Boring London Don’t Come Cheap

“We want to help support new types of event that showcase the brilliance of London, its history and society and its creativity.”

So said Munira Mirza, the former stalinist orchestrating Boris’ cultural revolution and the woman behind June’s Story of London festival. The festival was roundly criticised at the time, with poor publicity, an atrocious website and events either not going ahead as advertised or not not being publicised.

Although the chinless one promised a pan-London event, with things happening in every borough, this was a porky the size of Scotland Yard. Three boroughs had none at all with several more only having one.

Another feature of the festival was the whopping entrance fees for many of the events, plus the fact that many of the events were happening anyway and had been in existance for years.

We suggested at the time that this was merely a branding excercise for Herr Boris, with no real new cultural events being organised.

So we asked the Mayor what it cost. Our first response was a curt “The GLA budget for Story of London is GBP 150,000.”

So we asked for a little more detail, such as how much of this went on actually organising new events. And then some time passed.

We’d almost got bored when we received an email out of the blue informing us:

After consulting the Mayoral Decision form for the Story of London I need to make a correction to my earlier response – the total GLA budget for Story of London was in fact GBP 165,000, not GBP 150,000 as previously stated. My apologies for this error.

The Story of London’s GLA budget broke down as follows:
– GBP 100,000 allocated for marketing and promoting the Story of London festival
– GBP 65,000 allocated to make a series of grant awards to organisations participating in the Story of London.

The Story of London also attracted support from other heritage funding bodies, with the Heritage Lottery Fund making a funding stream of GBP 200,000 available and the London Museums Hub and MLA London jointly making a funding stream of GBP40,000 available for organisations wishing to mount events as part of Story of London.

We’ll ignore the financial incompetance as indicative of the dire state of tuition in the countries top public schools.

We’ll also point out that the Heritage Lottery Fund were celebrating their 15th anniversary this year, so it’s a fair bet that money would have been spent without Boris’ intervention.

So we finally have our answer, more or less. £65k spend on events and 100K spent on marketing. And we’re willing to bet those events include the £10k spent on the Refugee Festival, an event which had been happening for many years as well as on other events which were previously funded by the Mayor’s Office, or were due to go ahead anyway. We’ve asked for more clarification.

Many bloggers derided the marketing campaign at the time including Dave Hill, Boriswatch and Diamond Geezer. Essentially it seemed to consist of an insert in Time Out and a crap website.

But boring Londoners doesn’t come cheap and several cultural events have been cancelled and more faced budget cuts so this advert for Boris could go ahead.

Little was more sickening then watching Ken buy his way into established cultural events and then rebranding them into an advert for City Hall.

But at least with Ken you actually got the party, with Boris all you get is the advert.

ps: The Evening sub-Standard, rebranded and inexplicably worse since the KGB take over, report that just 16 people entered a ticket competition on the Story of London website. We make that £6,250 each!


2 responses to “Boring London Don’t Come Cheap

  1. I was one of the 16 winners – and I also won in the Rhythm Of London competition, amazing! Rhythm Of London was even more of a non-event – all the bandstand events were cancelled at the last minute.

  2. “Little was more sickening”

    The Iraq War? The spread of AIDS in Africa? Holocaust denial? The BNP winning seats in the European Parliament? Putting money into a knees up and sticking your name on it is, I suggest, rather less sickening than those events, but there you go. Anyway, what do you call teaming up with Rupert Murdoch to rebrand the London Freewheel as the ‘Mayor of London’s Skyride’? Sickening, I call it.

    Ahem. I’m not up on the hard left, but isn’t Mirza an ex-Trot rather than a Stalinist? Bozza’s Bilious Tendency, perhaps? There’s a well trodden path for ex-Trots ending up as multiculturalist-bashing right wing mouth-foamers, of course.

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