Maybe It's Because I'm A...

By Craigie_B Last edited 120 months ago
Maybe It's Because I'm A...

As one of a fair few carefully-calibrated measures in his first 100 days, new Mayor Boris announced today that, as promised, he would end publication of The Londoner, the Mayor's tabloid-style London free-sheet.

If you never saw a copy, it felt a bit like a local newspaper. Only it was London-wide and not news at all - it was produced monthly by the Greater London Authority itself, not journalists, with adverts mostly coming from London agencies under the aegis of the GLA.

(Go have a flick through the last issue, but don't come running to us if the X-factor competition isn't on any more.)

At the same time, Boris announced he would dedicate the savings (presumably after redundancies, contract breaks with printers/publishers/designers etc) to planting 10,000 extra trees.

See what he did there? He enacted a promise he made during the campaign, to cancel a publication he derided as Ken's "ludicrous Pyongyang-style newspaper". But at the same time he turned it into a positive announcement, and linked it to an environmental issue - in short: Save paper, Save money, and Plant trees.

It may not be rocket science, but it's certainly deft-footed politics. His first 'spending' announcement comes explicitly linked to a 'saving' elsewhere, rather than 'doling out more of our money'. And with Ken widely considered a leading global figure against climate change, Boris has perhaps begun to steal his thunder. And his Londoner.

Glowing Tree Pic humanely recycled from JPhilipson's Flickrstream.

Last Updated 13 May 2008


Good on Boris! Hopefully this will be the first of many things to help show to some Londoners that in the end, he isn't really as bad as a lot of people write him off as being.

Doesn't surprise me to hear 'red ken' had his own magazine to fawn all over himself.

Mr Thant

Londonist: Delighted to be manipulated


Mr Thant - "?"

Do you not think this is going to happen?


I suspect he means we're being manipulated by Boris' PR machine.... Diamond Geezer certainly takes a different view.


You beat me to it Lindsey, dig an inch deeper and the story becomes less and less impressive by the sentence.

I can't wait to get voting on those trees :(


P'fft. He's cancelling the Londoner. That's good in itself, saving £3m of taxpayers' money. Any trees planted are a bonus - the voting thing is ridiculous, though.

As far as the article goes - nothing in it suggests anything other than what's actually happening. Really don't see the problem.

Smells an awful lot like sour grapes to me. To reframe slightly, can either polo or thant give any positive reason to keep the Londoner on?

Mr Thant

The point is taxpayers' money isn't being saved if it's then going to be frittered away on some token vanity exercise.

As DG points out, 10,000 trees doesn't go very far, and more to the point, Ken was apparently halfway through delivering a million trees:

It's totally fucking shameless. Craig/Londonist shouldn't be falling for it.


I think there's some confusion in these comments, but it's good to see some discussion!

It's clear to anyone who went through the respective manifesto's published by Ken and by Boris - and the camapign discussion over tree-planting - that it's very likely that Ken would end up planting many more trees than Boris.

This article doesn't address that, doesn't 'fall' for anything and wasn't 'manipulated'.

This article does not imply support for (or opposition to) the Boris announcement. Nor does it give any moral or value judgement on who is right, or who indeed has the best tree policy.

The article merely brings up the political deftness of the announcement, which was in my view quite sophisticated.

Thanks for the contributions though! I hope you all voted on the 1st May...


To imagine that this whole tree-planting MacGuffin would actually have any worth, though, you'd need to believe in the anthropogenic origins of climate change. Hasn't it been exposed as a sham by now?


Dean lives under a bridge and eats goats.


That's preposterous - I don't eat the goats, they're my friends! The rest of your post was accurate though.

Mr Thant

Ah, Craig, I see what you were trying to do. Pity you didn't get any of that across in the article.


Mr Thant, what *was* Craig getting across in the article?


Honestly, always seeing agendas in perfectly straightforward reporting. I don't know.

<wanders away="" to="" find="" a="" kettle="" to="" talk="" to="">


(wanders away to find a kettle to talk to)


"Ah, Craig, I see what you were trying to do. Pity you didn't get any of that across in the article."

bless - I will underline it for you next time, Thanty.


Whether or not his tree initiative is a weak gesture, isn't it at least better that such a substantial amount of money isn't going to be wasted on Ken's piece of propaganda? Even if it's spent on something else, that's 2.9 million more pounds that can be divvied up for more deserving causes and a heck of a lot less paper left lying in the street.