Boris and Waddles, an everyday tale of Tory croneyism
Posted on 5 December 2009 | 9:12am
If you want another angle on how ‘modern Toryism’ might look in power, study the tale of Boris Johnson and Veronica Wadley.
Most of you know who Boris is by now. Old Etonian (oh sorry, not allowed to say that), ex Telegraph journalist, funny on quiz shows, blonde mop, became London mayor ….
… with the help of Veronica Wadley, editor of the London Evening Standard when it was being run by Paul Dacre (kids sent to Eton, hate-filled bilious ubergruppenfuhrer of all things Mail Group Zeitung)
Since Boris became mayor, Waddles has become paperless and therefore in need of something else to do with her time, and what her friends like Boris call her ‘considerable abilities.’
And just as Dave and Gideon woke up one day and said wouldn’t it be a jolly wheeze to run the country, like Boris is running London, boo hiss fiddlesticks, how cone Bozza got to get a proper job first, she woke up and thought ‘wouldn’t it be super if I could become the London arts supremo?’
After all, she went to loads of first nights as Standard editor and she had lots of film reviews and, er, everything.
The problem is it is a public position and there are things called Nolan principles and interviewing panels and, er, stuff like that.
But Waddles pressed ahead undeterred. After all she knew Boris and Boris, er, owed her one.
So she applied. And she was one of five to be interviewed. But she was deemed by the panel not to meet the criteria for the job and so was not on the short list of three to be interviewed by Boris.
Boris wasn’t happy about that. He decided to interview four, not three, and guess who the fourth was?
Then guess who he recommended for the job? Yes!!! Let’s hear it for the Waddler. She’s got the job. Alas for Boris and Waddles, there were a few more hurdles to jump, like his recommendation being accepted by Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw. But by now the arts world was awash (if an arts world can be in such a state) with rumours – widely dismissed by genuine arts experts – that Dacre’s former oberleutnant in the Gruppenfuhrer-antiKen department was to get this important job.
Bradshaw is made aware of the apparent irregularities of the process, is in any event already aware of the lack of ability and qualifications of Waddles, and so puts the thing on hold. Members of the interviewing panel warn the process has been irregular.
Ah, say the Bojoistas at City Hall. Let’s not have the job filled until Dave is PM and then we can get it snuck in under cover of all our new pals being in there with their spiffing red boxes and tacky Vauxhall ‘ministerial limos’.
Meanwhile Labour at City Hall press on and force the publication of emails and correspondence which suggest Boris has not been wholly open and frank about the process. Oh for heaven’s sake, say his people, this was a clerical oversight. Yeah, right.
Waddles should be assured Boris will fight for her. That’s what they’re taught at Eton … Stand up for your own.
As to what the rest of the world will make of it, who knows? Because in common with so much else that is, er, a bit tricky for Dave and Co, there is something of the usual news blackout applying. The Guardian are giving it a go but pretty much solo.
Imagine if this had been Ken. Oh my God. ‘Oi Waddles,’ the Obergruppenfuhrer would be shouting from his bunker, ‘can we up the pointsize on “croney” in the headline? There’s a dear.’
Still, must be nice to have all those friends who keep these stories quiet when those horrid lefty press people and a few pols try to suggest this is another example of what a Tory Britain might be like – an elite running things for their friends from high places.
Er, inheritance tax cut for my Notting Hill chums anyone?