Just how many “partners” can one guy have? (And did you see what Boris was eating for breakfast this morning?)


We should thank Simon Fletcher for a kind (if possibly optimistic) mention in this CiF article *gazes wistfully across the tumbleweed-strewn wasteland in search of politicians and journalists*.

He’s right that liberal and leftish writers are currently more prominent among London related blogs, but that probably stems from being in opposition, and having a greater opportunity to scrutinise and attack. It’s noticeable that even the most popular lefties – Tim, Justin or Lenin, for example – take a critical stance against the current government.

We do have one reliable high-profile reader, though: none other than Andrew Gilligan. He popped up in the CiF comments, quickly snaffling and making off with the goalposts…

“Don’t be so bashful, Simon: the Dave Hill story about the cost of the Routemaster which you understandably praise actually came from, well, you – two Livingstone campaign press releases on February 29 and March 3. That’s pretty much exactly what I meant when I talked about some City Hall bloggers merely copying other people’s work.”

Is this true? Well, Dave soon came across for a quick O Rly?

“That is absolutely untrue, Mr Gilligan. My story about the cost of Routemasters was based on figures I obtained from Transport for London after Livingstone and Johnson disagreed about that cost on the Vanessa Feltz radio programme. The Livingstone campaign picked up on it and placed its own interpretation on it after it was published first on my blog then at the Guardian. I look forward to your apology, but I’m not holding my breath.”

If we go back to the original piece then we can see that this is far more plausible…

“After both sides had provided it with their calculations The Guardian asked TfL for the information necessary to make its own judgement of Johnson’s plan. It was provided with estimated costs for putting this fully into effect, which were largely in line with the Livingstone campaign’s assessment of the whole new Routemaster plan and sharply at odds with Johnson’s regarding conductors.”

Unless, of course, Mr Gilligan has been theorising some grand conspiracy (probably not of the neocon variety).

Now, it’s a given that all of us will be fabulate or be otherwise dishonest at some time or another (I certainly have been, though elsewhere I hasten to add), but these things should be faced up to. Will Gilligan apologise – and let us all shake hands, break bread, skip in sunlit fields etc. – or will he keep mining away at this hole he’s been digging until he pops out into Australia?

Update 2:

Our congratulations to Adam Bienkov – the left-wing answer to good Guido Fawkes – on making his CiF debut…

Update 3:

This may be all we’re going to get from the guy…

“This is, albeit unintentionally, one of the most flattering things anyone has ever written about me. It’s sort of creepy, but also sort of gratifying, too, that I appear to occupy such a huge place in all your lives. Keep going (an unnecessary instruction, I know) – and thank you.”

He must be enjoying the attention. The only other thing that could possibly be stopping him from giving straight answers is the fear of being found out.

And with that, I’m off to a party (not the kind of party that you’d go to. We’re all going to discuss the work, personality and appearance of Mr Gilligan at length, before rounding off the evening with a lively game of Plant The Kiss On The Ken).

Update 4:

He’s baaack, saying much the same thing, but with added hyperventilation…

“I can’t be that washed-up a journalist if you spend three-quarters of your life writing about me. You’re right, though, in one sense – a tiny bit of the spice went out of my life when I no longer had Ken and his munchkins to bait. Now you’re back! Every day! (Several times every day, usually.) A dream come true! Even John Ross, I see, has dropped by, posting as “AView” in the comments. Happy to have a rematch any time you like, John.”

Take your finger awaaaay from the exclamation mark, Mr Gilligan.

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