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Thursday, March 08, 2012


it is a truism that money talks. it is equally true that politicians love money, doesn’t seem to matter what the colour of their politics they do love the colour green. in what is a busy year for london we also have the mayoral elections. effectively this is a competition between ken livingstone and boris johnson. if i am honest neither really inspires. in today’s evening standard there is a bit about how a millionaire businessman will double his gift to boris’ re-election fund if he likes what mr. johnson puts in his election manifesto. two of mr. johnson’s rich backers say that boris is good for business and that business is the foundation on which our economy is built. one of them is a hedge fund manager the other is a property tycoon, both businesses have proved how stable a foundation they are in recent years. the piece also points out that mr. livingstone is getting some of his funding from the unions, sorry i should say ‘union barons’, as they are called in the report, they may as well have called them ‘union robber barons’ just to make sure the readers got their point. not just satisfied with that they make the claim that because he has accepted union money he might be held to ransom by the unions. they don’t explain how that actually works – it is just enough to throw that thought in there. it is just a shame that they had started the whole thing off with sir john beckworth (property tycoon) saying he would double his £25,000 to mr. johnson if he liked the cut of boris’ jib. stanley fink is giving £33,000 to boris. the two unions cited are the transport salaried staff’s association (tssa) has given mr. livingstone £25,000 and aslef (associated society of locomotive engineers and firemen) has given £20,000, between them the two unions, representing thousands of london workers, are giving less than two businessmen. not that the evening standard makes that point, nor do they make the point that perhaps the idea that one or two rich businessmen could influence policy for london is inherently unfair and damaging to democracy. that isn’t a problem. a union doing the same to mr. livingstone is very bad as far as the evening standard is concerned. maybe the evening standard would be better off if it campaigned for elections that don’t involve large financial war chests. or a change of rules to ensure that no one can serve for more than two terms. but then if i were the editor of the evening standard the flavour of the coverage would be ‘anyone but boris.’

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