Today the Mayor is complaining about Andrew Gilligan of the Evening Standard again. This is becoming a bit of a theme with Livingstone.
On Monday under the title “Ken’s Freedom to manipulate” Gilligan said:
Warning to all London pensioners: if a man with a nasal south London accent, a nasty temper and a bad record of dodgy press releases turns up at your door claiming your free bus pass is “under attack”, call police at once.
Officers believe this man, who calls himself the Mayor of London, has been preying on the elderly for months, manufacturing a totally fraudulent “threat” to the Freedom Pass in a desperate attempt to get OAPs to hand over their votes.
Having failed to get any serious London media outlet to touch the “story”, largely because it has been flatly denied (five times) by the people who run the Freedom Pass and is untrue, Mr Livingstone has now snared innocent actors in his cynical schemes. Figures trusted by the elderly, such as Richard Wilson, TV’s Victor Meldrew, have been persuaded to endorse a message that the pass may be snatched away.
DI Gilligan of the Derry Street CID offers this advice: when dealing with our beloved Mayor, on any matter, simply repeat out loud Victor Meldrew’s most famous catchphrase: “I don’t believe it!”
Another theme for the Mayor is the Freedom Pass. Although this is entirely paid for by the London Boroughs the Mayor has issued 9 press releases on this subject this year, 6 of which named me. He issued this press release today. Read it for yourself. As so often the Mayor is just lying.
Ignore the first paragraph.
The second paragraph talks of “a succession of attacks”. In fact there has only been one attack, see third and fourth paragraphs. London Councils is lobbying to remove the Mayor as the final arbiter in commercial discussions between London councils who fund the £213 million a year Freedom Pass and their supplier TfL. In fact there has been a succession of attempts by the Mayor to paint himself as the saviour of the Freedom Pass when in fact he makes no contribution to it beyond ensuring that TfL can charge local authorities too much. Apparently the Mayor thinks he can be an honest arbiter when it is his own body, TfL, that is one party to the negotiation.
In the fifth paragraph I am mentioned again. It seems a bit disproportionate to use one blog posting from a minor councillor in Ealing as a plank of 6 mayoral press releases.
In the sixth paragraph he talks about his celebrity supporters. Did he tell Michael Parkinson, Richard Wilson, Harold Pinter, Claire Rayner and co that their Freedom Passes cost their local authorities £205 per annum each and that they need to make sure that they actually use them? I don’t suppose he did.
In the last two paragraphs the Mayor just gets rude.
The Mayor is a liar and a bully. He is lying about London councils’ intent, which is just to be allowed to negotiate with their supplier. Councils pay for Freedom Passes. They just want to get value for money from TfL. Last year Ealing’s Freedom Pass bill went up 9.4% (see page 23 of the Budget Book). No wonder councils want a level playing field when they negotiate with TfL. As Gilligan says he is just trying to scare Freedom Pass users. In his fight with councils the Mayor is quite happy to frighten pensioners, hence he is a bully.