London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson tends to take an unequivocal stance on some issues, or perhaps that should be an unequivocal public stance. Because when it comes to the BBC, what Bozza says for public consumption, and especially what goes into his weekly diatribe for the Maily Telegraph, is rather different from what he actually does.
He's from the BBC? Cripes! Oo-er chaps!!
We saw this in the lead up to the election, where he was more than happy to sit on the sofa of The Andy Marr Show (tm) and talk about Himself Personally Now, while avoiding the Beeb’s London man Tim Donovan, who had developed a most inconvenient habit of asking questions which Bozza found difficult to answer, all this culminating in a sweary outburst to camera just before polling day.
The singularly ambiguous attitude to the Corporation extended to City Hall appointments, so while that Telegraph column was being utilised to rail against the licence fee – Bozza not even bothering to check his figures before ranting – he was more than happy to appoint a BBC man, Guto Harri, as his spinmeister. But Harri has now moved to become one of Rupe’s troops.
So, with Bozza having taken such a robustly anti-Beeb line during his unguarded moment on the campaign trail, it might be thought that he would not touch the Corporation with his longest bargepole when it came to seeking out Harri’s successor. But that thought would have been misplaced, because the BBC is exactly where he has gone to find his new spinner.
Who he? Step forward Will Walden, until now the Beeb’s Westminster News Editor and formerly a producer on, to no surprise, The Andy Marr Show (tm). Walden has also worked with the BBC’s Washington man Matt Frei and Political Editor Nick Robinson, so he’s not exactly an outsider. Yet Bozza has no problem employing someone from the Corporation, while simultaneously railing against it.
Bozza has that much going for him: he’s the one politician who can rail against the BBC’s funding mechanism, then gratefully take advantage of the conveyor belt of journalistic talent it provides, while somehow avoiding becoming the object of derision as a result. Young Dave couldn’t have got away with facing both ways quite so blatantly, and he will know it.
Thus the march of Bozza towards the top of the greasy pole, and the triumph of style over substance. Yikes readers!