Bor Ris John Son’s Lon Don

YOU know there is a song with a breakdown that goes: ‘Let’s hear it for Bor Ris John Son’s Lon Don’… a song which credits the capital with pot dealers, grafitti, and people wearing glasses when they don’t need them. Still when the Four Femmes On The Thames, regulars at the Good Ship in Kilburn, do reach the part which goes: ‘Let’s hear it for Bor Ris John Son’s Lon Don’, the audience does seem to shriek with excitement all around.


The cops stay in the picture 2

BACK to that email asking for legal advice from Conservative councillor Andrew Marshall, the one where he raised concerns about candidates using pictures of impartial police in their election literature. Recap: he asked the borough solicitor.

One area I have complained about before is around police constables who are persuaded to pose for a photo with councillors/campaigners and then appear on campaign literature.  Such public sector staff are not contracted to the Council, but frankly exploiting them in this way is surely close to bringing the Council into disrepute.  Can you advise?

I thought about his sensible words again when I saw this election handout from the Back Boris team today.

A dark day on Tottenham Court Road

A DISTRESSING afternoon in Tottenham Court Road as an armed siege turned London into a film set for a few hours, followed by a curious disappointment on message-sharing forums like Twitter that it didn’t ultimately have more drama than a few computer screens thrown from an office window. Nobody got hurt, they are saying, be happy about that, people.

If everybody needs help coming down from watching ‘The Siege’, take a look at a disaster on Tottenham Court Road from 2004 and possibly the silliest online review of a pub ever – an example of when eat as much as you can doesn’t mean eat as much as you can. The Pint Pot has since changed names and management.

The Pint Pot has completely ruined a great pub (the old Surgeon) and turned it into a rubbish businessman’s lunch venue. The management are totally unhelpful unless you’re wearing a cr** Burton suit. When they advertised the Gammon and Chips with as many eggs as you want, I got a mouthful of abuse from the jumped up manager after I asked for 5 eggs. Apparently, you can’t have as many as you want and if you ask for a lot they punish you by taking thirty minutes longer to ‘cook the eggs’… and so on.

The mysterious Mr Neptune

TURNS out you can send an FOI request to Transport for London and they will send you back a CD of all the announcements used on the Overground rail network. Mine arrived this week and is full of ‘the train approaching platform…’ clips. They should prescribe it to insomniacs.

There is this file in the middle of the collection, however, which stands out like a sore thumb and which makes you wonder whether ‘Mr Neptune’ is the new ‘Inspector Sands‘ dangerman. I’ve never heard it, but my spidey-sense tells me if you hear it over the tannoy it might be time to make your excuses and leave.

LISTEN TO: OVERGROUND ANNOUNCEMENTS – Would Mr Neptune please go to the town centre immediately?

Of course, also on TfL’s CD is the classic ‘Mind The Gap’, to be played loud by Arsenal or Tottenham fans, depending on who is higher in the league table at the end of the season.


Challenging normal

READERS of these pages have been questioning whether my quoting of ‘100 continuous days of challenging normal’ from a briefing for Camden councillors on the effect of the upcoming Olympics had been made up. Too daft. Here’s another of the presentation slides they will be digesting tonight:

But with a girl

THREE days gone and I’m still trying to work out what Daily Star Sunday television critic Gary Bushell is trying to say about Hampstead Heath in his review of American vampire series True Blood. 

The cops stay in the picture

A CORRESPONDENT texts through a blurry pic of Camden Town Underground station this morning – and asks ‘why are there so many coppers at the tube, they hiding from the rain?’ I’ve added the Olympic style arrows (see last post) to show reported hiding.

It turns out the boys in blue were there for a photo taken by a council press official, presumably to celebrate incoming manpower in NW1. But where will the glowing pictures end up? Look below the picture and you will see email correspondence circulated around the Town Hall a couple of weeks ago, the text of which shows former Conservative leader Councillor Andrew Marshall warning against anybody using pictures of police officers during election season… It was in response to advice from Borough Solicitor Andrew Maughan about election rules.


Email to Borough Solicitor and councillors:

From: Marshall, Andrew (Councillor)

Sent: 25 March 2012 09:29
To: Maughan, Andrew; Ali, Nasim (Councillor); Apak, Meric (Councillor); Birch, Sean (Councillor); Blackwell, Theo (Councillor); Bokth, Rahel (Councillor); Braithwaite, Paul (Councillor); Brayshaw, Peter (Councillor); Bryant, John (Councillor); Bucknell, Jonny (Councillor); Callaghan, Patricia (Councillor); Chung, Linda (Councillor); de Souza, Maya (Councillor); Eagling, Russell (Councillor); Eslamdoust, Maryam (Councillor); Fraser, Jill (Councillor); Freeman, Roger (Councillor); Fulbrook, Julian (Councillor); Gardiner, Thomas (Councillor); Gimson, Sally (Councillor); Gould, Georgia (Councillor); Hai, Abdul (Councillor); Harrison, Adam (Councillor); Hayward, Sarah (Councillor); Headlam-Wells, Jenny (Councillor); Jirira, Nancy (Councillor); Johnson, Heather (Councillor); Jones, Phil (Councillor); Katz, Mike (Councillor); Khatoon, Samata (Councillor); Knight, Chris (Councillor); Leach, Valerie (Councillor); Leader Of the Council; Leyland, Claire-Louise (Councillor); Mason, Angela (Councillor); Mennear, Andrew (Councillor); Moffitt, Keith (Councillor); Naylor, Chris (Councillor); Neumark, Thomas (Councillor); Nuti, Milena (Councillor); Olad, Awale (Councillor); Quadir, Abdul (Councillor); Rea, Flick (Councillor); Revah, Larraine (Councillor); Risso-Gill, Gillian (Councillor); Roberts, Kirsty (Councillor); Robinson, Roger (Councillor); Sanders, Matthew (Councillor); Siddiq, Tulip (Councillor); Simon, Tom (Councillor); Simpson, Jonathan (Councillor); Spinella, Gio (Councillor); Trott, Laura (Councillor); Vincent, Sue (Councillor); Williams, Don (Councillor)
Subject: RE: Pre-election period Mayor/GLA

Thank you Andrew.

One area I have complained about before is around police constables who are persuaded to pose for a photo with councillors/campaigners and then appear on campaign literature.  Such public sector staff are not contracted to the Council, but frankly exploiting them in this way is surely close to bringing the Council into disrepute.  Can you advise?

Councillor Andrew Marshall

Swiss Cottage Ward (Conservative)


Diagram of the week

SENIOR councillors at Camden Town Hall will be briefed tomorrow on how the Olympics Games will affect the borough. They will be asked to consider “100 continuous days of challenging normal’ – to use the terms in their paperwork (not the script of the next episode of TwentyTwelve). Look above, everything seems perfectly clear about what will happen from these red arrows… re-creating the London Olympics logo or the Dad’s Army credits in the process. 

The Glenda punt

POLITICAL betting markets can be distorted – we know that – but Ken Livingstone drifting out to 10/3 must make disheartening reading for Labour.

BUT… remember, remember, and look at the two screenshots below: a fortnight before the 2010 general election, the same bookmakers were offering 5/1 for Glenda Jackson to be re-elected to Parliament in Hampstead and Kilburn. She came in at that price. Ken should have a chat with the escape artist and ask her how she did it.



Talk to Frank

HIM being the electorally unbeatable local MP, I’ve asked Frank Dobson questions on nearly every subject over the last ten years – including that thorny one about his living in a council house. But there is one subject for which there is an almost silent agreement that we won’t discuss. And I can’t see much evidence of any journalist getting close to it either. In fact, a couple of weeks ago LBC interviewed all of the people that have stood to be Mayor of London in past London elections and Frank was, much to David Mellor’s heartless amusement, a noted exception. Truth is, Frank has hardly talked about it since his disastrous days as the official Labour mayoral candidate in 2000 and his defeat to Ken Livingstone, then standing as an independent on the grounds he felt cheated at the candidate selection process.

One of the sorest points from the whole sorry saga must be the idea that he was a placeman for Tony Blair, a Prime Minister who Dobbo went on to continually criticise, publicly, over the worst excesses of New Labour. The war in Iraq, the privatisation of council housing and so on. Blair’s New Labour machine was desperate to stop Livingstone becoming Mayor on the grounds that he might derail the part-privatisation of the tube. Frank got caught up in the shambles, losing his job as Health Secretary in the muddle.

For those wanting to revisit that muddle, there are several interesting remnants on the web.

1. Frank’s campaign website, or the shell of it, is still online HERE. You can see the likes of Nicky Gavron and Andrew Dismore, currently on a mish to unseat Brian Coleman in Barnet and Camden, were Frank fans, rather than rebels for Ken – the man they now stand shoulder to shoulder with.

2. The transcript of Panorama’s ‘Blair Mayor Project’ investigation, which alleges Frank’s campaign team had access to London membership lists unavailable to Livingstone and Hampstead MP Glenda Jackson as they all sought the official Labour candidature is HERE. Yep, Glenda was in the running too.

3. Matthew Norman’s merciless teasing of Frank HERE, complete with the catchphrase ‘oooh you amaze me’. Some of this stuff doesn’t add up with what happened next and the way Frank went onto oppose Blair in the years after.

4. Footage of how the whole mayoral election was covered abroad HERE.

There is also the rather silly passage in Blair’s book, A Journey, in which he suggests he had admiration for Ken Livingstone because of his “quirkiness”. Frank and his wife Janet were even invited to Downing Street for a drink in which Frank took umbridge to Blair’s idea of giving up the campaign he had already started.

Blair writes: “The truth is Frank had about as much chance of beating Ken Livingstone in a contest for London mayor as Steptoe and Son’s horse of winning the Grand National. At a later point in the saga, when in the course of the election I was trying to lift my team’s spirits, I said gamely that I thought Frank would just win it. To which Anji said: ‘If you think Frank Dobson can beat Ken Livingstone in London, I’m calling a doctor” So there was a big mess looming in London.”


Still, in the last two or three weeks, a common lament from Labour people in Camden and beyond, some members, some just natural Labour voters, is that Boris could be beaten if we had a different candidate. They don’t mean Oona King, but they moan that Ken looks like a man who thinks he will lose in the television hustings, fatigued by a groundhog day election and fighting to convince his own voters before pulling in the floaters. That’s a striking turnaround from the days when he was so loved that traditional Labour voters turned away from the red rose on the ballot paper to back him. Maybe Frank should have stood this time around. It’s not something I’d dare ask him.