Ray Lewis - a tale of two advisers
But still the man had to go, for fear of contaminating the Boris brand; for fear of endangering Project Cameron and of compromising their present sustained polling euphoria.
James McGrath, the Mayor’s political adviser, simply stated that Caribbean immigrants should go home if they did not like London. The Mayor insisted that Mr McGrath was not a racist, but his view was that his continuing employment would be a distraction and provide ‘ammunition’ to the Mayor’s critics. And so he was exiled to Australia, tarnished for life as a possible racist.
But follow this with accusations of financial and sexual impropriety, and Mayor Johnson’s deputy, Ray Lewis, is awarded a full independent inquiry (at whose expense?). Cranmer is not impugning guilt or seeking to prejudice a hearing, which should, of course, be conducted in accordance with all the principles of natural justice, and niether does he have anything at all against Mr Lewis. But for spurious accusations over racial sensitivities to merit dismissal while evidence-based accusations of sexual and financial impropriety merit an inquiry is perverse.
While the evidence against Mr McGrath was scant, there is indeed a prima facie case against Mr Lewis, and it comes not from some leftist media witch-hunt, but from the Bishop of Chelmsford who has issued the following statement:
Ray Lewis, London’s Deputy Mayor for Young People, was ordained in the Church of England in 1990, and served in the Parish of St Matthew, West Ham in the Diocese of Chelmsford between 1993 and 1997. After this date he moved to Grenada in the Diocese of the Windward Islands, where he ministered until 1999, after which he resigned from ministry altogether.
Between 1999 and 2005 Ray was placed under the formal disciplinary structures of the Church of England, and his ministry was restricted. This was because a misdemeanour of such seriousness had been committed that in the opinion of the Archbishop, the person concerned should not exercise his ministry for the time being.
The Diocese of Chelmsford is happy to co-operate with the enquiry which is being set up by the Mayor of London.
It is unequivocal: ‘a misdemeanour of such seriousness had been committed’, which can hardly be set aside by an independent inquiry. And this man is now a role model for black youth?
Of course there can be forgiveness and redemption, but actions also have consequences which limit options. This is what Mr McGrath discovered. Yet Mayor Johnson is standing in solidarity with Mr Lewis essentially because of the good the man has done in turning around the lives of many young people living on the margins of society.
That's very nice of him. One wonders why the Mayor did not stand by Mr McGrath for the good he did to the Conservative Party and the Mayor's own campaign.
James was his friend, faithful and just,
But Boris says he was unwise;
And Boris is an honourable man.
Whilst it may be true that Mr Lewis was not aware that he was on the ‘Lambeth List’ (which is itself somewhat Inquisitorial and lacking natural justice), and whilst it may be true that he was unaware that he had been barred from ministering in the Church of England (which Cranmer finds more than a little incredible); and whilst it may also be true that he was oblivious to any accusations of sexual impropriety which may or may not be on his file, it is more than a little odd that none of this emerged years ago, while Mr Lewis was being fêted by David Cameron and lauded for his outstanding work among black teenagers.
Still, Ray Lewis is by many accounts an honourable man - so are they all, all honourable men - and Cranmer is not sure if he smells a martyr...
Why was Mr Lewis so selective and deflective in his biography?
Since the above link will soon disappear, the biography is reproduced:
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has today announced the appointment of Ray Lewis as Deputy Mayor for Young People. Ray has considerable experience working with young men in particular as Director of EastSide Young Leaders Academy. A former prison Governor, Ray Lewis and his team take boys with potential who are nevertheless heading down the wrong path and literally help turn their lives around.
During his campaign to become Mayor of London, Boris Johnson found the work of Ray Lewis and his team inspirational. Now as Mayor of London, Boris is delighted that Ray will join him in his new administration. Commenting on the appointment, Boris Johnson said:
"I have a huge amount of respect for Ray Lewis and what he has achieved. I want to build on his success to deliver real change for young people in London both now and in the future. Ray's dynamic but strict approach has given countless opportunities to hundreds of young men in London and helped raise their aspirations as a result. He has helped them achieve more than they ever hoped possible and now I want to spread that magic across London.
"We face a wave of violent crime amongst young people in the Capital. Kids are killing other kids. Ray will be part of my team who will work night and day until we put an end to this tragic trend.
"Working with voluntary groups across the Capital, we will make a real difference to the lives of young people and their families. Londoners need action on this issue, and I won't rest until we deliver it".
Notes to Editors
Please find a biography of Ray Lewis:
Ray was born in Guyana in 1963 and attended schools in Walthamstow. He began his career working as an administrative officer for the Civil Service before becoming a Clerk in Holy Orders for the Church Commissioners in 1990. During this time he gained a degree in Theology & Pastoral Studies from Middlesex University.
After working at HM Prison Woodhill, Milton Keynes, Ray became Executive Director of Eastside Young Leaders' Academy in 2001. He is also a Trustee and Governor of the Petchey Academy in Hackney and a Justice of the Peace.
Why does Mr Lewis not quite ‘do God’?
He clearly refers to himself as ‘a former prison governor', yet there is no mention of his being a former Anglican vicar, which he evidently is. Is he ashamed of this? There is an elliptical reference to his being ‘a Clerk in Holy Orders for the Church Commissioners’ (what?), but no mention of his ever having been an Anglican clergyman in London or the West Indies.
Why not? It was a decade of his life – a quarter of his earthly existence; a third of his working life just airbrushed out. Of course, Cranmer could perfectly understand if Mr Lewis were ashamed of the Church of England...
or is it that the Mayor’s office does not ‘do God’?
And if not, is it any wonder that allegations of sexual and financial impropriety are considered less serious than allegations of racism?