I have to admit that I am beginning to despair of Mayor Boris Johnson’s administration.

I have regularly expected it to descend again to the depths of administrative chaos displayed in its early months. The reason it hasn’t done so, of course, in the last two years has been because of the presence of Sir Simon Milton as the Mayor’s Chief of Staff.

With Simon’s tragic and untimely death, I was ghoulishly confident that an administrative armageddon would shortly descend on the eighth floor of City Hall.

Alas the appointment of Sir Edward Lister as Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff may have dashed my hopes.

Eddie is, I think, the longest-serving Council Leader in London and, while we may have sparred/disagreed profoundly on frequent occasions when I chaired the Association of London Government, there is no question that he ran Wandsworth Council highly effectively, albeit on robust Thatcherite lines.

Eddie was originally going to perform a similar oiling, greasing and sweeping up role for Jeffrey Archer had he become Mayor in 2000. Now eleven years later, he will finally be doing it.

There are no doubt parallels between Jeffrey Archer’s career and that of Boris Johnson ….

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