Not watching Boris on stage – I can guess that it’ll be well delivered, witty, pointed, contain at least one anti-Livingstone joke for the faithful to choke themselves laughing on, and so on.  This much is read – he is clearly the most popular as well as the most powerful Tory in the country, speaking very much to his audience.  It’s not exactly a tough gig, is it?

Indeed, what’s interesting this week is not the power but the Tory – reports of rifts with Cameron are partly an inevitable result of their two jobs – one trying to win an election (which involves portraying the country as a crime-ridden hellhole one step from total ruin), the other trying to run London (which involves morale-boosting PR for what is now his team and announcing reducing crime figures etc. as a *good* thing rather than something to be quietly ignored while you crank the foghorn about ‘fear of crime’).  As a Tory speaking to Tories, one of the obvious thing to talk about is how great it would be to get more from the voluntary sector (read: charities, philanthropists, bodies whose funding doesn’t come from taxation, basically).  They love that, but always overlook one problem, which I’d humbly like to share with them.

As a minor part in a charitable organisation, it’s my sad duty to inform Mr. Johnson that if he thinks that London is overflowing with voluntary organisations bursting with zeal and funding he’s got a screw loose – we’ve just (to no one’s surprise) lost our main source of finance and I guess we won’t be alone in cutting back this year, and last year wasn’t too much cop either, although we did get enough in to cover all the essentials.  The worst time to throw more of the workload onto the voluntary sector is at the start of a recession, after all – during the bad times ahead we’ll effectively be treading water and trying to keep breathing.  In our case (and again this pattern fits many types of charity) we get hit twice – we lose donations from business and organised events will bring in less money as people tighten their belts.

So, Boris, don’t expect London’s voluntary sector to help pay for your GLA cuts and frozen precepts.  We ain’t got the readies, mate.

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