The Londoner and the Mayor’s £100 million comms empire

A posting on Guido Fawkes’ blog yesterday made me think that it was time to revisit the whole Livingstone self-promotion story. I have never linked to any Guido stories previously because the comments tend to be rather sweary and ranty, so be warned. Yesterday’s posting was about about how the Londoner is distributed to MPs. It also made a possibly erroneous claim about copies being posted to households outside London.

Many posters reported how they were not getting copies although they actually live in London albeit most of them reckoned not to want to see it anyway. For myself I haven’t seen a copy in months. I have been reduced to getting copies off the Mayor’s website in order to criticise its blatant bias.

The Londoner is one of the key elements of the Mayor’s £100 million a year comms spending. The figure makes the £1 million each the Mayor and Boris are going to spend on their election campaigns look like small beer.

The Londoner is costing £2.8 million in the current financial year. This is paid for by extorting levies from the GLA bodies in return for which they get advertising space. Transport for London have to pay £1.5 million and the London Development Agency has to pay £500K. Even the Metropolitan Police, who should probably be concentrating on stopping teenagers being stabbed to death, have to pay £250K. The net cost of the Mayor’s self-promotion to the Greater London Authority is therefore only £550K.

It is notable that the Fire Brigade (LFEPA) pays nothing. It is no coincidence that the Mayor has been complaining about LFEPA’s governance. In other words he chafes that he does not control it. They told him to get stuffed when he asked for a contribution to the Londoner.

Hilariously one of the Mayor’s 265, £13 million a year comms people (see previous posting) came onto the comments section of the Guido blog yesterday describing him or herself as a GLA Spokesperson.

It is totally untrue to suggest that 5,000 copies of the Londoner are being sent to each postcode district in the UK. No copies are sent to each postcode district in the UK. Like other publications of local authorities, the Londoner is sent to every household in the area covered by the Greater London Authority – that is Greater London. More than three times more residents of the capital say they want to receive their information about London government from the Londoner than, for example, from the Evening Standard. In addition, as London is the capital of the UK, individual copies of the Londoner are sent to each Member of Parliament and each Member of the European Parliament to ensure that they are directly informed about the actions of London government. This is important as London is frequently discussed in the UK parliament and EU legislation can have important consequences for London. As the Londoner is circulated to more than three million households in London, the costs of this circulation is a minuscule proportion of total circulation costs.

The GLA has a responsibility to ensure that untrue statements about it, such as those you have chosen to publish, are corrected. You seem to consider you have a right to publish nonsense about people and then criticise them for pointing out that it is nonsense.

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2 Responses to The Londoner and the Mayor’s £100 million comms empire

  1. John of Enfield says:

    Amusingly, even my postman apologised for delivering an election pamphlet masquerading as a communication from the Mayor of London.

    Ken, you can fool some of the people some of the time ……………….but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    PS – Is the cost of its production included in his election campaign expenses?

  2. Phil says:

    John,

    The Londoner, if that is what you are referring to, is paid for by us through the precept and by raiding the Met, TfL and the LDA. It is not meant to be political but the Mayor makes damn sure it bigs him up and doesn’t cover any negative stories.

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