Week 18: Prat – Ken Livingstone

by George_East on May 9, 2016

Last Week’s Prat of the Week Award goes to former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone

Labour_PratCast your mind back to 7 July 2005. London had been the subject of four bombs on its transport network during the morning commuting hours.  56 people were dead.   Tony Blair, the then Prime Minister as attending a G8 summit in Gleneagles in Scotland.  His speech in response was forgettable.   On the other side of the world, in Singapore, the then mayor of London Ken Livingstone was attending the meeting of the International Olympic Committee which had decided the day before to award London the 2012 Olympics.   His response was perhaps the veteran left wing politician’s finest moment.

I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.

That isn’t an ideology, it isn’t even a perverted faith – it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I’m proud to be the mayor of that city.”

The speech was pitch perfect, uniting all Londoners in opposition to the indiscriminate attack by Islamist terrorists and calling for solidarity across racial, religious and social groups.

Fast forward 11 years and in reaction to a growing series of worrying allegations of anti-semitism in the Labour Party, Ken is lecturing the Jewish community on how Hitler was a Zionist ‘before he went mad in 1932’. No Ken Hitler was always evil and bent on his mad designs from at least the 1920s (the publication date of Mein Kampf might be a clue) and the idea of expelling all Jews in Europe to a ‘homeland’  far far away is about as far from the idealism of a Jewish nation state represented by Zionism, as it is possible to be.    He was, rightly, suspended by the Labour Party as a result.  This doesn’t seem to have shut him up at all.  It is well past time for Ken to be put out to pasture.  I say that with some sadness, as I was at one time a fan.

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