“One of London mayor’s top advisers is being looked into over the distribution of grants” proclaims the BBC London news homepage.
The story follows a series of previously investigated allegations about Mayoral advisor Lee Jasper in the Evening Standard.
The only problem with that paragraph is it doesn’t say quite the same thing as the BBC’s actual article which quotes Greater London Authority chief-executive Anthony Mayer as saying:
“Richard Barnes in April 2007 raised issues in regard to Lee Jasper. I formally investigated these and exonerated Lee Jasper in July 2007.
“Richard Barnes wrote to me again on 25 October querying the results of my investigation and I naturally agreed to look into the issues he raised
“This however does not constitute a formal investigation.”
If there are genuine concerns relating to the issuing or use of grants these must be investigated properly – London taxpayers must have total total confidence in the processes which see their money handed out to community groups and in turn those groups have a responsibility to treat their grants as the privilege they are.
However the insinuations and rumour spreading targeted at specific individuals – done in the absence of any evidence – is a deeply unedifying sight which reflects badly on the media and politicians alike.
When his detractors behave like this is it any surprise that the Mayor can simply brush off the substantive issue with a claim that it’s all part of a political campaign?