Read THIS article on LabourHome attacking New Statesman political editor for his DISPATCHES programme on Ken Livingstone tonight. The article makes no attempt to refute any of the serious allegations Bright made against the Mayor, but instead concentrates on giving Bright a good kicking. Typical New Labour tactics.
When the political editor of a left wing magazine writes that: "The voters of London should kick Ken out when they go to the polls in May," the Labour Party should recognise it has a big problem. If they want to continue to stick their heads in the sand they will reap the reward in May.
A simple choice for all London Voters:
Vote for Boris or vote for an alcoholic Trotskyist
Good observation Iain.
As a Labour supporter and Bloomsbury resident I can not emphasise how fed up I am with Ken Livingstone's corrupt, incompetent and wasteful regime.
The money spent on press advisors, advertising, and uncosted "community" schemes is obscene.
The key issue is that he is effectively beyound account.
Why do Londoners like myself have to continually trip over pavements and watch the roads flood every time it rains? Why are there so many rats? Why is central London so filthy? Why are pedicab drivers clogging up the roads and patently not paying tax in full view of hte police? Why are burger sellers operating with inpunity both not paying tax and absolutely in contravention of health and safety laws, whilst taxpaying legal rivals have to watch them pitch right outside their doors? Why is it impossible to walk along tottenham court road late at night without unlicensed taxi drivers beeping you?
These are the absolute basics of town management. And i have never once heard Ken Livingstone address them.
I cant wait till i get the opportunity to contribute to his manifesto. Whether any of my - obviously utopian suggestions - get beyound the concrete headed attempts at tackling climate change and venezualan traffic control is a moot point!
And your - absolutely correct - point Iain is that we in the Labour party challenge him not at all. We just snipe at those who are doing what we should be doing: holding our elected leaders to account.
If we spent as much time grilling our MP's and such like as we did defending the indefensible, we would have a party in government and london that we would be only to happy to canvass for and support.
Money from donors would be redundant. But we just let them get away with it!
Yes, I've been seeing much the same approach on the newspaper sites that have covered this, including the Evening Standard itself.
Personal attacks on the "messenger" (whom I'm sure they'd like to shoot for bringing this bad news -- from their viewpoint -- to public attention) but no attempt to tackle the issue itself was found in any of their comments either.
I think this tells the story even better than the documentary itself did.
I wasn't entirely happy with the Dispatches programme, as it showed the usual editorial tricks of cutting in between words, which always makes me suspicious that something worthwhile (but not on-message) was cut out. I wish they wouldn't do that!
Overall, though, it did bring out a lot of apparently irrefutable facts, well backed up from a wide range of sources. That is what I call "public service broadcasting"!
Andy, you're making it sound like the grassroot Labour party should go on strike!
Can't wait to see how the old soak is going to fight back on this one. The Guardain once said that Kenneth's 'purple rages' had finally begun to subside. I think that tonight they'll be back.
Must get on with C-Charge disection that I'd promised to someone or other....
Tom Daylight, 12:01:
Ha! It's about time someone in the labour movement did!
It just really P***ss me off when public/labour money gets wasted on jobs for the boys and press.
I mean, last night, watching the NFL playoffs, about 8 adverts in a row were government paid for!
There's so little money and so much to spend it on and they choose to p**s it away on adverts!
Of course that's Ken's speciality!
The truth often hurts.
Just seen this quote in one of the comments on the LabourHome article..."Amazed at the bias of Dispatches"...
They don't like it up 'em!
Many of your questions have little to do with the Mayor and much to do with local borough councils, not to mention people wanting to buy burgers or ride pedicabs etc etc. Cleaning of streets is the local boroughs' business though the Mayor is trying to get his mitts on that as well as many other issues.
The main problem is, surely, that according to the GLA Act and its latest Amendment, there is no control over the Mayor. The Assembly is nothing. It can ask the odd question, which he might or might not answer but the Mayor effectively controls the budget.
But the whole point of the position of Mayor of London is to improve the - often ill coordinated - governance of all London's boroughs.
Over and above his existing powers, he can: campaign for change; demonstrate, for example, how a central street cleaning budget would be more effective than a borough wide one; offer guidelines in best practice; help secure bulk purchase discounts; bring issues to prominence; work with the assembly to address what are they key needs of the individual boroughs and how his office can lever the provision of local services.
In seffect, he is the man we are holding to account for how London as a whole is governed, and he should be acting on our concerns.
Instead, he: dabbles in issues far beyound london; wastes the money he does have; disregards established norms of public office; and, increasingly, seems ready to support fringe and barely accountable organisations with largesse.
In short, Ken has hidden behind the excuse that the boroughs have control, whilst stealing the credit for executing policies for which massive amounts of central funding have been provided.
He is a disgrace and has no concept of what a conflict of interest is!
When probity is in doubt, you can not discuss policy. As Ken's probity is less in doubt than non-existent, we should be discussing solely how he can be removed from office and the controls of his office strengthened.
That is the only debate we can possibly have right now.
there was some VERY disturbing stuff in the documentary about a Trotskyist cell operating in collaboration with Red Ken, with the aim to the create a socialist city state of London. then there was all the missing millions dished out by the LDA to companies that didnt exist anymore.
the documentary got as close as it could to saying "corrupt slush funds" without explicitly saying so (and thus being libellous...)
but i have to say - i was VERY disturbed with it. essential viewing if you missed it this evening.
helen -> thats a bit of a cop out. with the mayor having control of an annual budget of 10 BILLION , i am sure that the right kind of person would be able to apply pressure on local councils to get those local issues sorted out.
Come on Iain. It was only in the last 20 words of the piece that Bright admitted that MOST of his polemic was against (or at least could be against) any incumbent of the job of Mayor.
I thought that, although Ken has some points to answer that is how it should be and is bound to be. As the Tories would surely want the Mayor of London has a fair amount of delegated power - i.e. freedom from the State - and naturally he uses it to the full. He is Ken Livingstone, living Legend.
The cast of pundits was 50% insane and 50% looking quoted out of context or selectively including as someone observed with ridiculous edits.
Alan Duncan, oil expert, pah! Tatchell, anything expert, pah! Millionairess Featherstone, almost crying. Atma Singh, pah! Travers and Glaister, pah!
Socialist Action? Revolutionary commies? Er, not really, sorry Martin.
Visiting the office of a company that deceased four years ago and expecting them still to be there? Absolutely ridiculous.
Way too much anecdotal nonsense in there overall.
Naturally Big Andy (Labour voter, hah!) is whining about pavements and the like which are issues for boroughs, many of them run by Cons or Lib Cons and certainly not by the Mayor.
Bright has his betes noires to coin a phrase, and is also a "client" of the ridiculous Dean "CIA" Goodson "thunk tunk" that apparently forges invoices from mosques.
This programme was almost, but not quite, as balanced and reasonable as a Michael Moore docufeature. Has Bright actually joined Gilligan in the pay of the Boris?
I'm happy to vote for Ken on his merits. I accept that others may struggle a bit with this. So at the second filter for these waverers is it Ken or Boris? Here the comparitive argument for Ken is so overwhelming that I am surprised that anyone of genuinely progressive motivation needs a second thought.
Quite why the Tories contemplate crooks (Archer), moral inadequates (Norris) and bufoons (Boris) for the London Mayor job I have no idea. But long may they do so!
Maybe if he was offered some more newts, free of charge, he'd go.
The last time Ken and his advisors would have openly admitted to being Troskyist, it was about the same time that Tony Blair was writing that letter to Michael Foot.
I'm not sure any of these people really believe anything at all. They just spout whatever nonsense they think will appeal to those who ensure their access to power.
The plonkers can't even spell.
Yep, their meant to be on our side.
Education, education, education.
Big Andy, you sound like a Labour supporter I can respect, if not necessarily agree with re policy issues.
Similarly, if Livingstone tried to honestly put into practice Socialist ideas, I would probably not agree with the methods but would take a serious look at the outcomes.
Unfortunately, he is a thoroughly nasty old Trot.
Usual and entirely predictable ad hominem bollocks from some of the usual suspects here. Maybe one might take more notice of their views if they actually set about putting up decent refutation. In the meantime I regard their comments as a NuLab tinnitus, constantly whining away but actually not relevant to reality.
Put up or shut up, you morons. Let's have your views on the Lee Jasper sagas, the workings of the LDA, and the Trotskyite cabals at the centre of all this.
What have they done to better the lives of those living and working in London? Made the buses run on time? The Mussolini Effect, then. Perhaps they'll meet the same end. We can all live in hope. In the meantime I'm starting a campaign to increase the numbers of lamposts in and around the Tower Bridge area.
I think Bright's credibility as an investigative journalist is deeply in question - not because of this documentary, but for the awful "Unity Mitford had a child with Hitler" allegations he espoused on another C4 documentary just before Christmas. The evidence he used was spurious and circumstantial in the extreme. I say this not as a fan or Ken or as a Labour supporter. In fact I am a Lib Dem.
The second line of the article tells you all you need to know:
"Today the New Statesman's political editor has used a
column in the Evening Standard to call on voters to kick Labour's London Mayor out of office."
Surely that should be "London's Labour Mayor"?
A subtle but telling difference.
Tribal Party politics at its worst.
chris paul 1:37am said
Visiting the office of a company that deceased four years ago and expecting them still to be there? Absolutely ridiculous.
And taking the dosh just before they went is that OK then?
As I was saying on my blog this morning, Livingstone is totally unable to deny what's being said about him in the newspapers and TV programmes so he's just stomping his feet.
Come on Boris.
Lakelander: Or vote Paddick and give your second preference to one of the two joker candidates (Boris has my 2nd pref)
At least Boris wears his own hair!
Rex said January 22, 2008 10:00 AM...
chris paul 1:37am said
"Visiting the office of a company that deceased four years ago and expecting them still to be there? Absolutely ridiculous."
And taking the dosh just before they went is that OK then?
Not especially good news. But it must be said voluntary sector and private bodies, particularly start ups do go bust from time to time.
£1.8M over four years (2003,4,5,6) sounds like a moderate % of the total grants and contracts given in the period.
If you look round the country I think you could find instances of administrations, receiverships, struck offs and ceased tradings from orgs who have had grants.
Bright implied malfeasance. He gave no context or balance.
He didn't say for example:
This represents 1% of the grant turnover in the period and is in fact a lower % than several of the RDAs in other regions.
Or if it were higher he could have said so.
This was like Michael Moore on vitriol. Recycled old hats. Plus a miserable selection of axe grinders, miseries and whackos.
Going back to the point Rex picks out from my initial comment. What possible justification is there for going to an address of a four-year deceased company and expecting them to be there or a relatively new resident/passer by to have heard of them? This was BIG BAD PANTS.
PS Trotskyist cell? Give me a break. Walter Wolfgang, CND and Labour peace activist was among those in the list that the ever selective Bright didn't mention. And the information ... came from disillusioned ex-employees and former comrades. Hardly worth the paper it wasn't written on that sort of testimony. Oh, apart from the "Those Present" list for one meeting.
Pitiful. Next Bright will be outing Boris and Dave for going to Young Farmers' events.
I don't disagree with you on the question of Livingstone's behaviour or probity. But giving him (or any Mayor) more power over the boroughs without any kind of control is not the answer. Some people have been saying this for a while and it is good to see the story in the main stream media at last, especially as those who don't like it can come up with little better than personal attacks (a very Livingstonian method) or silly comments like start-ups do sometimes go bust. An organization that receives money from the state in whatever form is not a business in the real sense of the word and none of these start-ups ever did anything except take money.
What’s more depressing; the antics of Ken, or those of the NooLabor trolls and fellow-travellers posting in this thread who are seeking to defend the indefensible?
Perhaps more worrying Ken Clarke appears to have jumped ship - have a look at the imprint!
Maybe this explains why he won't take a front bench job...
London is one of the Regions - of the Britain of the Nations and the Regions - and the exemplar of the way the New Labour project has been setting up a European Union-style regional administration throughout the United Kingdom. There was no intention that the Assembly should have any powers to control the Executive mayor, but there was no expectation that Labour would not have its nominee in power. Bit like Scotland, really.
I wonder if Chris Paul would also dismiss Nick Coen whose criticism of Ken has been if anything more devastating. The programme did not actually deal much with the most damaging issue much which is the misuse of the Development funds.
I think the arrogant gangsterism of City Hall were pretty clear though and The Labour Party are making a mistake if they do not aquire some distance from this anachronistic monster. But isn`t that exactly what they are doing ?
You have to remember that Bright knows far more than he dare say and he is very close to Gordon Brown indeed.
PS I have been blocked from Labour Home ...typical. Why are they always so humourless....
in fact a lower % than several of the RDAs in other regions.
These are themselves subject of a growing outcry folowing Normnan Baker`s exposure if their intergalactic waste and corruption. No worse than them is not a good plea.
The subject of the programme was all well known before anway. The main point is the direction from which it comes and why should it suprise us ? Ken is there despite the Labour Party when Chris Paul was no doubt telling all and sundry what a dreadful unreformed hard left totalitarian loon he is.
Right first time Chris.? Admit it
chris paul 10:31
Then why didn't they file accounts?
Sorry to say that your Ken Livingstone approach just doesn't wash. When it comes to scrutiny you just try to gloss over it as a minor detail. Ah well but! Diversionary tactics!
Face up to reality chris paul your man has been caught at last!
I watched the Dispatches programme, and was so wanting to see Livingstone pinned to the wall by serious evidence that would have him tied up in courts, tribunals and investigations. At the end of it I simply wanted my hour back. I felt misled by the pre-publicity, and let down by the quality of the journalism.
All the claims were familiar and predictable, and largely trivial and impossible to stand up in court. I thought that they failed to lay a single, substantial punch on him. The dreadful witnesses merely acknowledged that he was skilfully playing the inept system that had been put in place, and who can blame him for that. The effect will almost certainly be counter-productive.
The programme simply reinforced Livingstone's carefully-honed image as a bit of a lad, his own man, doesn't suffer fools, playing the system, looking after his mates, likes a drink, thumbing his nose at authority, working for Lahndahn - all the old 'loveable Ken' bollocks.
I really wanted to see him hanging from a metaphorical gibbet at 9o/c, but sadly no. What a feebly missed opportunity. If that's really the best that anyone can pin on him, I'm resigned to him winning a third disastrous term. I thank all the gods that I don't live in London any longer, and seldom have the need to visit.
Re the Livinstone allegations - plus ca change. He and his coterie were as rotten in the 70s and 8-s when London Labour politics descended into thuggery.
But it may also be somthing to do with kayoprs. Take a look at the article on Guiliani in today's Huffington Post and you wll see that the heroes of the right are just as bad as those of the left. Must be something in the water, or what passes for water.
Marton Broght has done us a service, which is more than can be said for the spineless members of the GLA.
I don't think it matters whether the programme's allegations are true. What came across with full force, particularly in the footage of the GLA meetings, is what a thoroughly nasty man Livingstone is. Anyone who behaves likes that to other elected representatives is not fit to hold any office, never mind one that controls such a huge amount of taxpayers' money. That and his alcohol problem are what people will remember.
Nick Cohen has also been subjected to the same personal attacks some of them seemingly anti-semitic even though he is not Jewish..
Chris Paul - didn't Bright mention the number of 'businesses' that went kaput very shortly after getting their money from the LDA. Oh yes, and not filing accounts at all.
Why does the Mayor require overseas embassies?
Why is a poor S American dictatorship giving London money?
Why is the Mayor proud to have dealings with Islamic extremists (I'm not a Zionist)?
Perhaps someone should add some questions about Martin Bright's own political stance - anti Labour Party (yes read what he has being saying about Brown in recent weeks), anti Socialist Action (or anyother IMG spin offs). I wonder if he was an SWP supporter in his youth?
Bright is a Judas. The only good thing about his outrageous slurs is that they highlight what a big man Ken is in comparison. Ken has always backed his colleagues on the left to the hilt and throughout his entire career has strained ever sinew in his body to ensure one thing and one thing only: victory for the Labour Party. That level of loyalty is found only in very special people, and Bright isn't one of them!
Surely this is a more interesting story, Iain?
I know this isn't the place to plug myself, but in case anybody missed the programme last night I have done a write-up here:
You can view the programme on 4OD for about a week or so I think.
Well worth watching.
Ahh deep joy.
Brings back memories of that fateful evening/night when Red Ken and his Trot mates staged the coup d'etat which deposed Mackintosh, the man who had actually stood and whom Londoners had voted for.
That next morning was a revelation for many, especially poor old Mackintosh.
The leopard does not change his spots; what we are now seeing is an arrogant Ken who thinks he is bullet and bomb proof and a shoo-in for this years elections.
He must be disabused of this notion. Those in receipt of his largesse, or through Jasper, need to be audited to see what promises were made, if any, re vote rigging.
How dare the left talk back. Don't they know their place.
20 Marly Lights please, and get me a Mars bar while your're at it.
I love the accusations on Labourhome of bias against Livingstone! I think they may be confusing bias with telling an inconvenient truth...
My God poor old Ken must have you all RATTLED, as Andy Caulson likes you all to say.
Note how the Major debate has gone from praising Bozzer to Ken bashing.
Ken will win, I know it you know it. No one is daft enough to give Boz the baffoon the reigns to London. As Tory Alan Duncan described on Despatches last night “London the worlds greatest capital”. Indeed Alan Indeed.
Even though posters here like saying the word, it's a mystery what, for the last eight years, Ken and his "Trotskyist" mates have done that is very Trot. Even if you accept claims around corruption and incompetence, that's not the same as being Trotskyite. If there is a secret revolutionary cell with handshakes and codenames, they aren't doing very well at making revolution.
Dave Osler is interesting on the entire mess.
Londoners have only themselves to blame. They voted overwhelmingly for a deeply unpleasant spiv whose character and track record were no secret. Now they're stuck with him. Serves them right.
Look at the comments here on Martin Bright's blog:
All those spin doctors Ken's marketing millions have bought appear to be logged on to Bright's blog and commenting away as fast as they can.
Wonder if they're on piece rate?
If it is OK to says Kne is a drinker is it OK to says Boris is womaniser and a man who killed his own child by abortion.
I gather they're having newt loving Ken wearing a monacle and stroking a white cat, menacingly.
You Tories should just give up and retire as a party that no-one wants anymore.
Mutley, are you sure Nick Cohen isn't Jewish. I know he is a secular humanist but I'm pretty sure his family is Jewish. So he's obviously not religiously Jewish but ethnically I think he probably is. It really shouldn't matter though.
Well chris paul and all you other Livingstone cronies what have you got to say now that one of Kens advisers has been caught with her snout in the trough and has resigned?
The silence is deafening!
It's enough to make you turn to drink
Well, that's Ken's excuse...
Does anyone think either Ken or Boris are fit for the office?
Perhaps Kens supporters haven't read it yet so here it is:-
One down more to go!
The last two posts have been the London mayorial election and the constitution's unfair treatment of the English. Getting a bit Westminster Village-centric here Iain - this is the week Gordon's chickens came home to roost on the economy. That's the big story. And if you want the narrow political angle on what the Times today rightly called Gordon's Black Wednesday, how poor of George Osborne that with all the parliamentary advantages handed to the spokesman of the official opposition, Vince Cable is the highest profile opposition economic spokesman.
Ha ha ha ha! Labour are now so desperately unpopular that their only hope is to ask the Tories to disband! There certainly is a political party no-one wants anymore mate, but it aint the Tories!
Well well well old Ken has got all the Tories in a bit of tizzy today. Is this the start of the Tory fight back. Still very few Boris backers I see, all ganging up on old on Kenneth…worried. are you
I saw old Boz on C4 this evening, new hair cut and claiming a new faith in alcohol prohibition, going on the wagon for major. Very foolish claim, all the paps will be waiting for bozzer to take a sip and bosh.
Ken having a wee sip of whiskey at a meeting has got all the self righteous bigots going barmy …how amusing. I wonder is Cambo still off the fags..oh dear have I said something.
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