01 February 2008

These Frenzied Attacks ARE Harming Ken.

Despite the latest Yougov poll showing Ken extending his lead, the increasingly wild attacks led by the Tory Evening Standard with the supporting cast of label-mates the free Metro and Daily Mail are hitting their target. With the...
Murdoch press (Sun, Times) that labeled Ken 'the most odious man in Britain' in the 1980's and continues this tradition with Simon Jenkins and other recent attacks, and even the Guardian and New Statesman magazine joining in (does Ken have any media friends?) then you have to wonder how Ken is still standing - these daily attacks must be damaging his image. If it wasn't for Ken's robust counter-attacks he would surely be suffering. Ken's excellent campaigning is the main reason his support his holding up. I don't think any other politician could survive this level of sustained lies and slurs against their name.

The reason Ken survives is that these papers cannot deny what Londoners see with their own eyes - the bravery of Ken introducing the congestion charge, the free travel for Londoner's youngest, poorest and oldest, the success of the oyster card, the regeneration and boom in use of the bus network and cycling and walking, the increased sighting of police, the success of the city's economy and improved environment. People believe crime is falling where they live even though the papers create an impression of anarchy elsewhere and the figures bear out that the press are lying (even though people tend to believe the emotional stories they read rather than the raw facts).

But above all this, when they see Ken live or on TV or radio or read his articles, they see, hear and read a man of courage and honesty, with London running through his veins. The smears do damage Ken, but Ken works hard to rebut every lie and when people hear his side, they mostly know who is telling the truth.

What the Evening Standard is doing on a daily basis is making it difficult for them to maintain any sort of pretence of impartiality. People are waking up to the fact it is a Tory stooge paper.

What is more annoying, are the Euston Manifesto types - a neo-con fifth column within the Labour movement. How idiotic are these people to campaign for Boris Johnson - probably the most right wing candidate London has ever seen. I don't think Nick Cohen is any more Labour than Melanie Phillips (Like her, neo-cohen supports Grammar Schools, Tory IHT thresholds of £1m, argues that 100k is not enough to live on and that rich people are taxed enough, he opposed Afghanistan war but supported the Iraq war and Bush (after originally being in opposition) and has always argued against Labour (even in 1997)). Both with liberal Guardian roots who have sold out to the neo-cons because of their hatred of Islam. They want Ken out because he has shook hands with a man with shocking views, never mind that Ken has categorically condemned those views and never mind all the fine work Ken has done bravely fighting bigotry of all sorts to improve Londoners lives, especially the poorest Londoners. No, we on the Left shouldn't care about silly things like equality and the environment, Cohen's symbolism is more important.

But what makes me suspect something more sinister is that Boris Johnson unlike Ken is someone who will not renounce homophobia and racism, indeed Boris has said things so shocking no Londoner should vote for him. The only conclusion that can be made of Nick Cohen et al is that they are frauds - pretending to be on the left. Anybody who is fooled by their little game is not only a fool, but a dangerous fool. If you are really on the left and pay any attention to this silly charade, wake up! If you support Labour then there is only one left candidate in this election with a proven record fighting bigotry and inequality. Vote for the things that matter, not false symbolism. You are all being conned if you don't.


  1. Ifyou live in Brighton what has London got to do with you? under new labour, English people are not supposed to interfere in the affairs of other English regions.

  2. Tally: Freedom of speech my dear friend. I travel to London regularly, London is my capital city, I have many friends in London, I use public transport. If public transport, housing, equality, environment etc. is improved in London, it is a model for elsewhere. Also the London economy has a massive knock on effect for the whole country, especially us in the South East. London is very much my concern.

  3. I love how some how Boris is apparently 'neo-con' and is the most 'far-right' candidate London has ever seen.

    Do you even listen to what the man says? Or do you just take a very narrow political view, that if he's not statist or communist (by the way thats a right wing way of polarising the left!) then he must be Satan reincarnate?

    Boris is incredibly middle of the road, his comments on race have been taken entirely out of context and the left chooses to ignore the articles entirely, and actually the number of Lefties who supported the Iraq War (inc. the present Labour Government) makes your concerns negligible. Do yourself and the political discourse of the country a favour - get back in your box.

    By the way - right wing or left wing, I don't care, I just want to have informed debate. And this article is nothing but clapped out labelling of politicians to stoke fears for no good reason. Grow up!

  4. I should have put 'the most right-wing candidate ever with a chance of winning'. Obviously I don't think Boris is as far right as Richard Barnbrook, the BNP candidate, but you cannot deny that Boris has voiced his distaste for Mandela and called his elected government 'a regime' and a 'black elective dictatorship' and said Africa would be better off if ruled by whites. In what context is it ever right to refer to black people as 'piccaninies' with 'water melon smiles'? (something he has done both in print and in private to Rod Liddle). Add in his opposition to the Macpherson report and his comment about Papua New Guinea - 'orgies of cannibalism' and you must suspect his opinion of black people is suspect.

    Boris is also a proven liar, serial adulturer, bully and incompetent. Sacked after a week in his management consultant job, sacked as a journalist with the Times for plagiarism, sacked as vice-chair of the Tories for lying, caught on tape arranging for a journalist to be beat up by his fraud convicted friend, taking money from dodgy sources and not declaring it, the list goes on...

  5. Hmmm...Livingstone - a drunk, crony-istic, socialistic, Islamophile (to the extent where that draws him to affiliate with extremists) who refuses to deny the possibility that his trusted aide Lee Jasper has too much power and uses that power with the LDA to push money to Black Community Groups. This is positive discrimination and just as sickening as discrimination.

    While I appreciate the authors attempt to justify his anti-Boris stance, his pro-Ken stance, does nothing for the palate and actually merely serves to put him in League with other journalists who prefer to use political bias when judging candidates, rather than policies.

    Your referal to 'piccaninies' and 'water-melon smiles' again lacks the penetrative insight to read these in context. They were used in an ironic article, ripping Blair's manner of shuttle diplomacy and his appalling Presidential style of governance i.e. "That I should turn up, and expect the natives (of whichever country I happen to stumble into) to bow before me for I come bearing social democracy". And the cannabalistic comment was actually a slight against the Conservative Party's ability to chew itself whenever it needs a new leader.

    Please Neil if you are going to pass judgement on words and terms which are taken to entirely out of context, don't blog at all. It degrades an already appalling soapbox for people like yourself to make unqualified statements about the nature of things with no course for remonstration - and when one does, you merely shoe horn the same argument, differently.

    I also think it is in INCREDIBLY bad taste to put Boris and the BNP in the same sentence. That'd be like me calling Ken a communist...oh no wait, Martin Bright already did...sorry!

  6. Also one final thing - dodgy contributions?! If you are to believe anything that the present Labour government has to say about Tory sleaze and 'administrative mismanagement' please do so through the tinted glasses which are transparent. Labour have decided to smear the Boris Campaign, because they are that scared they will lose London in May, and need to divert attention away from their 'whiter than white' record...(laugh out loud here).

    The one thing I can say in the Conservatives defence is this: though don't claim or preach to be whiter than white. You know when you deal with a Conservative, you are dealing with someone who is likely to hoodwink you. With Labour they swear till they are blue in the face "We won't do that. We're not the nasty party." And then under the cover of darkness do hoodwink you. At least the Conservatives make no such claims!

    Also using Boris' personal life (the philanderer comment) to suggest he is not capable of running the Capital, is Ken permitted the same excuse for pushing his missus down the stairs? Think about it would you?!

  7. Anon: I notice you can't even attempt an excuse for Boris's distaste for Mandela and black rule in Africa. According to Rod Liddle (who worked with Boris at the Spectator), Boris has used the term 'piccaninies' in private to refer to Black people. He obviously thinks it is funny term to use. It is a typical racist term used by people who like to defend the empire. This guy should get nowhere near power. It is bad enough he was parachuted into a safe Tory seat.

    Whats all this about the Tories not hiding their corruption, they do nothing else. They are far more corrupt than Labour will ever be, but the difference is people expect it of them.

    As for Boris's private life compared to Kens. Boris's philandering, lying, plagiarism, incompetence and dodgy deals with convicted fraudsters are all proven and a matter of record, everything against Ken is just accusation and innuendo.

  8. Neil,

    That's all very well for you to say, but you aren't the one paying £300 a year extra on your Council Tax so that the Mayor can use civil servants to campaign on his behalf.

    Having said that, I do like the Oyster Card and think that it has been well implemented. The continuing integration of travel, e.g. the Overground network, is also good.

    As someone who lives in London (and in Brixton/Streatham at that), I am less keen on the free travel for the young who, far too often, just go from bus to bus causing trouble.

    The lower crime is something of an illusion too. Outside Brixton Station, there were a row of covered bus-stops, which "youths" used to deal out of. Now, whilst I don't have a problem with this, some do; under Ken, the police have deliberately followed a policy of turning a blind eye to this so, when someone complained, what did they do. Crack down on the dealers?

    Nope. They removed the bus-shelters, so now we all have to wait in the rain. Not so good.

    Oh, and I don't care if Ken has, when opportune, condemned the views that Al-Quaradawi holds: he obviously doesn't feel strongly enough about them not to meet the man.

    Power corrupts, and Ken is the official with as near absolute power as anyone in this country. He has done good work (and bad stuff too) but I object to him building his little fiefdom.

    He should go, now.



  9. DK, At the end of the day do you really think Boris could have improved public transport the way Ken has? Boris has voiced his opposition to more police as well. Boris is a absolute joke. If you've got any sense (and I think you have) vote Ken to see the oyster cards, overground and bus service keep on improving. Do you really think incompetent Boris will work as hard, have anywhere near the knowledge and be as efficient as Ken?

    I remember London in the late eighties/nineties and you were lucky to have any bus shelters standing at all - they were all smashed up, the streets were dirty, the roads really really choked with traffic, impossible to cross, everything at a standstill - it took hours to get anywhere - I know cos I used to drive through it. Whenever I go now, things are much improved. It's still hectic, rude and dirty but hey thats London and in small doses I find it a hell of a lot of fun. I couldn't live there which is why I live in Brighton (close enough to visit London for a night out but can still get the late night train home). But best of all, I don't fear for my life like I used to when I visited London. Crime is down - it's bloody obvious to anyone who has lived in London a while. You must remember the eighties - you couldn't walk down the street without getting beaten up - and I don't mean in the town centre by drunks - just general gangs of no-hopers. Yes it still happens, but knife and gun deaths are both down. I know you don't believe it, but that is up to you. The Tories did their best to stop measuring these things - Labour for all your hatred of them, actually have tried to restore some depth and independence back to the figures. Most of the changes they have made have actually widened the scope of what is recorded and consequently made improvements not look as good as they actually would have looked. Despite that, recorded crime is in free fall in most areas and clear up rates have improved.