New Internationalist

F**k off Boris!

 I’ve seen it all now. Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean.

The Tory Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and actress Keeley Hawes have called on Londoners to roll up their sleeves and spruce up the capital ahead of the 2012 Games. Johnson announced that Procter & Gamble (who produce, among other things, cleaning products Flash and Ariel) will sponsor ‘P&G Capital Clean-up’, a four-month initiative which aims to bring together an army of ‘volunteers’ to pick up litter, remove graffiti and generally spruce up some of London’s unloved public spaces.

This summer London will be receiving 5.5 million visitors each day to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and Johnson wants to ensure the capital looks its ‘best’. So far 11,000 people have taken part in over 1000 clean-up events.

So, not only is the London Olympics a complete waste of money and time (the total cost of starting and finishing the sports jamboree alone will be £81 million, including £41 million of taxpayers’ money), the populace is being persuaded to get out their mops and brushes and get cleaning. You have to hand it to the Tories. They really do have a nerve.

I mean, clean up your city by all means but organize it yourselves (contrast this nonsense with Climate Rush’s rally, protest and declaration of London’s first true Clean Air Zone on 19 April), don’t allow some trumped-up Old Etonian to dupe you into it.

I’m not a Londoner but if I was I’d tell Boris to f**k off!

Photo by bixentro under a CC Licence.

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  1. #1 rooftopjaxx 27 Mar 12

    The backstory here is that, together with Dow Chemicals, P & G signed up in 2010 for a ten-year deal as [a href=’’]TOP (The Olympics Partners) sponsors with the IOC,

  2. #2 Brian Collins 27 Mar 12

    And why exactly do you think its a bad thing that London gets cleaned up, in addition why do you not like P&G's involvement in this operation.
    Linking it to as you stated 'the olympics being a waste of money' is not exactly a direct correlation. I really like N.I. but this title was very unprofessional and of the article was of little value. Highly disappointing as NI continue to write this kind of stuff. Get some facts in there and not all opinion and you may earn some respect.

  3. #3 Jenny 27 Mar 12

    In response to the above comment by Brian Collins -

    In the past I would of been put off by the title of this blog and quite possibly of thought the same as you. However over the last 12 months I have become so frustrated and angry at the state of politics and democracy in this country that I no longer care about flippant use of swear words. The conservatives in government (and Boris as a representative) may as well be swearing at the British public considering the way they are treating them. In my opinion a broken manifesto promise is far worse than an explitive - the NHS reform bill comes to mind.

    I understand the anger that has inspired this blog. To me the P&G 'capital clean-up' is just a corporate promotion event. It is designed to make Boris look good, while at the same time providing an extra marketing opportunity for P&G. He should be solving the real problems that real Londoners are facing.

    Also this is a blog - it is an opinion piece and I think it reflects the opinions of many British people. I for one am glad to read it... even if it does just inspire more anger...

  4. #4 Alan 28 Mar 12

    Thank you Jenny, you sum things up perfectly. May I reiterate some of the points you raise?
    As you say it is important to note that this blog is an opinion, MY opinion. And I take full responsibility for it. It is not necessarily the view taken by NI.
    Also, yes, like many, many others out there, I'm bloody angry (oops, another swear word there!) at what this bunch of Tory crooks is doing (aided and abetted by the dreadful LibDems). The current Lord Mayor of London is no more than a cynical opportunist (I've heard he has his eye on the leadership of the Tory Party - now imagine THAT!). And if people read the blog carefully, I said I'm all for cleaning up our cities. But I'm against being told to do so by politicians who would do deals with the Devil if it would further their careers.
    Oh, re the headline to the blog? I wanted to put the actual word in, but after much debate with colleagues we deemed it a step too far for many people. How interesting then that even the asterisks seem to cause offence! People fret about a swear word while the the world goes down the pan. What a strange, disturbing species we are.

  5. #5 jack 02 Apr 12

    Jenny, at least it was a conservative who broke a manifesto promise.
    Here in Australia, our own Labour PM has lied and broken many promises - her election promise was 'there will be no carbon tax under the government that I lead'. Now she thinks we should set an example to China and India by trashing our economy while those two massive countries continue to pollute.
    Also, the peoples' wishes are ignored again and again as 'Labour' poiticians ride the gravy train.
    RIP democracy in the once-lucky-country.

  6. #6 Damien Flinter 03 Apr 12

    Capital clean up..........sounds just like that wuncha bankers are at it again...sub-prime idiots.

  7. #7 pabro 03 Apr 12

    A shoddy article ill befitting the usual standards of N.I. The fact that it's a blog is no excuse. What is wrong with having a bit of community spirit to clean up a city? The public are not being forced into it - they are volunteering. So what if there's some corporate exploitation? Sponsors are sponsors. The author's profile states that he is a committed socialist and long time trade unionist, but he just comes across as a whinging killjoy intent on Boris-bashing just because he regards him as a tory toff. He admits he's not even a londoner. Well I am - so f*ck off Alan Hughes!

  8. #8 Simon Mansfield 03 Apr 12

    Who cares if Boris is a trumped up old etonian... Clean up your City Londoners... let the begrudgers f@#k off.

  9. #9 Rivenrod 04 Apr 12

    There are so many examples of ineptitude, wrong thinking, deception and down right lies regarding the Olympics it's difficult to choose from amongst them. As far as I can see the spirit of Boris's call to clean up the capital does not contradict the Olympic Charter however the principal runs far deeper than mere commercialism. Londoners pay their hugely inflated Council Taxes to live in a clean and safe city anyway so, pardon my cynicism, but should the capital not be spruce all the time? Not just for the sake of short term nationalistic narcissism that's been thrust upon us. It seems to me that Boris's master stroke should back fire on him by highlighting how filthy he has allowed the city he is paid a vast amount to ensure is kept clean and tidy. Just a thought.

    The Bullshit Award (a very plastic dustpan and brush) goes to Boris who, I believe, will be in great need of it sooner rather than later.

  10. #10 Rob 04 Apr 12

    Keeley Hawes - get a life! Don't get yourself cobbled up with cheapskate photo opportunities for London's out-of-touch mayor and his PR-motivated corporate chums. If Boris Johnson wants a clean city, he'd better organise his resources to deliver, not use gimmicks like this. So, come on Keeley - surely you don't need to do this to get noticed, do you?

  11. #11 Jo 01 Jun 12

    Let's not give P&G any more publicity please! By the way, there has been a long-standing campaign against them for their animal torture, repressive regime support and more:

  12. #12 Sofiarun 28 Aug 12

    I don't think the mayor wants people to literally go clean up the streets, but rather to just be on their best behaviour and refrain from dirtying the streets any further. since the budget was in danger of going over, that could be a way of saving money.

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About the author

Alan Hughes a New Internationalist contributor

Alan Hughes was a graphic artist at New Internationalist. He retired in 2014. He is a life-long socialist and trade unionist and is currently involved in the Keep Our NHS Public Campaign. He is passionate about The Beatles and has supported Aston Villa FC for over 50 years. He lives in Oxford with his daughter.

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