Ken with Boris in the foreground
Current Mayor of London Boris Johnson and former mayor Ken Livingstone are both controversial characters.
Johnson is what many people in the UK would describe as a "public school twit". Well they would have at one time. In the 21st Century he would be described a little more colourfully.
He became a well known face after appearing on Have I Got News For You in the UK. The public initially disliked Boris but somewhere along the line he became a popular personality. Funny, often without knowing he was, quirky, eccentric and at one time an embarrassment to David Cameron, Boris, against the odds won a landslide victory to secure the role of London Mayor. His upper crust manner was forgotten, as we all fell for his naughty school boy charm.
Ken Livingstone was a different kettle of fish. A long standing Labour politician he was ousted from New Labour and was often at loggerheads with Tony Blair. A thorn in the side of Blair would sum up the relationship. He became London Mayor when the role was brand spanking new and served two terms. The previous mayoral role was replaced with the elected London Mayor, a role that would have more powers.
Known at one time as Red Ken,Mr Livingstone was a plain speaking politician. Initially he was a successful Mayor of London but public opinion changed. A new fresh approach was wanted and in sailed Boris on a sea of popularity.
The role of London Mayor is up for grabs again in 2012 and the candidates are campaigning. Media interviews are par for the course but today Boris got himself into hot water.
A radio debate featuring candidates Conservative Boris, Labour Ken, Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick and Green candidate Jenny Jones had ended. The candidates were sharing a lift, or elevator to American readers when Boris is alleged to have rounded on Ken blasting him with a foul mouthed outburst. Boris shouted at Ken, "It's all f****** lies, it's all f****** lies."
Tut, tut. Hardly cricket old boy!
The rant was witnessed by Paddick and Jones. It appears that the outburst stemmed from personal financial affairs. According to SkyNews Ken had been criticised for "having money he receives for his journalism work paid to a private company, making him liable for corporation tax rather than income tax, at a higher rate" Accused of virtual tax dodging Mr Livingstone accused Boris of behaving in the same way. Mr Johnson's anger was reportedly visible, so presumably a raw nerve was hit.
The row has started whilst the pair were still on air. Boris had denied wrong doing saying,"I have never used a company to minimise my tax. "There was a TV production company which I was briefly a director of but I certainly never... I have always paid full income tax."
On leaving the studio though Boris has a hissy fit. As the dust from the altercation settles all the male candidates have issued statements.
Ken has declared that Boris lost his temper having lost the studio debate which had been nothing to do with taxes. Boris went further and issued a statement saying, "My salary as mayor is taxed as an employee of the Greater London Authority. In the same way as when I was an MP my salary was taxed as an employe," he said. "Any other income that I have received from outside endeavours has been received on a self-employed basis, to me as an individual (no company or other structure has been involved). "No income earned by me has ever been paid to a 'service' company, through which a person or person's freelance earnings can be channelled so that they pay corporation rather than income tax. "To suggest otherwise is a complete and utter fabrication."
Perhaps the mayoral candidate to benefit most from today's fiasco is Mr Paddick. His statement said, "while the pair "clearly hold each other in complete contempt" the election should be about the issues facing Londoners not "foul mouths and fragile egos".
Yes it should. The election will be held on May 3, 2012. This year the London Mayor will be in the public eye more than ever as the UK hosts the Olympics and celebrates the Queen's Jubilee. Let's hope the voters choose well. After all we don't really want a f****** Mayor, do we?
There is a lot of hate directed at Bankers. This is in many ways not fair. Like so many other people they are a necessary cog in the wheel of 21st Century living.
Then again there are banking bonus payments.
It is easy to see why people become incensed at bankers when you consider their bonus payments.
You too may receive a bonus payment at work but yours will no doubt be linked to attendance at work and productivity. If your company begins to flounder you can kiss goodbye to your bonus payment. So, as many people keep asking, how come the reverse seems to operate in the banking sector?
The announcement this week that Stephen Hester, chief executive of majority taxpayer owned Royal Bank of Scotland was to receive almost a million pound bonus payment for 2011 has stirred up a hornet's nest. Hardly had Cameron said that the bonus payment would be much less than last year, than the figure was announced. It may be less than last year's bonus payment but has still left the PM embarrassed. That is to say, it should have left him embarrassed.
This is not all though. Today, January 28, 2012, it has been revealed that Hester is in line to receive even more shares in bonus payments before the end of 2012. It looks like their value will exceed the offending bonus payment and be in the region of 12 million shares. This does of course give him a vested interest to work hard and make sure that share values for RBS soar. However doesn't he already receive a huge salary to do just that?
It may be worth noting that currently those 12 million shares would be worth £3million and that the UK taxpayer owns 83% of the bank. Are we in for a share bonus payment then? Do we have the power of the shareholder to veto these bonus payments to bankers? Are you joking?.
Hester has done a good job at turning around the fortunes of RBS but it should never be forgotten that this was at a price. The cost? Thousands of redundancies. How can the bonus be justified then? Whilst some maintain that without such huge bonus payments the UK would not be able keep bankers working in the country you have to question that. Does this mean that these people have no morals? No loyalty? They will sell their souls to the highest bidder? If that is the case we might be better off without them.
Lord Mayor of London, Tory, Boris Johnson said, “I am disappointed that [the board] haven’t found further ways of ensuring that Stephen Hester’s bonus payments are received only if the share price rises and that the taxpayer, that’s you and me, get the money back.” That's you and millions of others sharing the same opinion then Boris.
The latest news is that RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton will not be accepting his £1.4m bonus for 2011. This may be designed to take the media attention from Hester but will simply inflame the situation. Come on Hester, and take a leave out of Mr Hampton's book.
London Mayor Boris Johnson was born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson on June 19, 1964.
He became known to most of the general public in the UK by way of comedy news show Have I Got News For You. His career at that time had been journalist based.
For many he remains a slightly comical figure who has had his fair share of controversy but is there more to Boris than meets the eye?. Personally I think there could be.
Boris is still a relatively young man and he has certainly grown in recent years. He was always good for a laugh on HIGNFY and over the period of time he appeared on the show many people warmed to him. He has a boyish charm and seems these days to be a more thoughtful politician.
Watching him on October 4, 2011, on BBC2's Newsnight he certainly seems to be a capable politician. Unlike many others he was not rattled by Jeremy Paxman's interview questions. However it did seem as if Paxman had a soft spot for Boris, and perhaps the Tories, and was less rigorous in his questioning.
Boris managed to show his human, humorous and charming sde whilst making valid points on the economy and Tory policy. As Paxman attempted to pin Boris down Boris managed to side step questions regarding his political future. It would be unlikely that he was ever offered a leading role in a Tory government but don't rule that out.
Many see Boris as a figure of fun who has an edge and wild hair. Perhaps many more are starting to see him as a thoughtful politician. Much will depend of his record as Mayor of London. Time will tell but matbe an elder statesman will morph from the young Boris Johnson sooner or later.