Thursday, April 06, 2017

So farewell then, Red Ken, You were a class act once

Jonn Elledge mourns the embarrassment Ken Livingstone has become, arguing that he made a very good job of being London's mayor.

I am sad for Ken because I remember him as leader of the Greater London Council.

It's not that I thought his policies were great, but the way he conducted himself was a model for any aspiring politician.

Though this was the era in which the Sun labelled him "the most odious man in Britain", he remained unfailingly calm in interviews and was witty too.

He was a star. When he resigned his seat and fought a by-election as part of the campaign against the abolition of the GLC, I helped the Liberal candidate Steve Harris.

One Saturday the great and good of Richmond Liberals turned up to help. Their children asked if they could go on Ken's bus.

Contrast that with the Ken Livingstone of today.

It's not just that he is wrong about Hitler and Zionism - David Baddiel is good on this. It's that I have no idea what he was hoping to achieve by raising the subject in the first place. And now it has come to be an obsession that risks being all he will be remembered for

So farewell then, Red Ken, You were a class act once.

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