspiracy is among those irked by Boris’s latest gaffe, writing: “The Conservative Party has been trying furiously in recent years to dispel the notion that it’s a party dominated by and for rich public-school elites. But we know this to be a facade when their own leaders contradict that party line.” [...]

  3. ALAN SPENCER

    Liberal Conspiracy » For Boris Johnson, £250,000 is “chicken feed” http://bit.ly/dovyCk
    We agree Labour is screwing up But??@HONOUROURFORCES





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