Tag Archives: Ken Livingstone

Hero or villain? The Livingstone question

A thoughtful and refreshing analysis of the Livingstone Affair. Ken’s a goshite and that’s something on which we can all, hopefully, agree. He is not, however, an anti-Semite. David Rosenberg was there at the dawn of the GLC Rainbow Coalition under Livingstone and is witness to some of the key events that have helped to shape the discourses surrounding Livingstone Affair.

rebel notes

My favourite political image among the protests and street activism that has marked the first three months of 2017 is a banner held on the St Patrick’s Day parade. It proclaimed:”More Blacks! More dogs! More Irish!” – mocking the daily racism of the 1960s when people looking for homes were confronted by openly discriminatory window signs rejecting applicants from these categories. The first Race Relations Act of 1968 finally knocked that appalling behaviour on the head, but not the sentiments behind it. It took another 20 years of grassroots campaigns led by victims of racism, finally aided by another layer of government, to normalise anti-racism and explicitly promote multiculturalism.

58e42cc61500002000c7dfa7 GLC leader Ken Livingstone addressing  GLC London Against Racism rally 1984.

That layer of government was the Greater London Council (GLC). Under a visionary Left Labour leadership from 1981 it railed against continuing inequalities and discriminatory practices and the mindset supporting…

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Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 45)

Kennite is back from his break.  He must have exhausted himself so much that his bosses made him take a holiday. As you will recall, Kennite wrote at least two anti-Livingstone blogs a day. Even his Number One fan, the similarly obsessed  “imrankhan” is back, chipping in with his extra long comments (there’s one that comes to 701 words) in which he repeats the same tired old clichés and libellous drivel about Ken Livingstone, Tower Hamlets, trots, postal vote fraud (a favourite of the right) and so forth as he’s done before.

Yesterday’s blog follows from the news that the New Statesman’s Mehdi Hasan is to take up a position with Huffington Post as their political editor. Naturally, Kennite is beside himself with a mixture of bitterness and bitchiness. The blog, titled, “Mehdi Hasan: liar leaves job” is nothing less than a window into the mind of a deeply embittered man. “imran” thinks he knows why Hasan has left the New Statesman but, like his idol, he’s just being bitchy.

Wishful thinking.

Desperate to impress his readership of extreme nationalists, racists and those who continue to pine for the demise of Empire (We should never have left Injah!), he writes,

Mehdi is an effective polemicist, increasingly beloved of BBC discussion programmes – but the job needed more reporting scruples than he possessed, and his temper sometimes get the better of him. My own experience with this came in November 2010. I’d done something to annoy Mehdi – not that hard – so he accused me (in his New Statesman blog) of a long list of crimes including working for the Iranian state-funded broadcaster, Press TV. “Sources at Press TV tell me Gilligan is among the highest-paid, if not the highest-paid, employee at the channel,” wrote Mehdi, asking: “So, Andrew, when will you quit your lucrative job at Press TV?”

Gilligan is trying to claim or, rather, feign innocence.  He adds,

I did present a fortnightly discussion show on Press TV, in which the policies of the Iranian government were often debated and challenged. But I stopped in December 2009. I have not worked for Press TV since, with the exception of two one-off shows in the week of the general election in May 2010, almost six months before Mehdi’s “sources” told him I was its highest paid employee.

As I pointed out in a previous blog, Kennite left Press TV, then he was back in. Who’s to say that he won’t work for Press TV again in the future? It’s all money after all and he showed no scruples when he joined the channel the first time. If he went back so soon after leaving, then surely there is the possibility that he could return.

It seems to us at Nowhere Towers that Kennite is desperate for a story and it shows. He’s also still grinding an axe for his former employer whom he has never forgiven. Hell hath no fury like a Gilligan scorned!

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Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 44) or I deny having any part in the anti-Ken smear campaign

It was predictable enough that the Tory-controlled press, as well as the BBC, would line up behind Boris Johnson in the London Mayoral Elections. Those who seek to deny that the media played any part in the re-election of Boris Johnson are deluding themselves and lying to the rest of us. So it comes as no surprise that Kennite would write yet another poison pen letter to Ken Livingstone while denying that the media played any part in Johnson’s re-election.

Today, Gilligoon writes,

In 2008 Ken Livingstone could plausibly claim that his defeat was due to the unpopularity of Gordon Brown. This time there really can be no excuses – Labour in London is 19 per cent ahead in the polls – but that didn’t stop Ken making one. Complaining about his “incredible media battering,” he devoted a large part of his concession speech to attacking the press.

It’s mendacious stuff. He then adds,

One of the “smears” was presumably my story about Livingstone’s tax avoidance – which today’s Guardian describes as “ruinous” for his campaign. It’s not a smear if it’s true, Ken – which was no doubt why you could never produce those tax returns of yours. Nobody ever needs to make anything up about Livingstone; he gives us more than enough material of his own accord.

You can guarantee that the same attention will not be paid to Johnson, who will get a free ride from Kennite and the rest of the Tory-dominated press for the duration of his tenure. The fact that Johnson lost three deputy mayors in the space of a year or that he moonlights for the same paper that Gilligan writes for is neither here nor there to them because he is one of them. Kennite is apologizing for a newspaper industry that routinely interferes in the democratic process. If you were in any doubt as to what I am talking about, cast your eyes over these Sun front pages from 1992.

To claim that the media had nothing at all to do with Boris Johnson’s narrow victory is nothing short of an outright lie. Since the 1980’s, the Labour Party has had to dance to the tune of the Murdoch Press, the Rothermere Press and the Daily Telegraph.  Blair realized that in order for Labour to win in 1997, he had to suck up to the country’s right-wing newspaper barons. For him, it wasn’t that difficult a decision to schmooze such people because he came from the same place as them.  As I pointed out in a previous blog, Kennite produced at least two smear stories a day. This is what the right-wing press has been doing for decades. Just have a look at how they are covering the French Presidential Elections.

Now that Livingstone has retired from electoral politics, will that stop the smears? Probably not. In fact, Kennite may well continue to smear him. I mean, who else has he got? Without Livingstone, Kennite hasn’t got an awful lot to say beyond that… unless it’s to make the accusation that his enemies are “Islamist sympathizers”.

Elsewhere on Torygraph blogs, Hatchet-job Hodges pretends that the re-election of Johnson had nothing to do with the constant drip feed of smears,

Ken Livingstone has had a wretched campaign. Tax avoidance,  anti-Jewish slurs and tears at his own campaign script are not a fitting legacy for a man who at the height of his powers was skilfully and aggressively wielding a larger popular mandate  than any Labour politician in the land.

 These “anti-Jewish” slurs were a concoction. Yet few people, except me, seemed willing or able to challenge them. What I find so strange about Hodges is that he claims to be a member of the Labour Party but like so many other ‘modernizers’ (for that word read “Blairite”) is more than happy to put the knife into his own side and rally behind a Tory candidate.  If he is still a member of the party, perhaps Mister Ed should consider expelling him. But as we already know, the Labour Party is far more willing to expel socialists from its ranks than any turncoats who urge the public to vote Conservative.

The Leveson Inquiry may have exposed the incestuously close relationship  between the Tory-supporting press and politicians but  it has yet to demand that the industry’s playing field be levelled.  That won’t happen. Britain will continue to have a newspaper industry that sees its role, not to report the facts about candidates and their policies, but to corrupt the electoral process by orchestrating smear campaigns against those people who articulate the concerns of the disenfranchised and the least powerful in our society. The newspaper industry in this country serves no one but the interests of capital and the party (ies) that protects those interests. This is what passes for a “free press”. 

Yesterday Downing Street requested that it be given access to witness statements in the Leveson Inquiry. Nowhere Towers suspects that this is an attempt by the government to spike the guns of the inquiry and thus corrupt the process.

As long as we have a newspaper industry that is dominated by reactionary and self-serving interests, we will never have a proper democratic system and people like Kennite will always be free to spread their poison.

Neither Kennite or Hodges have talked about a single Johnson policy. Now that’s revealing. Because beyond smashing the RMT , introducing driverless tube trains and an expensive bus, he has no real policies and they know it.

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Filed under Ideologies, Journalism, London, London Mayoral election 2012, Media, Tory press, Yellow journalism

Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 41) or Still smearing on polling day

As sure as night follows day, Kennite produces a smear on polling day. While some journalists complain that Twitter is allegedly flouting the period of so-called ‘purdah’, Gilligan deems himself to be above any such considerations. Of course, we here at Nowhere Towers, have a duty to counter his smears.

Today’s blog retreads familiar ground, “Ken is a tax-evader”. But this time, it’s not Ken, it’s an alleged donor. The blog is a bit of a stretch to be honest and Gilligoon strains to make the smear fit his target.  Oddly enough, the very party he continues to support has its own massive problems with non-dom tax-evaders. This doesn’t seem to matter much to him.

The Ken Livingstone campaign’s largest individual donor is a  tax-avoiding property tycoon until recently based in Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands.

Andrew Rosenfeld gave £90,000 to Mr Livingstone’s mayoral election bid in the first quarter of this year, Labour sources say.  The amount makes him by far Mr Livingstone’s biggest single supporter. Mr Livingstone’s spokesman refused to deny the donation last night.

Presumably, Kennite was upset by the revelation that Boris Johnson’s campaign used the offices of a company that paid no tax for three years.

Lycamobile’s Canary Wharf offices have been used on at least five occasions to conduct and co-ordinate telephone canvassing sessions for the Back Boris 2012 campaign.

The latest available figures show the company did not pay any tax between 2008 and 2010, despite generating a turnover of between £47m and £88m.

The disclosure will embarrass Johnson’s campaigners, who have sought to put the issue of tax at the centre of their campaign and accused Ken Livingstone of dodging tax.

Lycamobile gave the Conservative party £136,180 in the current quarter and £40,000 in the quarter before that, making the company the Tories’ third biggest donor over this period.

Neither the Back Boris campaign nor the company has responded to requests to clarify whether the use of the offices has been declared as a donation to the Electoral Commission, or will be declared after the election. A spokesman for the Back Boris campaign said: “All donations are dealt with strictly in accordance with electoral laws.”

Kennite is clutching at straws in a last minute effort to woo voters to Emperor Windbag’s side but he’s playing to his gallery of small-minded little Englanders and racist weirdos. He whines,

If elected mayor today, Mr Livingstone will gain enormous planning powers, representing a potential conflict of interest withhis funding from Mr Rosenfeld. Air Capital invests in “distressed property” in London and elsewhere and is closely linked to Goldman Sachs’ property arm, the Goldman Sachs Whitehall Fund.

But if Bozza gets elected today, it’s more casual racism, vanity projects and no real policies that bnenefit the vast majority of Londoners. Fares will be increased year on year and no new social housing will be built. London will be a city for the rich. Kennite knows this but is unmoved.

Of course Kennite is also completely silent on the small matter of deputy mayor Kit Malthouse’s pleading with the Metropolitan Police to limit their investigations into the News Corp phone hacking scandal.  Bozza’s own silence regarding the affair and his efforts to secure financial backing for his cable car scheme are also wilfully ignored. Instead Kennite squeals that Livingstone is an “Islamist” and a baby-eater.  On this clip, Johnson refers to BBC London’s Tim Donovan’s report as “fucking bollocks”.

Not a peep about this from Kennite.

Here’s Bozza lying about fares.

Not a peep about this from Kennite.

Kennite complains that Livingstone has told lies here, here, and here but ignores the lies that repeatedly trip from Johnson’s tongue. No surprise there.

If Boris Johnson wins the election, Nowhere Towers will continue to expose Kennite for what he really is: a bitter hack with an axe to grind who bangs the drum for a man without an original idea in his empty blond head.

Finally, last December’s Press Gazette carried a story about Gilligan (and his former employer, Associated Newspapers)  facing prosecution for hacking into emails.

Journalist Andrew Gilligan is being sued for damages over allegations he obtained confidential emails for a story published in the Evening Standard four years ago.

Businessman Peter Abbey accuses Gilligan of improperly obtaining passwords to access his emails, or receiving them from someone else with unauthorised access.

Abbey is a shareholder in Complete Leisure Group, a company set up to control Sebastian Coe’s business interests after London won the bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Press Gazette also adds that,

Gilligan and Associated Newspapers have refused to hand over the emails, the writ states.

Have they got something to hide? We think so.

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Boris Johnson: the consummate postmodern politician

Yeah, I'm bored of you too, Bozza.

I think it was Frederic Jameson who once said of postmodernism “It’s a beautiful set of curtains. When you pull them back, all you see is a brick wall”. Boris Johnson is much the same: he’s concerned with the superficial; what lies beneath is of no matter or interest to him. Many people see his buffoon-ish exterior and either fail or refuse to look beyond his surface. Whichever is the case, what does that say about the postmodern voter? That they are unable to conceive of anything beyond the clowning exterior? That they are taken in by Johnson’s faux jocularity and are distracted by it? More than likely.

Boris Johnson really should be in short trousers, with a catapult jammed into his back pocket and jammy marks on his face. His tendency to treat everything as a joke and to behave like a naughty schoolboy endears him to those whose protective instincts are heightened by his appearances on television and elsewhere. But they are being misled.

The list of Johnson’s achievements is small

  1. Bendy buses and introduction of ‘new’ Routemasters
  2. Abolition of the Western Congestion Charge Zone
  3. The implementation of the so-called Cycle Superhighways
  4. The unnecessary cable car between the North Greenwich peninsula and Royal Victoria Dock
  5. The hire bike scheme

Out of these five ideas, two of them came from Ken Livingstone and the others largely came about as a result of a marriage between blatant electioneering and political vanity. On balance, Johnson has produced few ideas that have directly benefitted Londoners. The abolition of the Western Congestion Charge Zone has increased traffic levels in that area, not to mention the amount of air pollution. Smoke, mirrors and nonsense.

This election, Johnson has put forward little in the way of substantive policies. His transport manifesto, for example, looks like most of it was nicked from some of Ken’s old ideas. The manifesto also calls for a DLR extension to Bromley. The only reason why Bromley is being touted as the future terminus of a DLR branch is because much of Johnson’s support comes from boroughs like Bromley. In the early 1980’s, it was the borough that scuppered Livingstone’s Fares Fair Policy by taking the GLC to court. Londonlist also notes that “the manifesto is littered with Livingstone-bashing, most of it hanging around the theme that only Boris Johnson can “negotiate with government” to get the best deal for the capital”.

There is a serious housing shortage in London and I have heard nothing from Johnson’s camp about how he intends to tackle this most serious of issues.  House prices have increased and rents in the private sector are ridiculously expensive. The Tory-led government’s Housing Benefit cap will not ease matters, they will make things worse. As far as  I can tell, Johnson supports the benefit cap. Indeed, the attitude of this government and Tory-controlled councils like Hammersmith & Fulham, towards the housing crisis is to kickstart another property boom. But didn’t that partly lead to the current economic crisis? Didn’t the property boom also come at a cost to the rented sector?  Yes and yes.

The only reason why this election contest has become so personalized was to deflect attention away from Johnson’s dearth of ideas. This tactic was most certainly hatched in Lynton Crosby’s foetid mind.

Finally, I would like to point out that Johnson isn’t the only postmodern politician; Tony Blair and David Cameron also fit the profile. But Johnson has developed it into a fine art. When interviewers attempt to penetrate his shroud of mist and fog, he responds by talking over them and uttering nonsense. He’s all fizz and pop.  He and Crosby want to subject Londoners to another four years of the same muddleheaded thinking.  And it’s all for the sake of vanity.

Londoners deserve better.

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Who cares what Lord Sugar says?

Well, for starters, I don’t. Yesterday, the anti-Ken brigade was cock-a-hoop over Alan (Lord) Sugar’s tweet, which urged his followers not to vote for Ken Livingstone. Personally, I think Sugar, who has let the title of “Lord” go to his head, takes the word “follower” a little too seriously.  Here’s what he said,

I don’t care if Ed Miliband is backing Livingstone . I seriously suggest NO ONE votes for Livingstone in the Mayoral elections

Naturally, this made Kennite’s day.

Lord Sugar donated a total of £69,424 to Labour or to Mr Miliband’s office in 2011, including £12,576 as rcently as December. He is of course a prominent member of the Jewish community and was believed to have been extremely angry at Ken’s behaviour towards Jews.

Ken’s campaign is in crisis now.

Livingstone’s campaign is hardly in crisis. Going by those tweets that I saw on the #skylondondebate hashtag last night, I’d say Bojo the Clown’s campaign was in crisis.   What I find so dishonest about Kennite’s blog is the fact that he continues to repeat the lie that Livingstone is an anti-Semite. If he’d have said that about George Galloway, he’d find himself slapped with a libel suit so fast, his head would spin. But is Sugar really a “prominent member of the Jewish community”? If so, where is this homogenized Jewish community? It’s like talking about Trevor Phillips and saying that he represents the ‘black’ community.  There is no homogeneous Jewish community any more than there is a homogeneous black or Asian community; it exists only in the collective mind of the media. Sugar is more likely to be a prominent member of the capitalist class than anything else. He just happens to be Jewish. So what? But remember, Gilligan is the one who claimed that there was a “white establishment”. So if anyone is obsessed with ethnicity, it’s him.

What Kennite and others have missed in their haste to describe Sugar as some sort of model Labour peer is the fact that not only is this the man who gave us crappy Amstrad products, he was a firm supporter of Thatcher in the 1980’s. Thatcher also admired him as a businessman. No surprise there then.  In fact Sugar supported the Conservative Party right up until 1997 when he switched his allegiance to Nu Labour. This man is no friend of anybody’s but himself. Indeed he is the very model of buccaneer capitalism. A real bully of a man. The ideal Tory in fact.

This morning’s edition of City AM,

Did you see the way they juxtaposed the image of Ken crying at his campaign video with one of Sugar with his finger raised as if to point to someone and say “You’re fired”? Yes, it’s a cheap trick and no, it did not happen in real time but such is the nature of propaganda. City AM is supportive of the City and all the evils that flow from it. No prizes for guessing which mayoral candidate this paper supports.

If Bozza wins the election, he’ll spend most of his term preparing to oust Cameron as leader of the Tory party. He’ll also moonlight by penning numerous articles for the Telegraph and The Spectator for which he will be paid a handsome sum of money. He will continue to bullshit and bluster his way through interviews and he will offer no real policies that improve the lives of ordinary Londoners.  London will become a city for the rich (it’s heading that way now), which is just what City AM and the likes of Sugar want.

 

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Life on Gilligan’s Island (Part 40)

Today, Kennite writes,

As a convinced Ken-hater, perhaps I, like so many of my media colleagues, should be hyping up the independent mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita. She’s clearly on the left and will thus take more votes from Livingstone than from anyone else. But I object to the note of entitlement which runs through her candidacy.

Finally, at long last, some honesty. It took a while but there it is in black and white: Kennite is a “convinced Ken-hater”. Of course we all knew that he “hated” Ken. I mean, most of his blogs for the last couple of months have all been about one thing.

To adapt a phrase from Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Gilligan “detests Ken with the detestation of a thwarted lover”. How true that is.

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