Issue 155: 2018 05 24: Livingstone

Black and White bars - perhaps roofscape

25 May 2018

Livingstone’s departure

Inevitable not excellent.

by Pat Edlin

I’m no fan of Ken’s and have not been one for 25 years. His ego is his biggest weakness and it has come to obscure his positive impact on politics, mostly in London. For years he was a brave and good advocate for Socialism. I loved those GLC parties and, concerts, and the fact that most organisations got funding to enable their voices to be heard. Even though he had advocated the scrapping of Horace Cutler’s GLC, when Labour won a slim majority in the early 80’s a coup was hatched and he became its leader. That was his power base and maybe his greatest moment.

This may sound like his obituary; it is certainly his political one.  Ken got facts wrong, opening his gob to enter the hyped up antisemitic debate, both feet flying into his mouth, when he was not asked by Jeremy Corbyn or anyone else at Labour HQ to do so.  But he is not Antisemitic.  Shami Chakrabarti recently went over the top in berating Ken on the  BBC’s Daily Politics.  He was already serving a life time suspension dished out in the final days of the previous Labour Party Gen Sec, Ian McNicol.

Ken seems to have lost his way in recent years, since his political back bone, provided by three deep-entrists from the tiny, but at times influential, Socialist Action group, fled or died.

When Ken opened his mouth about Zionism and Nazism he inaccurately said that Hitler was elected in 1932. He repeated this ill timed, and ill informed, inaccuracy in many a media studio. As one former ally put it in frustration on TV’s Daily Politics ‘Ken should keep his mouth shut go home and feed his newts and write his memoirs’.  Ouch!  In fact, of course Hitler was not elected in 1932. By the end of that year the NAZI Party was the biggest group in the Bundestag and  a group of politicians let by Franz Von Papen, a Catholic Aristocratic, Hitler supporter and later Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, persuaded President Hindenburg to appoint Hitler as Chancellor of Germany in January 1933. Further elections in March 1933, held in an atmosphere of Nazi terror and and propaganda, gave Hitler with his coalition partners a majority which they used to establish a dictatorship, Hindenburg hmself being replaced by Hitler as Head of State in the following year.  The rest is a history in which 60 million lost their lives.

In recent years Ken and a political ally, former MP and expelled member of the Labour Party, George Galloway, have appeared regularly on PRESS TV, an overt propaganda arm of Iran’s Mullah led government which both oppresses political opposition and woman (there is still stoning for adultery) and is overtly homophobic (under Sharia law  homosexual acts can carry the death penalty).  A couple of years back PRESS TV, on instruction from Tehran, blocked, then banned, one of its own reporters who was going to be critical in a piece about President Assad. So much for respecting the principal of free speech, Ken & George. The reporter went to work for Al Jazeera.

I don’t think Ken resignation is anything to crow about but it seems, because of his repeated behavior,  inevitable – a lesson for us not to have individualistic heroes.  Surely the principal is success at the polls not the promotion of one person?

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