Ken says he’s closing his attack website

3rd April, 2012 8:16 pm

Following Karen Buck’s post for LabourList urging a change of tone in the London Mayoral contest, Ken Livingstone has announced that he’ll be closing his attack website in an attempt to change the tone of the debate. The full statement from Livingstone is below:

“Let’s argue about who will make Londoners better off

Coverage of this campaign has gone into the stratosphere. But for all the wrong reasons. The Nick Ferrari-LBC debate covered massive ground on big issues – fares, policing, transport, cycling, the economy.

Yet the headlines are all about four-letter words in a lift, and rows about taxes. This cannot be right. There is a potential that the election debate becomes a disservice to Londoners.

This is an election campaign and we are going to have some sharp exchanges and each of the main candidates will make some robust points. We are going to criticise each other. There will differences as there are in any political campaign.

We both have dedicated attack websites. Mine – – and the Tories’

Yet there is a danger that things are now considerably out of hand. From my perspective I see a very negative personalised campaign against me. We seem to have gone beyond harsh words into a campaign that is generally more dark and negative. Almost certainly, Conservatives have a different perspective. More important than what I or Tory campaigners think is what Londoners think.

Those of us who are leading candidates in this election have a duty to the electorate to rein it in and direct it to the issues at stake for Londoners.

We must take account of Londoners – the people we are trying to talk to. We need to afford them the respect to have a decent discussion about how we address their concerns, their quality of life, the squeeze on their living standards, the future direction of their neighbourhoods and home city.

I suggest to Boris Johnson therefore that he and I work together to raise the tone and spirit of this election. Let us talk about what really matters to each and every Londoner, and end the X-Factor slug-fest.

Our campaign slogans suggest we agree about what the election should really be about – ‘Better off with Ken’ vs ‘Better off with Boris’. Let’s make the election about that – who will really make Londoners better off.

Most of us, though not the Green candidate, have said pretty strong things. I will seek to ensure that my contributions reflect the real priorities of Londoners. I propose that we all do the same.

All candidates should close their attack websites to concentrate on the positive issues for Londoners. We are closing our attack site now and call on Boris Johnson’s campaign to do the same. We are closing ours and we want to concentrate vigorously on those issues that can make Londoners better off over the next month of this campaign.

The candidates are still going to have ‘dividing lines’; we are still going to try to win the argument; we are still going to have sharp exchanges and we are no doubt going to use humour and satire to promote our arguments and criticise our opponents.

But we need as a field of candidates to take a step back. With one month to go, now is not a bad time to do that.”


Value our free and unique service?

LabourList has more readers than ever before - but we need your support. Our dedicated coverage of Labour's policies and personalities, internal debates, selections and elections relies on donations from our readers.

If you can support LabourList’s unique and free service then please click here.

To report anything from the comment section, please e-mail [email protected]
  • Winston_from_the_Ministry

    Lol, so this is the new line then? 

    Tried to fight dirty, made himself look a fool, now retreating into “hey you guys, lets just be nice to each other”.


    Too late I think.

    • Davhel52

      Dont be stupid ,Winston? Its obvious which direction you are coming from.Dirt chucking and Lies are a Conservative Norm we dont need prats like you mouthing inanities.

      • I’m afraid I agree with Winston.

        • treborc

           That’s a shock?

          • Winston_from_the_Ministry

            I believe last time Matthew and I engaged in brief conversation we were very much opposed to each other’s viewpoints. So while it shouldn’t be a shock that anyone agrees with my comments, it’s certainly not as the picture you are trying to paint.

          • I don’t remember, sorry. I’m sure I was right though 🙂

          • What’s a shock?

  • Rob

    This sounds right. I’m pretty shocked that boris, the man in charge of the police verbally abused someone in a lift today. Things have to change – there is a lot at stake in this election and the vicious media does not help. It’s no surprise to me that this happened at lbc today. Ferrari does good trade in poison

    • GuyM

      If you tell lies whilst on air you can hardly complain about being called a “f**king liar” off air afterwards.

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      What happened in a lift today was not public, and followed a 4-way interview in which Ken Livingstone apparently repeated things which were untrue, and given the amount of media attention in the last 2 weeks, should reasonably have known not to be true.

      The exchange below happened in public while Ken was Mayor in 2005:

      Finegold: Mr Livingstone, Evening Standard. How did tonight go?
      Livingstone: How awful for you. Have you thought of having treatment?
      Finegold: How did tonight go?
      Livingstone: Have you thought of having treatment?
      Finegold: Was it a good party? What does it mean for you?
      Livingstone: What did you do before? Were you a German war criminal?
      Finegold: No, I’m Jewish, I wasn’t a German war criminal and I’m actually quite offended by that. So, how did tonight go?
      Livingstone: Ah right, well you might be Jewish, but actually you are just like a concentration camp guard, you are just doing it because you are paid to, aren’t you?
      Finegold: Great, I have you on record for that. So, how was tonight?
      Livingstone: It’s nothing to do with you because your paper is a load of scumbags and reactionary bigots.
      Finegold: I’m a journalist and I’m doing my job. I’m only asking for a comment.
      Livingstone: Well, work for a paper that doesn’t have a record of supporting fascism.Of the two events, one in private with preceding antagonism, and one in public with no preceding antagonism, I know which I believe to be completely inappropriate behaviour.Ken Livingstone was responsible for London’s police at the time.There’s a large part of me that thinks that Ken Livingstone has chosen to shut down his “attack” website as he realises that he is the one with most to be attacked on.

      • derek

        And Boris the London Mayor doesn’t do multiculturalism is a multicultral capital.  

      • More anti-Labour propaganda – some things never change

        • GuyM

          How is a verbatum reporting of a conversation “propaganda”?

          Or are we to accept any outlandish thing Ken says and does without any comment?

          But then Mike anti-semitic comments don’t really bother you that much, Ken no doubt is a great chap in your opinion because he hangs out with fundamentalist Islamic scum?

      • Daniel Speight

         You do fail to mention that the exchange happened when the reporter was doorstepping Livingstone. A little more research or a little more honesty needed on your part Jaime I think. I hope it’s just the former.

        • Hugh

           There’s a third alternative: perhaps he didn’t think the Mayor of London being asked questions in the privacy of, er, the pavement outside City Hall after a reception for Chris Smith MP was sufficient provocation for Livingstone’s comments.

          • Daniel Speight

             I stand corrected on the location, it was a social event wasn’t it. mind you the Standard was going through a period where there was an intense anti-Livingstone campaign wasn’t it, so expectations of an interview were probably over-optimistic.

            Now Hugh do tell me do you think what Livingstone said should be off-limits when speaking to someone Jewish? Is it OK to say to gentile? I thought from the beginning there was a very false outrage over it.

          • Hugh

             “Now Hugh do tell me do you think what Livingstone said should be off-limits when speaking to someone Jewish?”

            An inviting prospect, but I think I’ll leave this discussion at you standing corrected.

      • treborc

         What happened in a lift today was not public, and followed a 4-way
        interview in which Ken Livingstone apparently repeated things which were
        untrue, and given the amount of media attention in the last 2 weeks,
        should reasonably have known not to be true.

        Then who made it public?

        • Dave

          The Guardian, I understand.

  • GuyM

    Alternatively you could read into it that after the anti-Jewish insults and news he’d been using the very corporate tax dodge he was so critical off, Ken has realised there is far more dirt on him than there is on Boris and as such he’s going all “positive” in the hope we all forget the whiff of anti-semitism and hypocrisy coming from his campaign.

  • Bill Lockhart

    Livingstone calling for a clean campaign…that’ll be him running scared then. Too late, old son, far too late- Londoners have had 30 years to learn the pattern of your spots. Can’t change ’em now. One last big humiliation to bow out on coming up. The verdict from history on a career of self-serving treachery, connivance and conscious dishonesty.

  • Edward. Anderson

     People who make money off Iranian Islamist Dictators which hunt down and murder Iranian Trade Unionists and Feminists, who should be are comrades in their struggles, deserves to be attacked. I advised and dragged myself up to Bradford from Shrewsbury, on my birthday, to try and stop one getting in. I can not allow the other off the hook because he is a Labour member, that would be shameful.

  • Johnthebarrister

    Unfortunately, for the London left, Boris was right, on the issue of tax, Len is just a fucking liar

    • Brumanuensis

      I agree. Bloody Len Livingstone, always making trouble for his older brother.

    • AlanGiles

      John, if you really are a lawyer, and not just another “cyber-pretend” bastion of the Establishment, was there any need to repeat the “F” word in full?

      • treborc

         If he is a lawyer thank god i do not need one.

  • Edward. Anderson

     So just so there is no doubt, if you have any sort of Labour values, any internationalism or solidarity and you live in London… Do NOT vote for Ken Livingston….
       With thanks,
          Myself and Iranian social democrats everywhere.

  • Virtually the entire discussion below is taken up with anti-Labour diatribes.

    This ‘list’ is fast becoming something of a joke, and a disservice to the Labour party

    • GuyM

      You mistake anti Ken Livingstone comments on many people’s part for anti Labour.

      Given you yourself I suspect are sympathetic to Ken’s streak of anti-semitic bile he throws out now and then, I can see why you might see Ken as the best thing since sliced bread.

      • Brumanuensis

        Guy, repeating lies about Ken being an anti-semite doesn’t make them true, no matter how many times you say them.

        • JoeDM

           What lies?

          Just Google Ken Livingstone and you’ll find the evidence.

          • treborc

            I can google Blair and it will say socialist, of course you can google life on Mars and it shows you that life, does not means it true.

          • Brumanuensis

            Give me examples of anti-semitic statements made by Ken Livingstone.

          • JS

             “Just Google … and you’ll find the evidence.”

            Oh dear. It is worrying that anybody thinks this constitutes evidence for anything.

          • Brumanuensis

            Come on Joe. The rest of us are just stupid lefties who can barely type properly. Set out your facts. Present your case here where we can know exactly what you’re referring to.

    • Daniel Speight

      I must admit I fail to see the point in having Guy commenting on LL. It seems that Mark blocked the BNP fellow a few months back. I’m not sure Guy is that much different with his ‘I hate the working class’ and ‘I hate socialists’ mantra. Apart from that he is such a …

      • AlanGiles

        He talks constantly about “class war” yet it is plain what he really means is “class hatred”.

        I honestly believe he is a fantasist (his wonderful “Management” career seems despite what he says to consist of spending all day every day on LL), his boasting is constant, but fantasist or not, his delusion of granduer is so complete that his every utterance is of questionable honesty or validity. I have no doubt he really does “hate” all the people he says he does, even if he is one of them himself.

        Like Daniel I really cannot see what purpose his constant bragging and posturing is of benefit to this site.

        • treborc

          You have to say though Guy will break up any argument or discussion on the left very easy, to easy really because labour has problems it’s self with new and Newer labour.

          But I suspect Guy is one of those people who’s task it is to stop any real theme coming on here, as labour use to do on the Tory sites.

          • AlanGiles

            He seems a very bogus character though. A man so important in his work that he never has to do any – he is always on here.  He is the first person I have ever “met” however, who used “Hyacinth Bucket” as a role model!

          • treborc

            At least she had more Political idealism, she was a Tory while her family were working class.

          • GuyM

            Plenty of work to do Alan, but working from home means a 30 second post is easily fitted in.

            No idea what Hyacinth Bucket is really, other than some character in a tv show I never watched (apart from some sport I avoid the BBC and ITV like the plague).

            As I’ve said, if posters on LL want to have a free for all on the middle classes, londoners, southerners, managers, private sector workers etc. when they see fit then you can hardly be surprised to get some back.

            Or are you suggesting that all those groups have to sit quietly when under attack and say nothing in return?

    • Roddy_Silvers

      Labour list is trying to do the right thing and have an open debate. Many of the comments here read like they were written by Lynton Crosby and Tory trolls – goes to show that if the debate is had out on who is going to improve fares, transport etc for Londoners, ken comes out on top. Boris won’t even dare debate him on these things. That is the only debate that the majority of Londoners are interested in. Now that the chicken feed website has closed I would like to hear whether all those criticising ken on this thread agree that ‘not ken again’ should close – their deafening silence on this will be an indicator of where their political affiliations lie ie not with the labour party or with the wish to see a real debate for Londoners in this election. The gauntlet has been thrown down fellow contributors – I look forward to your calls to close ‘not ken again’ which is the right step

      • Hugh

         “Now that the chicken feed website has closed I would like to hear
        whether all those criticising ken on this thread agree that ‘not ken
        again’ should close”

        No, why should it? If you profess to believe that Livingstone’s gumpf above is  sincere rather than just  more cynical politicking, then that really is simply a reflection of your political affiliation.

        On the other hand, it is clearly a matter for “real debate” whether Londoners should  elect a mayor who is a proven hypocrite and deeply dishonest. That’s why there’s a considerable number of those whose affiliations are with the Labour party (I don’t claim to be one) who don’t support him.

        • AlanGiles

          It’s a sad fact of life, Hugh, that in recent years, politics has becoe riddled with hypocrisy – but it is not just one-sided. We have Mr Cruddass begging for money with the promise of a meeting with the Prime Minister, and a chance to talk to a “policy committee” which doesn’t exist. That is something worse than hypocrisy – it is attemtping to obtain money by false pretences. Naturally the affair has come as such a shock to Mr Cameron he has set up an inquiry – an internal one (of course) so Lord Gold can act as a human vacuum cleaner to brush the dirt under the carpet.

          We had John Major, who preached back to basics and family values having a fling with the fragrant Mrs Curry.

          Let us not pretend one party has a monopoly on hypocrisy.

          • Hugh

             When Mr Cruddas or John Major stand for Mayor, let me know.

          • AlanGiles

            Risible response. The fact is hypocrisy is hypocrisy whoever is respnsible for  it. It could be argued that Cruddas committed a criminal offence by offering for money something he was unable to supply (if you accept Cameron’s word for it that there is no such thing as a “policy committe” working for him). Of course, Cruddass  resigned and no action will be taken against him, but all I am saying is don’t just preetend it is Labour politicians who can be guilty of wrong doing of any sort.

          • Hugh

            “don’t just preetend it is Labour politicians who can be guilty of wrong doing of any sort.”

            I didn’t. Clearly you think dishonesty and hypocrisy in even those associated with Cameron or his party reflect on him, so I’m struggling to see why dishonesty and hypocrisy amply demonstrated by the actual candidate in question (let alone Ken’s various associates) should be irrelevant.

            I have to confess, I’m still a little vague on exactly why alleged criminal activity by Cruddass – a Tory party fundraiser with no ties I know  of to Johnson – should mean that Livingstone’s hypocrisy and lies should be overlooked.

          • AlanGiles

            I am not: What I am saying is that Cruddass, if you believe Cameron, offered access for money to a non-existant committee, which is fraud.

            As far as I am aware KL has not done anything criminal – you may regard it is an ethical – and I wouldn’t  dispute that.

            It just seems to me you want to see faults in one party but not the other. You were not born yesterday – you know as well as I do, many more MPs LibDEm, Conservative and Labour, deserved to end up in the dock over the expenses scandal. That they didn’t is repulsive. If you have ever read what I write you will know I condemn dishonesty equally wherever it occurs, all I am saying is that before Tories condemn KL for hypocrisy, they ought to remember  that though hypocrisy is an unattractive trait it is not a criminal matter – Cruddass asked for money for saervices he could not supply: I would put it to you that IS a criminal offence.

          • Hugh

             I didn’t think to condemn Cruddas because he doesn’t seem to be remotely connected to the subject at hand. It would be like arguing that you shouldn’t condemn Boris’s comments about “watermelon smiles” because Blair once took money from Ecclestone. Curiously, I don’t remember the left – including Livingstone’s campaign – being so reticent.

            Furthermore, I’m not suggesting people shouldn’t vote for Ken because the Labour party is more cynical, hypocritical and dishonest than the others, but because Ken is. In fact, come to think of it, I’ve not even suggested that – simply that his character demonstrated in the events being discussed is relevant to the evaluation. By your reasoning, we shouldn’t ever criticise anything either candidate does or says unless we preface it with an exhaustive list of others’ misdemeanors. It’s nonsense.

          • Hugh

            Incidentally, I don’t see why we can’t pretend one party has a monopoly on hypocrisy since this discussion is predicated on pretending Ken has had a Damascene conversion to clean politics.

      • JoeDM

         “Many of the comments here read like they were written by Lynton Crosby and Tory trolls”

        Another example of the left being unable to contemplate an open discussion and dismissing any dissenting voices as ‘Tory trolls’.

  • derek

    Boris taking a good old tanking on BBC newsnight from Ken, Boris fails to aplogies over swearing incident and confirms he was a lobbyist for the reduction of the 50pence tax rate which favoured him substantially…

  • Peter Gartshore

    I would have suported Ken had he stayed an Independenmt, but now he has cosied up with the right(New Labour) I can only express disgust and wish well to any of the other candidates in defeating him(and I mean any is better than that war mongering machine-New Labour)  the idea that Ken is on the left in this context is simply ludicrous.  he is part of the most despicable right wing political Party in recent times(bring back Thatcher-at least she looked at you in the face when she purveyed her bilious diatribe)   

    • AlanGiles

      Peter, I have to say, regardless of the where or who, I think it would be much better if electred Mayors were Independents, so there wouldn’t have to be all the twoing th part line.

      Even some the “disagreements” between Johnson and Cameron and Livingstone & Blair/Brown seem somewhat staged, just to give the illusion of an independent mind at work.

      the same applies to the new Police Commissioners – if we HAVE to have them (which I strongly dispute) it would be far better if they were independent and not tied to one or other political party.


LabourList Daily Email

Everything Labour. Every weekday morning

Share with your friends