Boris, Boris pants on fire

Boris Johnson played fast and loose with his elections pledges earlier this year and now, one by one, they are slowly unravelling to expose his mayoral campaign as a not-so-elaborate deception.

Liberal Democrat assembly member Stephen Knight has been beavering away at the London mayor’s election promise to create 200,000 jobs through City Hall over his four year term.

Boris’s own answers prove he can only account for just 50,000 jobs, proving his exaggerated promises don’t add up to anything more than a steaming pile of bojo’s.

Knight challenged the Conservative mayor with nine questions covering every area where Boris pledged to create jobs and, unsurprisingly, he can only account for just over 50,000 of them, Which begs the question where the other 150,000 jobs are going to come from?

The suspicion has to be that the mayor simply plucked an impressive number from the sky, perhaps while he was stuck on the tripwire, and bandied it about knowing full well he had not a hope in hell of delivering it.

It shows the depth of contempt Boris has for Londoners that he thinks election promises are just tomorrow’s fish and chip paper and that we won’t notice, or care, how reckless he has been with his jobs pledge.

Here’s my summary of the mayor’s answers concerning the 200,000 job promise:

  • European Regional Development Fund – The mayor promised that 7,000 green jobs would be created. Now says 912 jobs have been created but there is no target for new jobs.
  • LOCOG – The mayor promised that 10,000 green jobs would be created. He claims that 20,000 “job offers” were made. However most of these are likely to be GamesMaker volunteers and are not sustainable jobs. Indeed as this BBC London report points about, there are just a few dozen jobs emerging from the Olympics.
  • Green Jobs – The mayor promised that 4,000 green jobs would be created. No direct answer.
  • Foreign Direct Investment – The mayor promised that 14,000 jobs would be created. He did not say how many had been delivered but instead claimed that his Business Programme had resulted in “88 business leads, and 70 international businesses looking to establish or grow their London presence.”
  • Housing Programme – The mayor promised that 104,000 jobs would be created. He now says he will “will report on the actual number of jobs created by the various initiatives of the GLA, as far as this is possible, in the near future.” Given that his housing pledges are also falling apart, the number is bound to be low.
  • Outer London Fund – The mayor promised that 700 jobs would be created. Now says that “OLF partners” will deliver this over next two years.
  • Tube Upgrade Programme – The mayor promised that 18,300 jobs would be created. He claims this pledge has been fulfilled “directly…and indirectly through the supply chain.”
  • Crossrail – The mayor promised that 14,000 jobs would be created. He claims this pledge is on target.

The jobs pledge is just one of many manifesto promises that are turning to dust, which begs the question as to why the mayor is enjoying such unparalleled popularity verging on super-stardom.

It can only be because media coverage is lazily revelling in his personality and antics rather than his performance as mayor of the capital city.

The phrase “if you’re not concerned you’re not paying attention” is apt. We’re paying far too little attention to Boris’s failure to deliver on his promises. And it stands to reason that the more we find out the less popular he will become amongst Londoners.

By Lester Holloway @brolezholloway

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