Via @prj45 on Twitter, I notice that Andrew Gilligan has apparently disappeared off the face of the Telegraph website.  Whether this was a result of a technical hitch or a long-overdue realisation that a ‘London Editor’ who pointedly refuses to recognise any event that took place in London politics post-May 2008 unless it’s to do with a park in Greenwich isn’t worth the asking price wasn’t immediately obvious.  Luckily for fans of crap journalism it turned out to be a technical hitch, so let’s take this opportunity to see what nuggets of London interest have been unearthed by the Great Journalist in recent weeks:

Christmas for Boris as Labour invites defeat [18/12/09]

Marvel as Andrew refights the 2008 election for the fortieth time and uses his position on a national newspaper to settle old scores.  The trademark attack on Simon Fletcher for ‘converting a 27-point lead to a 6 point defeat’ conveniently omits one vital factor – the selection of Boris as a candidate, without which the Conservatives wouldn’t have won.  The whole thing is classic Gilligan, but unconsiously reveals a headache as Boris’s current style-over-detail ego trip approach increases the likelihood that he either won’t stand in 2012 due to Westminster ambitions or will have a massive unspinnable cockup in the next two years which destroys his halo.  If the Tories want to hang onto London, they need to hang onto Boris and, as we’ve seen at recent LA meetings, he’s operating detached from his party at the moment.  If even the Spectator’s editor is speculating that Boris won’t stand in 2012, surely the Telegraph’s London Editor has more important things to attend to?  Who were these ‘catch up chats’ at City Hall with, and shouldn’t he be out in the chamber watching democracy at work rather than getting his information from, presumably, Guto Harri or Sir Simon Milton or similar administration big wigs?

One other thing stands out – Mr. Gilligan is unusually modest in ascribing Boris’ victory solely to poor campaigning by his opponent.  After all, a prominent figure at the time has recently written of…

…my part as a campaigning editor in ousting Ken Livingstone as London’s mayor…

that person, of course, being Gilligan’s old editor Veronica Wadley, writing in Gilligan’s old stamping ground, the Spectator.  Odd that he missed that, really.  Perhaps he should set her straight?

Olympics: One London MP’s crusade for truth [16/12/09]

Thrill to Andrew bashing the awful Nick Raynsford MP, without mentioning that our Nick is fond of boating trips with Boris to examine sites for airports, and is, by any stretch, amongst the closest Labour politicians to City Hall at the moment (the No. 1 spot is Kate Hoey, obviously).  Surely the Mayor’s links to the building contractor’s favourite MP are worthy of investigation by the Telegraph’s London Editor?  No?

‘Terrorist’ photographers: why are our police so stupid? [15/12/09]

I’ll give him this one, but since everyone (except, it seems, the police) agrees that the current behaviour of plod in respect to photographers is insane and counterproductive, surely the question to ask is where the political leadership from the people with their hands on the ’tiller’ of the Met is, since this is clearly an issue where operational policing overlaps with political leadership.  Or are dangerous dogs more important than freedom of speech?  Another question for the Telegraph’s London Editor to investigate?

Extremist schools: New evidence as Minister for Hizb ut Tahrir boobs again [14/12/09]

It’s strange that a story over alleged funding of extremism by Government (shot down in flames after David Cameron got his facts on the source of funding wrong) transforms in Gilly-world into an attack on Ed Balls.  Since the PR storm preceding Dave’s intervention was highly reminiscent of the techniques used by Andrew’s old Muzzie-bashing friends at Policy Exchange (close links to the appalling shadow education secretary Michael Gove) and the original Telegraph story was written by Gilligan himself linking to an imminent report by the right-wing ‘think tank’ the Centre for Social Cohesion (run by the appalling Douglas Murray) perhaps it’s not so strange after all – the CSC is housed in the same building (Clutha House) as Policy Exchange and has been warmly received by such leading lights in the field of reconciliation and understanding as Mel Phillips, who aren’t usually friends of Mr. Balls’ education policies.  Funny how it all links back to the Spectator and the wanktanks, really.  Climate change denial, AIDS denial, mad-mullahs-indoctrinating-our-children frenzies, crap about buses.  Associating with these people was Boris’s preparation for running London. remember, so surely there’s a story in there for a fearless London Editor to investigate?

Of course, Gilligan and the ‘tankers, having carefully set up the Tory front bench with the ‘Government money funding extremists’ attack line subsequently saw it crash and burn, resulting in Cameron being forced onto the defensive and then apologising.  Detail, detail, guys.  If you’re doing this kind of manipulation in the open, do please try to ensure no one asks awkward questions.

Incredible: Haringey resumes funding Islamic school with links to Hizb ut Tahrir [11/12/09]

This was after the shock horror funding story initially written by Gilligan was discovered to provide no visible means of support for Cameron’s subsequent assertion that anti-extremism money was used to support fundamentalism, but was instead concerned with funding for nursery places.  Now, personally I don’t like faith schools of any sort, but if you are to have them, you can’t go around penalising ones you don’t like by witholding money for nursery places because Andrew Gilligan wrote an article in the Telegraph based on something the CSC told him.  I’m not sure that sends the right sort of message of tolerance, really.  Hence Haringey are probably right, but the system’s wrong.  Either way, Gilligan’s habit of pushing hysterical rubbish from dodgy ‘think tanks’ enthused over by Islamophobic racists doesn’t exactly make him a reliable source whose every word should be taken as law by Haringey Council.  Haringey have got enough problems as it is.

Even more Tube closures as PPP melts down [11/12/09]

Andrew’s meticulous forensic investigative journalism discovers the hidden horrors, er, published on the TfL website and usually read by me over a cup of tea in my armchair.  Yes, PPP is and always was a catastrophe in waiting, but I don’t remember hearing Boris’s plans for extracting the last three lines from it – up till now he’s been feeding TLL weekend closure slots like a do-gooder doctor prescribing heroin to an incorrigible addict.  That has to change now.  The Mayor has to decide whether his policy is in or out.

Greenwich Park Olympics: full horrors revealed [9/12/09]

Of interest to three people and a dog outside Greenwich Borough, really – coming in from outside I’m struck by the realisation that I wouldn’t especially like to be stuck in a lift with Andrew’s friends from NOGOE, who appear to have turned legitimate concerns about the use and restoration of a public facility into a crusade against everything modern and horrible and foreign.  On which note, I notice David Starkey is involved, to boot (and to boot very hard, if I ever meet him).  Naturally Andrew has, um, not exactly acted as a restraining influence – ‘pouring oil on troubled flames’ about sums it up.  Well, if you’ve only got one talent, make the most of it.

Andrew’s other blog, at which carried basically the same piece on the same date, carries a rebuttal, for the sake of balance.

Iraq WMD: Taxi for Scarlett [8/12/09]

Bored with refighting the 2008 election, Andrew foresakes London 2009 for Iraq 2003, and his ignominious role in allowing Tony Blair to get away with murder.  Unaddressed guilt?  Or is the accusation that the Government spun a story based on dodgy single source intelligence just a little close to home for Gilligan?

NHS failings over Baby P: Ignore the press release, read the report [8/12/09]

A second story where you can’t really argue with the basic premise, but this is dangerous stuff – where would we be if people read the original documents instead of trusting the master race of journalists?  Wouldn’t want that to catch on.  After all, if people stopped copying out press releases and started investigating the facts, who knows what might come out?

Hizb ut Tahrir: new tentacles spreading in London [7/12/09]

Another slap at Balls, another self-justifying whine, another poke at the establishment’s ‘denial mentality’, which seems to equate to a sensible policy of ‘not believing Andrew Gilligan’.  Let’s face it, there’s nothing that screams ‘I’m outside the establishment’ more than using the Daily Telegraph to publicise rubbish from prominent London think tanks based two minutes walk from Whitehall.  As with the ‘extremist funding’ story and numerous other ‘OMG TERRORIST’ exclusives in the past, one is forced to wonder what his real links are to these appalling think tanks?  I think we should be told.

So, how’s the Telegraph’s new London Editor shaping up?  Not well, but at least he’s stayed off the subject of buses for a couple of weeks.  Shame, I thought him and his ‘partner‘ were actually interested in that sort of thing, and was looking forward to their views on the imminent contract award for the London Transport open/closed platform one/two staircased extremely expensive vanity project 97hp omnibus.

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