During this election, Ken Livingstone has been outstanding in only one regard. His lying has reached Olympic standard. I have frequently complained about Ken’s lack of creative imagination (there has not been one original idea in his entire campaign; he has pinched ideas from The West Wing, (the chicken stunt, amongst others), old M. & S. ads., and slogans from the Back Boris campaign.) His policy and speeches are mundane and uninspiring, his only strategy pure bribery.But when Ken lies, he is in a league of his own. Once Ken lied 3 times in 4 minutes on TV. Six lies in an afternoon is not unusual for him. He lied that Boris was sitting on a huge surplus at City Hall, but gave differing amounts…..they varied from £290MM to £759 MM. (It was £1.9 Billion according to Val Shawcross.) Ken has even lied about a remark he made and the lie was verified as a lie by a rabbi. Not a problem. In fact, for Ken, it was just a walk in the park.
This is quality lying. This is lying that includes aspersion, defamation, misrepresentation, smears, slander, muckraking, slurs, stigma and denigration. Ken is such an accomplished liar, he can look someone in the eye, knowing that he is lying and that his victim knows and then he can brazenly lie some more. On air. In fact, Ken doesn’t give a damn about lying on air. His latest election broadcast featured a dear old lady spouting the Ken fib that he had started the freedom pass. Now he is getting helpless pensioners in on the act. He was on video talking about London being a beacon of Islam, sucking up to the Muslim community and then he lied about that too.
Bernie Madoff and Charles Ponzi must be green with envy. After all, whilethey did time in the slammer, Ken has escaped scot free. Bernie Madoff is doing life. Charles Ponzi (now deceased) served many long jail terms, but of course he lied to his mum that he had a special job helping a prison governor. This is Ken all over. Ken has not, as far as we know, done anything that deserves a prison term. However, his irresponsible spending of public funds when he was Mayor, (a Forensic Audit panel was called in) was cutting it close.
There is Ken’s day to day, par for the course fibbing, when he claims to have started the freedom pass, (the scheme began in 1973), promises to bring back the EMA payment (this is not even the Mayor’s remit), and claimed responsibility for the Boris Bikes. There is his distortion of statistics, such as his continual lying about crime. There is the fantasy lying, put around by his supporters – “Ken will protect the NHS.” (HAHA. The Mayor has no control whatsoever over the NHS) and stuff designed to frighten old ladies like “Boris is getting rid of the freedom pass.” And there is the abusive lying, ” Boris is like Hitler, Eddie Lister is like a Serbian mass murderer” etc. etc. One of Ken’s most hilarious lies was that he lobbied for broadband in 1983. This is 15 years before broadband was invented!
Then there is the really serious stuff, lying about his own tax affairs, with a sang froid which Al Capone would have envied. And the lie during the LBC debate when he accused Boris of similar legal tax avoidance. (Muscle bound Boris, shouting and red faced with fury in a tiny lift space probably gave Ken one of his few genuinely dodgy moments.) Even worse, are his slurs against the Jewish and gay communities, stirring up divisiveness and race hate. Is Ken a mythomaniac?
There are signs that the strain is beginning to tell though. Ken knows he has lost voters’ trust over the tax imbroglio. He knows that Boris’s righteous wrath in the lift gained him a big advantage. When questioned on his legal tax avoidance during the Evening Standard debate, Ken flushed a deep, ugly red. He knows it looks bad for him.
But still on twitter, his brainwashed, brain dead supporters manically peddle the fiction that it is all, every single word of it, Tory smears. Dave Hill stands on the burning deck. Ken’s pals insist that Lynton Crosby and Andrew Gilligan are entirely to blame. If lying were an Olympic sport, Ken would get the gold.