Like a clockwork model you can’t unwind, Ken proceeded on his pre-programmed campaign path today – a new attack on Boris for his high earnings and alleged failure to give money to charity!
The day after Ken (income in 2009: £232,000; tax paid on that sum: about 21 per cent ) was exposed a tax-avoiding member of the “1 per cent,” Ken’s “very positive campaign” has launched attack ads on Boris for writing a well-paid Daily Telegraph column. He handed in a letter at Downing Street calling on Boris to give up his “second job” and which includes the following priceless passage:
“The global economic crisis, the arguments over bankers’ bonuses, and the scandals over MPs’ expenses, all mean the public now expect much higher standards about the accountability of people in public life than ever before.”
Boris does earn a lot of money. But he doesn’t channel it through a personal company to avoid at least £50,000 in tax. You’d think even Ken would have the shame – or at least the elementary political nous – to realise that this is the wrong moment for his big class-war thrust.
There is sometimes a point at which political campaigns tip into ridicule. I don’t think Ken is there, yet, but much more of this and he will be.
There’s one other problem with Ken’s latest piece of “very positive” campaigning. As the blogger Guido Fawkes has pointed out, Ken himself wrote a newspaper column, in The Independent, for about a year after he became mayor. It’s worse than that, actually. For more than a year after his election, he also remained as MP for Brent East.
So instead of having “two jobs,” Mayor Ken had three.
PS: According to ITV’s Simon Harris, Ken supporters have also hired a “protest double-decker” to follow Boris’s new Routemaster, which enters service today. Ridicule moment approaching faster than I thought…
PPS: A magnificent piss-take of Ken (“he needed more than just fine words to show that he is down with the One Per Cent”) in Sam Leith’s Standard column today.