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Ex-Mayor Livingstone

Gilligan uncovers Jasper’s empire

Gilligan front page 5th December 2007In tonight’s Evening Standard Andrew Gilligan has produced a four page feature on the web of black “voluntary” organisations linked to Lee Jasper that have pulled in a couple of million in funding from the Mayor and the London Development Agency. Remember the LDA is the body the Mayor which he uses as a piggy bank to fund his friends rather than to help promote economic development in London. Follow link here.

The Mayor and the bodies he is criticising have spluttered indignantly to life. Rather than addressing Gilligan’s specific concerns they are just spraying accusations of racism at him. He is clearly on the right track if, instead of rebutting his points one-by-one, they just try to vilify Gilligan himself.

Brixton Base says:

It would only appear that attacking organisations which represent and work with London’s black and minority ethnic communities are easy targets for Mr Gilligan’s race prejudice and biased, discriminatory reporting.

The 1990 Trust (BLINK) says:

Gilligan should be ashamed of this transparent use of the “race card” in the run up to the elections by questioning the role of the Lee Jasper, the Mayor’s top Black advisor.

Both the Brixton Base and The 1990 Trust (BLINK) have talked about taking legal advice, again a typical tactic of those trying to change the subject. Brixton Base come across as being incredibly pompous when they say: “Accordingly, the Board is in consultation with its solicitors”. I bet Gilligan and the Standard are cowering with that one.

The 1990 Trust piece is incredibly windy. It is talking rubbish when it says:

To set the record straight, a few of London’s Black organisations are funded by the GLA through a legitimate, open, budget process, fully transparent to the public.

That’s funny. When I asked the Mayor to tell me about the funding from GLA bodies to the 1990 Trust, Black Londoners Forum and Operation Black Vote, after they had taken part in a clearly political attack on Boris Johnson in the Guardian, it took over a month to get a reply. I wrote on 13th August and I got a reply on 18th September. The answer I got was partial one. I asked about funding from all GLA bodies. The answer related only to the GLA itself.

These funding streams are arbitrary and opaque. The impression given is that the Mayor and the LDA give out cash on a whim to people who are connected to the Mayor’s inner circle and that in return they do the Mayor’s bidding as evidenced by the Guardian letter.