Give London’s Army Of Unpaid Writers Boris’s ‘Chicken Feed’

boris-johnson-yawnThe news that Boris Johnson regards his £250,000 salary from the Telegraph for his column as ‘chicken feed’ must surely strike envy into the hearts of London’s profusion of unpaid writers.

There we all are, toiling over a hot thesaurus, trying to coax a few hundred words vaguely resembling an article into something that someone, somewhere wants to read and possibly even pay us for, giving away our work for the love of writing and the hope that our (admittedly self-proclaimed) literary genius will be recognised as such. If only someone would offer us £250,000, we’d gladly get up early at weekends and write about the threat of health and safety and the legacy of Margaret Thatcher.

Meanwhile Boris dashes off a column or two before his kedgeree on a Sunday morning by way of relaxation and gets to run a whole city Monday to Friday. It’s enough to make a girl throw up her keyboard in despair and go back to the day job.

The mayor’s columns are littered with a lexicon of Borisisms, worth a read if only to learn some new phrases, of which ‘tumbling idiot and ‘cretinous crusties’ are merely two. Few, though, top his rant on London roads last year which was responsible for introducing the salty ‘traffic-throttling excrescences’ to the population and providing endless opportunities for journalists across the country to quote the words ‘chuntering’ and ‘piffling’ with impunity.

Unlike most people who write as a second job, Boris is more valuable as a writer than as a mayor and his critics were quick to point it out, including Bob Crow, who’s also no stranger to putting his foot in it and who couldn’t resist throwing in an accusation of moonlighting in the papers yesterday. Coming just days after David Cameron’s call for Tory shadow cabinet members to give up their second jobs, news of the mayor’s paltry pay is less than perfect timing, but of course, Boris isn’t a cabinet member so whether or not he continues to pen columns for the Telegraph will be entirely up to him.

If a salary of quarter million pounds which is ten times the average national pay packet has become chicken feed, that’s quite a coup for Boris.

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