Nero fiddled while Rome burned. London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, seems to prefer champagne and cigars while London grinds to a halt.
The list of his free gifts was released yesterday just as the closure of the northern part of Trafalgar Square caused gridlock throughout Whitehall and Soho. And what fascinating reading it makes. That trendy purple suit he keeps wearing was a gift from the designer Ozwald Boateng. Those cigars? A present from the mayor of Havana. The jeroboam of Moët & Chandon? Payment in kind for a speech. And his child on the way? Well he did receive a reproduction of a 3,500-year-old fertility goddess from Cyprus which he keeps in his office.
No carping, mind you. Londoners like a cheeky chappy at the helm. It goes with Cockney rhyming slang and beefeaters. If only "our Ken" would occasionally put on overalls and help get the traffic, and the Tubes, moving.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies