Saturday, 5 July 2008

As it is when it was

I’m genuinely disappointed that Boris Johnson’s appointment of Ray Lewis as Deputy Mayor didn’t work out. From the little I knew, it seemed he was to be commended for his work with disaffected black youth; this week’s revelations don’t necessarily negate that either. He could have been a great role model, if he’d been all he seemed, and a breath of fresh air. But it now appears that Boris didn’t know enough about him either – and perhaps was in rather too much of a rush to appoint him to office.

This calls to mind a story I was told this week, about a recent visit by a Tory MP to the Vassall Centre in Fishponds. He was lobbied pretty hard by a guy in a wheelchair, who is involved in running the Centre and is on the board of the Spinal Injuries Association. He wanted to know what the Conservative policies were on issues affecting people with disabilities.

The MP was clearly impressed, and told him: ‘You’re exactly the sort of person we need in the Conservative Party; here’s my card’. I am pleased to report that Kelvin Blake, ex-Labour councillor and the guy who ran my 2005 election campaign, who came off his motorbike in 2006 and severed his spinal cord, hasn’t taken him up on his offer!


Terry said...

Have you got your Plasma TV and new kitchen yet?

The vote on expenses was a disgrace, as was the childish abuse one of your MP's threw at David Cameron.

The Bristol Blogger said...

Lewis seems to have the whole political class eating out of his hand.

Kerry, do you have any evidence for his so-called achievements beyond the recommendations of a couple of gullible Eton toffs desperate to appear socially aware and a few analysis-free PR puffs in the Guardian from last year?

From where I'm sitting Lewis looks like a sleazy right-wing evangelical in the US mould with a fabricated CV and a good line in PR.

The reality is that Lewis has organised a few after school classes for black boys in East London, which he's only been doing for about four years.

How the hell can anyone know at this early stage whether they're successful or not?

What actual evidence is available to prove the apparently miraculous qualities of Lewis's classes?

And why would someone with just four years experience using unproven techniques be able to solve long term and intractable social problems in London?

It's like the whole of the political class is so desperate and out of touch they've given up on real solutions and prefer the easy charms and soothing hot air of charlatans peddling quackery.

What next? Astrolgers as Spads and Scientologists doing your spin?

Kerry said...

I'm genuinely not sure about him. I did think his appointment was a PR-stunt, but his background is more substantial than you suggest - e.g. he was a prison governor. More of a track record in tackling social issues than a certain Boris Johnson!

Kerry said...

P.S. I suppose what I was actually saying is that I wanted Ray Lewis to turn out to be a good thing, even if that would give Boris street cred by association. But it doesn't look as if he is.

The Bristol Blogger said...

Yes but there's big question marks over how he managed to become a prison governor isn't there?

He had no apparent experience of the prison service - or even general public sector management - having gone from being an administrative officer for the Civil Service in the early 90s to what he ambiguously describes as "a Clerk in Holy Orders for the Church Commissioners" until he was thrown out for misconduct.

Meanwhile his only qualification is a degree in Theology & Pastoral Studies from Middlesex University.

How does any of this qualify you to join the prison service at senior management level and run a prison?

Even if he understood "the social issues", he would have no useful knowledge of financial management (indeed his track record around money is deeply disturbing); staff management; the criminal justice system; criminology; security or any other skill we - the public - might expect our prison governors to have.

Questions need to be asked of the Home Office here. Did Lewis embelish his CV? What references if any did they obtain? And why did he leave after just a year?

To the casual observer Lewis has all the attributes of a shakedown artist.

Kerry said...

Beginning to look like that, isn't it.