Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Aaro on Lee Jasper

I suspect that this one got past the fact-checkers:

Ken and his absurd hangers-on, like the ridiculous Lee Jasper, soi-disant (and soixante-huitard) spokesperson for London's unconsulted “black community”.

I suppose it is just about possible that Jasper (who was 49 years old at the time of this profile and was therefore born no earlier than 16 February 1958) was the world's most streetwise and cosmopolitan nine-year-old, and managed to leave his home in Oldham and travel to Paris to join in the protests of that year, but I would have thought that such a fact would have been mentioned at least somewhere else on the internet other than in Aaro's column.

Otherwise, there seems to have been a decidedly uncritical inhalation of the Evening Standard line here. Jasper is clearly a pretty divisive figure, of the rather unattractive kind that ethnic politics tends to throw up in big cities - I personally, if I was a subeditor, would not have allowed the description of him as "a street hustler" (as the Standard had it) to go out in a serious newspaper, but as a saloon bar (or blog) description of the man it's not far off. But facts are sacred, so to speak, and the facts are that Jasper's real claim to fame was Operation Trident, he was the guy who was directly given the job of delivering "the black community", and he delivered the goods. Getting a reputation for that thing tends to be quite good for a chap's political career. Since London is not going to stop having ethnic politics, and "delivering" ethnic groups in this manner is not going to stop being a matter of greasing the right palms, whoever succeeds Ken is going to end up employing Lee Jasper or his equivalent. Aaro's famous instinct for political realism ("let's recognise that politicians are people too, compromises have to be made, it's a dirty business") always seems to desert him when the subject is anyone scruffier than, say, Denis MacShane.

I dunno. I think it's because I'm Welsh that I am perhaps not taking this City Hall corruption scandal seriously enough. Apparently Development Agency funds were used to provide "jobs for the boys" for political contacts, as general slush funds, and pissed up the wall on vanity projects. I was literally unaware that Development Agencies had any other function.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i soixante-huitard

Surely no one more than the "Decents" can be better described as the above - Hitchens, Aaro, Cohen, Phillips Trevor and Mel, Ms Harman, Ms Posh ex-Australian ex-Minister Of Health, Ms Tessa Jowell, Mr Peter Mandelsshon etc etc.

All upper-middle class baby boomer students swept up in the radical student right-on-ism and trotskyism of the late sixties and seventies, who forced entry into the Labour Party under the Blessed Wedgie, chucking out the grimy proles after denouncing them as incurable rightists and fascists and white-ists and homophobes, and then proceeded to take it so far to the right its as though Oswald Mosley never left.

johnf

3/12/2008 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

Well, not really. For instance Hitchens to my knowledge has never been a member of the Labour Party and Aaro is one of several who has never been a Trotskyite. In fact I'm not aware of any on your list who were both. And that's before we get on to the "grimy proles" grandstanding.

3/12/2008 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous shake said...

I'm a londoner and this lee jasper stuff leaves me completely cold. public servant in alleged misuse of funds shocker. What next, MP in fiddling expenses shocker?

Harry's Place seems to view Jasper as the devil for the crime of, well not really doing anything as bad as an awful lot of other politicians - the decentpedia entry on racism puts it pretty well I think.

As someone rightly points out on Oliver Kamm's website today, this constant Decent attacking of Ken is only going to secure votes for Boris, however much they continue to claim that this is a 'defeatist' attitude. they're not going to persuade Oona King to stand as the only people to vote for her will be the decents and in any case the campaign has come way too late. Kamm is even now saying that Ken has been bad for the City because, er, well, it's not very left-wing to cosy up to the City is it? from a man who claims to be a left-winger but supports every right-wing candidate in every election going and runs a hedge fund, this is pretty odd reasoning.

and the place they're relying on for absolutely everything on Lee Jasper is the Standard which as I've said before on here is running Boris' 'policy statements' (eg more policemen would be nice) as its front page 'stories'. I'm pretty sure the Standard is on the massive decline - no londoner i know has bought it since the freebies came in because it was, is and will ever be a pisspoor rag obsessed by the ultra-rich.

3/12/2008 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

On Oliver's latest anti-Ken reasoning: I'm not in favour of massive skyscraper building in London, but presumably most of them won't be built, and Simon Jenkins is surely talking out of his arse when he says the view east from Waterloo bridge is unchanged in most Londoner's lifetime - there's five major buildings visible and three of them (the Natwest Tower, the Gherkin and the one on the South side) date from after 1970.

3/12/2008 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger cian said...

The Evening Standard seems to sell quite well in Brighton, so maybe it mostly sells to commuters.

3/12/2008 10:33:00 PM  
Anonymous pesto pete said...

and the one on the South side

Do you mean the Willis Building at 51 Lime Street? (Finished in 2007.)

Later this year the Broadgate Tower will join the view.

3/13/2008 02:21:00 PM  

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