Mayor Boris gets his own ‘Pyongyang-style freesheet’
Three years after closing ‘Ken’s Pravda’, Boris Johnson releases a free paper extolling his own virtues
When Boris Johnson was campaigning to become London mayor three years ago, he accused his predecessor, Ken Livingstone, of "flagrant propaganda" when he issued millions of copies of a City Hall paper called The Londoner, packed with pictures of Ken and articles boosting his endeavours.
"It must be scrapped," said Boris, vowing that if he were elected mayor, Londoners would no longer have to put up with this "Pyongyang-style freesheet" being pushed through their letter-boxes.
Three years is a very long time in politics. Now, with his bid for re-election less than a year away, Boris has just overseen the release of millions of four-page freesheets to London homes, extolling the cracking record of his mayoralty and inviting readers to Back Boris in May 2012.
There are not one but two photographs of the mop-haired mayor on pages one, two and four - while page three carries a stunning three images. No other face figures in the handout.
To give a flavour of the editorial coverage, headlines include 'Boris secures record transport upgrades'... 'Olympics: on time and on budget'... and 'How our borough is safer under Mayor Boris Johnson'.
To add to the enjoyment, there's a special Boris Wordsearch game where, among the jumble of letters, readers must try to find the phrases BOOZE BAN, ROUTEMASTER and CYCLE HIRE among others.
To be fair to Boris, there is one key difference between his rag - named variously the Camden Record, the Barking & Dagenham Chronicle, the Bromley Record etc etc - and The Londoner (or 'Ken's Pravda', as his enemies at City Hall used to call it). It is not paid for by taxpayers.
Indeed, so anxious are the Conservatives to be clear about this that each masthead carries the line: 'This newspaper has been paid for by voluntary donations and at no cost to the taxpayer.'
"That may exempt Boris from charges of wasting council tax payers' money," a local government watcher told The First Post.
"But when Boris used to attack The Londoner he complained that money was being wasted on 'massaging egos' that might have been better spent on 'more worthwhile projects'. Doesn't that argument still apply?" ·
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