Years ago, I voted for Ken Livingstone, because I admired his independence. When he lost to Boris Johnson, I felt genuine sympathy for his clear distress at losing his job, but, tied up in a demanding career, I did not know as much about him as I do now. When Ken loses to Boris a second time, I will not feel an shred of sympathy, because he has so alienated and angered me with his extremist views. Not only do I believe that Ken as Mayor would tear London apart, I believe he is not fit to be a Mayoral candidate and should not have been allowed to stand.
Ken’s campaign got off to a shaky start. Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian said Ken wasn’t much cop and maybe Labour should think about getting somebody else. That must look pretty prophetic from where Ed Miliband is sitting today.
KEN AND THE JEWISH COMMUNITY: The writing was on the wall. The Oliver Finegold controversy in 2006, saw Ken compare a Jewish reporter to a German war criminal and a concentration camp guard. A transcript of the conversation is here. The incident was investigated, and the London Assembly voted overwhelmingly that he should apologise. Ken insultingly refused. On 24 February 2006, Ken Livingstone was found guilty of bringing his office into disrepute and suspended from office for four weeks, the verdict being that he seemed “to have failed… to have appreciated that his conduct was unacceptable”.
REMARKS REGARDING THE REUBEN BROTHERS: In March 2006, Ken is alleged to have said of David and Simon Reuben, two Indian born Jewish businessmen – that “if they are not happy, they can always go back to Iran and see if they can do better under the Ayatollahs.” Brian Coleman and other Conservative members of the GLA accused Livingstone of anti-Semitism, while The Guardian and The Times ran leaders accusing Livingstone of anti-immigrant remarks. The Guardian wrote that Livingstone’s remarks would “shame a loudmouth pub buffoon”, and that “The Reuben brothers have as much right to be in Britain as Livingstone himself”, while the Times leader on March 23, 2006 said simply “Ken Livingstone is a fool”. These words appeared in a Times article headed “The loutish Mayor. Heaven help us if this is the voice of London. “ Livingstone refused calls for him to apologise for his remarks, stating “I would offer a complete apology to the people of Iran to the suggestion that they may be linked in any way to the Reuben brothers. I wasn’t meaning to be offensive to the people of Iran.” He also accused Coleman of behaving like the Nazi Propaganda Minister, Josef Goebbels. The Reuben brothers were born in Mumbai, India and are of Iraqi-Jewish ancestry, rather than Iranian, but have carried out work in Iran. The Standards Board referred the comments to the GLA’s monitoring officer, whose investigation exonerated the mayor. David Hirsch of the Guardian, gives his opinion on why Ken made such comments here. In January, 2008, the Guardian published this article by Nick Cohen on why Ken was unfit for office.
KEN REFUSES TO QUIT WORKING FOR PRESS TV. In January of this year, even leftie Ken groupie Dave Hill said that Ken should not be working for the Iranian owned TV channel, owners of which denied the Holocaust and displayed homophobic tendencies. Writing at the Telegraph, Toby Young called Livingstone “a disgrace” for working for a TV channel “launched in 2007 by Iranian President and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad” and a “mouthpiece for a fascist regime.” It is believed that Ken only quit the job due to the intervention of Ed Miliband. On the 23rd May, 2011, the NotKenAgain website reported that Press TV broadcast smears against our Royal Family and this country. On May 31st, the NotKenAgain website reported that Ken defended Hamas.
THE GAY COMMUNITY FEEL BETRAYED BY KEN: In an excoriating article that spares Ken Livingstone nothing, Pink News blasted Ken Livingstone for hypocrisy for earning money from anti-gay Iran. The penality for homosexuality in Iran is death, although Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims there are no gay people in Iran. Mathew Sephton of Pink News said: “It is appalling that Mr Livingstone chooses to be on the payroll of a regime well-known for its barbaric treatment of gay men and women. The Iranian state regularly executes people for being gay and this is simply not acceptable.”
There have been other crashingly insensitive misjudgments by ex-London Mayor Ken. Mr. Sephton also remembered Ken’s endorsement of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian televangelist who supports female genital mutilation, as a ‘progressive’. When Peter Tatchell protested and argued with Ken, the Mayor called him a racist.
KEN’S REMARKS ON FOREIGN POLICY: In a March 2005 commentary in The Guardian he accused Israel‘s prime minister Ariel Sharon of being a “war criminal“, citing his alleged personal responsibility for the Sabra and Shatila massacre in 1982 and accusations of ethnic cleansing.
On 20 July 2005, Livingstone said in an interview, about the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip: “Under foreign occupation and denied the right to vote, denied the right to run your own affairs, often denied the right to work for three generations, I suspect that if it had happened here in England, we would have produced a lot of suicide bombers ourselves.”
Right-wing commentator Mark Steyn described the interview as Livingstone “artfully” attempting “to draw a distinction between Muslim terrorists blowing up his own public transit (which he didn’t approve of) and Muslim terrorists blowing up Israeli public transit (which he was inclined to be sympathetic to).”
KEN’S COMMENTS ABOUT MEDIA COVERAGE OF TEENAGE MURDERS: In March 2008, Ken provoked controversy by accusing the media of too much exposure regarding murder cases involving teenagers. He said “If it bleeds, it leads.” These comments were made in 2007, which saw the tragic deaths of 27 teenagers on the streets of London.
On the same day, Livingstone was asked at the launch of his crime manifesto in Kilburn if he felt any feeling of responsibility for teenage murders in the capital. He replied “I do not feel responsible.”
KEN COMPARES BORIS AIDE TO MLADIC: As recently as last week, Ken compared Eddie Lister, Boris’s new chief of staff to alleged war criminal Ratko Mladic who is standing trial at the moment. Mr. Lister is understood to be considering legal action.
Labour party leader Ed Miliband is in a horrible double bind. On the one hand, he needs Ken to win the Mayoral election, but on the other hand, Ken, his Labour candidate worked for an organisation that denied the Holocaust and refused to quit. Ed was supposed to campaign on AV with Ken. For some reason, this event never materialised.
Many Labour members, as reported by Andrew Gilligan, detest Ken’s Mladic remark. Jonathan Isaby of Conservative Home reported “Labour voices begin to distance themselves from Ken Livingstone after Mladic smear – but what will Miliband and Co. have to say about it?” All this begs the question, who actually likes Ken and does this horrible man have any supporters at all besides the brainwashed Dave Hill and Tory Troll? I for one will feel no pain when Boris wins the next election. Diogenes said: “No man is hurt but by himself.” That is certainly true of Ken Livingstone.