Labour needs a new candidate for Mayor

Ken Livingstone

Ken Livingstone’s latest on next year’s battle against Conservative Boris Johnson for Mayor:

“It’s a simple choice between good and evil – I don’t think it’s been so clear since the great struggle between Churchill and Hitler.”

Another slip of the tongue or a sign of a politician who’s lost the plot?

Yet another innocent mistake?

Ken Livingstone’s “moderate” says Jews killed Christ

Ken Livingstone, Gerry Healy, MI5, Libyan money and the Zionist connection

The story of the Ken Livingstone / Oliver Finegold affair. Here. (David Hirsh, March 06)

‘What makes ‘red Ken’ tick? Here. (Colin Shindler, November 05)

Shalom Lappin on Livingstone’s claim that “this is about Israel, not antisemitism”. Here. (February 06)

Some links from Workers’ Liberty on Ken Livingstone’s history. Here.

Jonathan Freedland on Ken Livingstone. Here.

Ken Livingstone: “[P]erhaps they’re not happy, perhaps they could always go back to Iran and see if they do better under the Ayatollahs…” Here. (David Hirsh, March 05)

Simon Pottinger on Livingstone’s “they could always go back to…” line. Here. (March 06)

Guardian leader on Livingstone. here. (March 06)

The Livingstone Formulation.

The Livingstone Formulation at greater length.

11 Responses to “Labour needs a new candidate for Mayor”

  1. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    “In comments, reported in Total Politics magazine, he added: “The people that don’t vote for me will be weighed in the balance, come Judgment Day. The Archangel Gabriel will say ‘You didn’t vote for Ken Livingstone in 2012. Oh dear, burn forever. Your skin flayed for all eternity’.””

    This is humorous? He’s got an odd sense of humour, does Ken.

  2. comment is not free Says:

    Not the first time that Ken has likened himself to a Tory prime minister,

  3. Saul Says:

    In the light of Zizek’s belief of the “Zionist-(far) right” alliance discussed on Engage, this comment by Livingstone takes on an interesting meaning.
    He states,
    “They [Israeli governments] are also fuelling anger and violence across the world. For a mayor of London not to speak out against such injustice would not only be wrong – but would also ignore the threat it poses to the security of all Londoners.”

    In other words, so provocative is Israel’s existence (earlier in the article he links Israel’s crimes to its existence) and continuance that it is only by “speaking out” against it can Londoner’s security be guaranteed.

    In other words, like Zizek, the greatest threat to London comes not from those who choose to place bombs on buses and tubes, but rather Israel (and, by implication, those who raised the issue of antisemitism in relation to his “Kapo” comment whom he seems to equate with Israeli governments and their alleged tactic of silencing all criticism of Israel “as antisemitic” (see the link above)).

    Now, I do not recall Churchill blaming the attacks on London of his time as the result of something Jews did or were doing. Nor do I recall Churchill claiming that to keep London secure one needed to “speak out” about such Jewish malfeasance.
    I do, however, recall Hitler arguing in those terms precisely.

    Now, of course, Livingstone is not Hitler, nor is Livingstone Karl Leuger, nor is Livingstone an antisemite (I take very seriously his commitment to opposing antisemitism).

    However, if an experienced politician like Livingstone chooses to portray his Conservative opponent by characterising as “Hitler”, then he can hardly complain if some decide to turn the tables and play him at his own game.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      ” (I take very seriously his commitment to opposing antisemitism).” Ken L. has a funny way of showing it, then: insulting a self-identified Jewish reporter; refusing to apologise for the offence caused; and serial use of the Livingstone Formulation.

  4. Does British Labour need a new candidate for London Mayor? « Says:

    […] Cinderella eating a pumpkin pie etc… Anyway, there is a good selection of references in that article in Engage.The only detail I would like to draw your attention to is that quote from Red Ken:It’s a simple […]

  5. Nick Says:

    That reporter did work for the Daily (hurrah for the Blackshirts)Mail – so fair game in my book.

  6. absolute Observer Says:

    Well good for you Nick.
    You are not the only person who thinks it is 1933.
    Only problem is, of course, that the word Kapo was not well known, if it existed at all, in 1933
    Likewise, the Daily Mail of that time was an antisemitic rag, it was hostile to Jews.
    Livingstone’s comments and his failure to apologise for equating a Jewish reporter (and what paper was he working for at the time? not the Mail) with the nazis and support for nazis (the nazi extermination of Jews is another intervening fact between 1933 and 2005) is truly a fatal blow against antisemitism!

    But, what the heck, Kenny boy really did “stick it to the Man”, so what else matters, eh Nick?

  7. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Actually, Nick, the reporter in question worked for the (“old”) Evening Standard – also part, then, of the Rothermere press group. However, the current owner is not the person who supported the Nazis, so are you supporting the biblical injunction that the sins of the fathers shall be visited on the sons unto the 3rd and 4th generation? And, while we’re on the topic, I worked for a large number of years for De Montfort University. Does this make me culpable for the antisemitism and exploitation of the poor of the Earls Simon de Montfort (both younger and elder)? And if so, where does this retrospective guilt end? Am I, as a Jew, to be held responsible for the crucification of Jesus, bearing in mind that I wasn’t there at the time?

    You are dangerously close to employing antisemitic tropes, entirely unwittingly, I’m sure, Nick.

  8. Lynne T Says:


    Were the Reuben Brothers fair game too? Was it OK for Kenny to direct insults toward them and sufficient for him to climb down ever so slightly after by issuing an apology to the Jewish community when directed to do so by an administrative tribunal?

    Remarks regarding the Reuben brothers
    Livingstone was criticised following a 21 March 2006 press conference at which Livingstone is alleged to have said of David and Simon Reuben — two Indian-born Jewish businessmen involved in a property development project for the 2012 Olympics — that “if they’re not happy they can always go back to Iran and see if they can do better under the Ayatollahs”. The Reuben brothers were born in Mumbai, India and are of Iraqi-Jewish ancestry, rather than Iranian, but have carried out work in Iran. Brian Coleman and other Conservative members of the GLA accused Livingstone of anti-Semitism, while The Guardian and The Times ran leaders accusing Livingstone of anti-immigrant remarks. The Guardian wrote that Livingstone’s remarks would “shame a loudmouth pub buffoon”, and that “The Reuben brothers have as much right to be in Britain as Livingstone himself”, while the Times leader said simply “Ken Livingstone is a fool”.[107] Livingstone refused calls for him to apologise for his remarks, stating “I would offer a complete apology to the people of Iran to the suggestion that they may be linked in any way to the Reuben brothers. I wasn’t meaning to be offensive to the people of Iran.”[108] He also accused Coleman of behaving like the Nazi Propaganda Minister, Josef Goebbels.[107] The Standards Board referred the comments to the GLA’s monitoring officer, whose investigation exonerated the mayor.[109]

    On 5 October 2006 at the High Court of Justice, Mr Justice Collins overturned the decision to suspend Livingstone, regardless of the outcome of his appeal concerning the breach of standards.[110] The final judgement upheld Livingstone’s appeal and stated that the Adjudication Panel had misdirected itself, although the judge stated that the Mayor should have apologised.

    On 7 December 2006, at a City Hall reception marking the launch of the London Jewish Forum, Livingstone apologised for any offence that he had caused the Jewish community.[

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      “On 7 December 2006, at a City Hall reception marking the launch of the London Jewish Forum, Livingstone apologised for any offence that he had caused the Jewish community.[”

      How generous of him.

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