24 February 2006

Ken Livingstone is innocent!

The Standards Board have found Ken guilty of bringing his post into disrepute. This is a politically motivated judgement. I agree with the following comment left at Harry's place;

"It seems to me that what Livingstone said (or perhaps tried to say) was clumsy, inarticulate, and careless but it was still an attempt at a perfectly valid argument. He was attacking the reporter for (in Ken's view) harassing guests at a gay function. The reporter responded "I am doing my job". Ken pointed out that this was the defence of concentration camp guards (ie it is not a defence to say "I am doing my job").

Assuming the journalist was not harrassing him, but merely following him down the street at midnight asking innocuous questions, then a simple "f* off, and stop being such a f*ing c*", would have been the appropriate response. Everyone would have got what they wanted: the journo would have baited Ken to say something that his prudish readers would find "shameful", and Ken would have looked "right hard" to his supporters.

I have to completely agree (for a change) with that right-wing Boris Johnson, when he said: "I do not normally side with Red Ken, but on this occasion I say, Ken, whatever you do, don't apologise. Tell the papers to take a running jump, and tell Blair to join them. There are all sorts of reasons why this advice is sound, and I speak as one who has been caught up in the modern mania for apology.

The first is that any apology, as Ken has made clear, would be completely insincere; and the second is that it would be a surrender to media bullying. If you look at the offending transcript, it is clear that Ken was crass in his comments about camps and security guards; and it may be that elsewhere Ken has said things that border on anti-Semitism, but these words are not in themselves anti-Semitic.

...I think it would be an utter disaster if he came anywhere close to grovelling to the Evening Standard. We have a cult of victimhood in this country, in which the complainants are often not the victims themselves, but self-appointed priests of the cult of victimhood, who believe it is up to them to decide when offence has been given. And we have powerful newspapers that like to find some offence, and then screech their imprecations until the so-called offender has apologised."

Completely agree with this comment that Ken's remarks were not racist. They were not. What we have to ask is 'how desirable is it to have nasty journalists like Oliver Finegold and nasty papers like the Evening Standard/Daily Mail who hassle gay people and the Mayor after a reception at midnight, deliberately trying to goad a reaction?'


  1. Here is a transcript of what was actually said between Ken and the reporter.


    What Ken said was not antisemitic and I don't see that he has anything to apologise for on that front. If, on the other hand, he wants to apologise for bringing his post into disrepute by being a loathsome, drunken twat then I'm all ears.

    As for your suggestion that Oliver Finegold was harassing Ken, or for that matter "gay people", that evening, there is nothing in the exchange that supports that either as far as I can see. He politely asked for a comment and was rudely told that he wasn't getting one and that's pretty much it.

  2. It's an absolute disgrace. Unelected officials ban a mayor from office for insulting somebody? Where's the democracy? Where's the freedom of speech? And most of all, WHERE IS MY MAYOR??? I VOTED FOR KEN. I WANT MY MAYOR BACK. NOW.

  3. fuck off - he is an EMPLOYEE who screwed up according to teh terms of his disiplinary code

    If you think the journalist was obnoxious with his "I'm only doing my job" then you haven't listen to the context - typical for lefty cunts like you

    Stop whining and go play in the traffic

  4. Read what the government said the Standards Board was for, and compare with what they have actually done, in Ken's and other cases. I think you will see there is a huge mis-match.

    Surely the only people who can legitimately judge whether he 'brought the office of mayor into disrepute' are the electorate of London?

    An elected politician suspended for being rude to a tabloid journalist? Shameful and ridiculous.

  5. Katy, the thing is there is a five second gap that has been carefully deleted on the tape, where Ken has accused Finegold of a foul mouth tyrade. Of course because Finegold has edited the tape there is no way of proving that.

    I agree Ken was insensitive and he has apologised if anyone was inadvertently offended, but it is asking a lot for someone to be polite 24 hours a day, seven days a week, when they have tabloid journalists constantly harrassing them and provoking them, trying to catch them off guard. It was midnight after a party. How would you have reacted? You can't expect someone to be perfect when they are effectively off duty.

  6. Neil, I think we agree. I don't know about the five second gap. But I wouldn't expect anyone to be perfect all the time. Myself, I try to be polite to everyone all the time, but there's no denying that sometimes I fail miserably and I wouldn't hold anyone up to standards that I can't maintain myself. It's a shame that Ken didn't rise above whatever provocation he either got or thought he was getting, but everyone is rude sometimes and to suspend him for it is ludicrous. Hopefully his appeal will succeed.

  7. Katy, I'm glad you agree.

    The five second gap on the tape is mentioned here.

    It has then been alleged that Finegold launched into a four letter tirade at the Mayor, which obviously he would have deleted from the tape presented to the Standards' Board.

    Notice the subtle difference in the way the Telegraph and Guardian reported the same dialogue.

  8. I'm glad you agree broadly with my comment posted over at HP. Thanks too for mentioning the 5 second gap which I hadn't read about yet. As for the context, the broader context is that that newspaper had been baiting Ken for weeks about one thing or the other. They are also generally homophobic in their stories and reporting, so if they weren't harrassing Ken and other guests then what exactly were they doing doorstepping people outside the gay dinner/event? Yes, it would have been great if Ken had been a tad more sensitive or polite, but he's never been like that as far as I can remember and it's not exactly what the voters were looking for when they voted him as mayor.

  9. I am neither a reader nor a supporter of the Evening Standard, but I am aware that they homophobically employ Brian Sewell.

  10. John: Hope you didn't mind me quoting you at length, I would have provided a link to your blog, but there wasn't one.

    Chairman: You don't actually have to be homophobic to work for a paper who print homophobic views.

  11. The Remittance Man28/2/06 4:08 pm

    "We have a cult of victimhood in this country, in which the complainants are often not the victims themselves, but self-appointed priests of the cult of victimhood, who believe it is up to them to decide when offence has been given".

    One has to admire the sweet irony of one of the greatest proponents of the victimhood scam being punished by that very same industry he nurtured during the 80's and 90's.

    But if you ask me the chickens are really coming home to roost for the whole left on issues like this. The whole idea of Multicultural Britain is questioned, not by a conservative, but by the leader of the Racial Equalities Mafia, because one culture is vehemently opposed to the activities of another and indeed seems hell bent on destroying the whole idea of tolerance in Britain.

    The poor oppressed under-class don't thank their benefactors like the good peons they should be. Instead when the PM gives up his valuable time to clean their walls they write rude things about him on the clean paintwork. The army of social workers is even more despised by the recipients of their efforts than by us right-wing loons and employees of benefit offices have to be protected from their clients by bandit screens.

    And finally, the right are starting to learn from the left's tactics. Not David Cameron's limp wristed attempts to make Conservatism cuddly. No, instead we have demos in favour of animal testing and one of the biggest protests in London's history was for fox-hunting. And that's the real miracle of Blairism. He's finally managed to mobilise the 'silent majority' who sat back tut-tutting during all those leftie protests and campaigns. They are fighting back using the left's own tactics.

    If I were of the conspiratorial frame of mind, I'd say Mr Blair was actually a Tory agent provocateur. A mole placed by the Conservatives in the labour movement to bring about its final destruction. Oh, if only they were that bright.

    I predict happy times ahead. Conservative times.


  12. Mr Harding, you may address me as Chairwoman, Chairperson. or, fraternally, as Chair. Chairman, however, is not appropriate.

  13. The Tories, even with 80% of the press on their side will never win 50% of the vote.

    That is the level of support that a government should need to govern. Only the left have that sort of support. Lets have democracy, lets have proportional representation and then it is bye bye Tories.

  14. Sorry about that chairwoman.