We certainly haven’t run out of Great Boris Lies, he is, after all, still appearing in public with his mouth open, so there’ll be another one along in a minute, like towtrucks on a New Bus For London route.  No, we’re starting a new theme, the areas of policy and public statements where Boris says one thing to one group and another thing to another group.  Today, prompted by Tim Fenton, we start with a forgetful moment where Boris doesn’t know where he stands on the scandal of payday loans:

It is astounding that people are falling for the opposition leader’s Wonga-like offer

So Wonga, in Boris speak, currently, means an unbelievable, dishonest offer, something too good to be true that’ll end up costing you.  Right, so, I’m sure Wonga’s lawyers will be reading that with considerable interest (geddit?).  Back in 2010, however, Wonga made Boris his own unbelievable offer of sponsoring New Year’s Eve free travel, which Boris was happy to fall for at the time.  Subsequently, it having been pointed out that plastering a high interest lender of last resort on the Tube was hardly fitting, Boris got into a twist on LBC over trying to reconcile supporting the right of the free market to plunder and the evident embarrassment of being yoked to such a potential source of trouble:

Well they’re are legitimate outfit and they are licensed to trade in this city, and if they want to sponsor, reduce cost of travel in London then that seems to me to be something that is perfectly acceptable. But what I would say and I would stress this, people should be aware of the extortionate rates of interest that they can charge and people should not enter into irrational or unwise debt obligations…

I’m not sure that fooled anyone even at the time, given that Wonga’s adverts were plastered all over the tube regardless.  Even this year he’s still struggling to reconcile his contradictions:

They are a legal business until such time as they are convicted of corrupt practices it is hard for us to ban them. I’m not keen to be promoting… lending that gets people into real trouble,” he answered.

People get sucked into it and then they find themselves in a very, very difficult situation. I do think that these lenders do pose a problem but they are legal businesses.

So, it’s legal, but he’s not keen to be promoting it, unless he’s taking their cash, but they pose a problem and selling a product that could damage people, but we shouldn’t stop them, because it’s legal and licensed.  All clear and entirely lacking in contradiction.

What this has to do with Ed Miliband’s plans to put a stop to a cartel masquerading as a free market I’m not entirely clear on.  Boris’s obsession with the man who could well keep him out of Downing St. is something we need to take a closer look at as it’s getting a tad embarrassing.  Oh, and the anti-green pose too.  That’s Contradiction Number Two right there.

 
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