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article imageOp-Ed: No austerity or fidelity for London's high flyers

By Alexander Baron     May 21, 2013 in Politics
London - How would you like to spend £7,000 on your birthday party? Better still, how would you like your employer to pick up the tab?
What to file this report under: crime? Politics? How about entertainment? Both the people alluded to here were featured on the local news for London. One of whom you will almost certainly have heard, even if you live on the other side of the world. The other you may not have, even if you are fortunate enough to live in the world's greatest city.
Let's deal with the former first, the one and only Boris Johnson. Boris is known as the gaff-prone Conservative Mayor of London, having beaten the equally charismatic former mayor, Ken Livingstone, last time out to secure his second term.
Career politician Livingstone had been a champion of homosexual "rights" from his early days, and there were those who claimed he was one himself. Then it was revealed that he had no fewer than five offspring, which killed all the rumours. No one has ever doubted Boris Johnson's sexuality, in fact it has long been rumoured that he can't keep it inside his trousers. The only problem with these sort of rumours is everything, many politicians are the target of all manner of rumours and innuendo ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, but let's not talk about the grassy knoll.
Now though, this one has been confirmed big time, although the twice married Mayor himself is saying nothing.
It's official, Boris Johnson has a three year old daughter by the (now former) lover of a wealthy property developer. The mother has been named as Helen MacIntyre. There has been a long struggle in the courts between her and the Daily Mail. The final judgment has now been published, and Miss MacIntyre has lost her right to privacy.
At the heart of this decision is the fitness or otherwise of Boris Johnson to hold high office, one of those other rumours being that he would one day like to occupy 10 Downing Street. With his combination of charisma and an obviously charmed life, Obama had better watch out as much as Cameron.
While the fitness or otherwise of Boris Johnson to hold high office or indeed any office may be safely left to the electorate, head teachers are not voted in but appointed, which might incline one to think higher standards are required. Alas...Jo Shuter was and now still is a head teacher at Quintin Kynaston Community Academy of St John's Wood.
Miss Shuter took up her post with the school eleven years ago, and by all accounts she has done a remarkable job, being named head teacher of the year at the 2007 Teaching Awards and picking up a CBE in June 2010. Last September though she was suspended from her 6 figure salaried post after allegations of financial irregularities, allegations she is alleged to have claimed were "malicious and vindictive". Were they? That depends entirely on your definitions of the words malicious and vindictive, but among the claims that appear to have been substantiated are that she spent nearly £7,000 of the school's money on her 50th birthday party, and over two and a half thousand pounds on taxi fares. An off-peak travel card in London is now a scandalous £8.00, and it doesn't take a college education to divide this into £2,663 - the answer is 332.875, ie well over a year's worth of travel bearing in mind the 5 day week and long school holidays. Even if she travelled during peak hours - as teachers must - did she really have to clock up over two and a half grand on taxis? When he was Mayor, indeed when he was an MP, Ken Livingstone used to ride to work on the Underground. Boris Johnson uses a bike - one with two wheels.
Miss Shuter has now been reinstated, and as she was suspended for all that time on full pay, she has been laughing up her sleeve as well as all the way to the bank. She is also not without her high powered supporters, including the Labour MP Karen Buck. It should come as no surprise that Miss Buck is the wife of a school governor, but unless she has an incredibly short memory she must surely recall that a mere four years ago the public was baying for her blood over the Parliamentary expenses scandal, and her own entirely legitimate expenses were somewhat modest in comparison.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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