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Category Archives: Ken Livingstone

Final Mayoral Thoughts

OK, time to move on, but it has been interesting browsing the lefty blogs and particularly the comment sections on why Ken lost, and while we’re on the subject, why the Lib Dems did so appallingly too. For instance on Michael White’s blog, elsewhere in the Grauniad and at Harry’s Place among others.

There are a few themes emerging:

1) “The Evening Standard was against Ken. ‘snot fair” Well, the ES certainly helped, but don’t shoot the messenger just because he’s found a message to bring. In any case, I don’t remember the Left complaining when the ES was backing Ken.
2) “It was all part of the national swing.” Not as big a factor as they might think. Ken might have been a Labour mayor – for a few years anyway – but he is and always has been Ken first and foremost. The presidential environment of the London Mayor has ensured that the election would always be primarily about him and his record.
3) From the LibDems: “we got squeezed by the two main parties”. Oh please, change the record. You’ve had over twenty years, through both unpopular Conservative and Labour governments – haven’t you got the message yet?
4) Again from the yellow corner: “Paddick was uninspiring”. They’re not wrong – I watched some of those debates. How about the two classic moments on ITV: first was when Alistair Stewart asked if Paddick would tell borough police commanders what to do. Paddick’s response? “Yes. No, I mean….”. Then, at the end of the debate, the coup de grace … Alistair Stewart: “Who would you suggest your supporters put as their second preference vote?” Paddick: “” – that’s five whole seconds of silence … and now we know why (scroll down to 6.34) it was the far Left, er, Left List (this year’s name for the Socialist Workers Party or something).
5) “How can the outer boroughs do this? They don’t use Oysters or the Tube, what gives them the right?” Errr, perhaps the fact that we have to pay for the Tube, and the Zone 1 stuff, yet see little in return. Especially in the south, where we don’t even get the Tube*

And then amongst all that was the more realistic view from some former Livingstone supporters, which show just how he lost the backing of some core voters. Ken’s support for al-Qaradawi reflects the dilemma that others on the Left seem to be facing now – how to embrace multiculturalism but without pardoning the very politically un-correct attitudes of some of those cultures.

* and, some may ask, why would we want it, when you can already get from Bromley South to Central London non stop in 20 minutes, and with a view out of the window!