Ed’s Weblog

…now my real blog

Ken and The Standard

Posted by Ed on February 22, 2005

Charl is exasperated by the hubbub surrounding Ken Livingstone‘s row with the London Evening Standard, while I am amused. That the row happened should come as no surprise. Ken is a lefty of the old school, a socialist worker, a Trot, and a mouthy git as well. And The Standard, like its sister paper The Daily Mail, is the standard-bearer of the old right, little Englanders who feel that the Tories are the natural party of government, and liberals and feminists and foreigners have no place there.

So let’s not forget the context in this. The context isn’t just some random party and a random hack trying to get a quick quote. This was a party to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Chris Smith coming out as the first gay MP, thrown by Ken Livingstone, as a long-time supporter of gay rights. And the hack was from the Standard, of the Daily Mail Group. Those papers have an equally long (or longer) history of homophobia, racism, misogyny and xenophobia. And Ken has been the victim of their hate for twenty years.

So yes, he was rude to the guy. He made a poorly thought-through remark about concentration camp guards. That does not make him anti-semitic, and his record on anti-racism speaks for itself. His bluntness is part of his charm, and in no small part the reason he was elected. So it’s really nobody’s business but his whether he apologises or not. If a hack from the Standard or The Mail accosted me at a party, I’d tell them to piss off as well.

Finally, it appears the Standards Board for England is to investigate the matter. This board has the power to ban members for up to five years
if it feels that a member’s behaviour has “fallen short of the required standards”. And that would be a far greater offence than Ken’s little outburst.

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