The Evening Standard is today reporting on the cost of the Mayor’s silly spat with Trevor Phillips. Apparently TfL had signed up as a sponsor of the Commission for Racial Equality’s conference, starting in London today, to mark 30 years since the Race Relations Act. They have spent £27,000 on this and as a result of the Mayor pulling out of the conference and using it as an opportunity to slag off Phillips TfL have had to withdraw too. The Livingstone pulls out story was covered on the Today programme this morning (see online version).
I guess that if TfL have a £78 million comms budget then the idea of sponsoring such a high profile conference would be attractive. It is pretty hard to spend that much cash on marketing, PR, etc unless you spend some big lumps on pretty marginal rubbish. Some mug comms guy at Barclays has also convinced his bosses that it might be a good way of showing corporate social responsibility. I can’t think of any sound marketing reason for sponsoring a conference like this. It must be pretty hard to argue what audience you are reaching and what messages you might be trying to convey to them. I don’t suppose TfL waste much time on that kind of discipline.
Anyway, you might imagine that TfL was independent enough from the Mayor to be able to continue even if the Mayor pulled out, but no. Livingstone’s ego is so big he thinks that wasting £27K to underline his point is of no consequence.