On loyalty, Livingstone and Lord Sugar

19th April, 2012 2:45 pm

There’s a predictable brouhaha erupting this afternoon after Lord Sugar urged his nearly two million followers not to vote for Ken Livingstone for mayor. That has predictably led to a series of people on all sides of the political divide questioning whether or not Sugar should be “kicked out of the party”. Let’s knock that one on the head right now.

Alan Sugar will not be expelled or suspended.

The reasons for this are legion (yes, unseemly and depressing as it might sound, he is a major donor to the party and that may have some impact) but the most important reason is that he has not, technically, broken any of Labour’s rules. He hasn’t either endorsed or campaigned for an alternative candidate, or run against the official candidate. And if we were to kick out every party member who has urged people not to vote for Ken, then Sugar, alas, would not be the only person expelled.

But let’s be honest (putting mitigating circumstances and outrage at party stitch ups to one side), Livingstone has flaunted the rules himself before hasn’t he? He was forgiven by the party(ish) when he returned in 2004, but bridges were burned once again when he campaigned with Lutfur Rahman in Tower Hamlets in 2010. Livingstone claimed he was campaigning for a second preference, but that felt like (politely put) bobbins. Rahman was the only real challenge to Labour and he stormed to victory.

Like Sugar, Livingstone was on the right side of the rules, but after that, making the loyalty to the party case to criticise those who criticise Ken has been a hard sell. Lord Sugar is just the latest to take advantage of that loophole.

At the heart of this whole issue though is the nature of mayoral Politics where (even more so than a general election) the candidate rather than the party is key. Inevitably that means that some in the party will fee unable to vote for the party candidate. In the years ahead with more mayors springing up we will unfortunately become increasingly familiar with that sentiment.

Yet as it’s something that we’re more likely to face in future, we should understand why it is “a bad thing” and tackle it head on. The Labour Party is a collectivist organisation. We make decisions together, we have our disagreements behind closed doors, and then we back the decision taken by the party as a whole. And let’s remember that back in 2010 Livingstone was selected comfortably by the party – and I don’t remember Lord Sugar complaining then. If we start to believe that we can select candidates as a party and then trash them if we disagree with them, then it suggests we need to take a fundamental look at what being a party – and a party member – really means.

And if we decide that we still believe in collective decision making – as I believe that we must – then all party members, including Lord Sugar AND Ken, will need to deal with that. Because the only alternative is anarchy.

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  • AlanGiles

    Lord Sugar presents one of the most boring  vacuous TV “reality” shows with his “rehearsed” spontaneous schtik, with a gaggle of AmDram kids playing at being “businessmen/women”.

    His “advice” is worth no more than anyone else’s, however much money he gives the Labour party

    • GuyM

      Hell, I agree with every word of that.

      “The Apprentice” gives business a bad name.

      • Brumanuensis

        We agree on something!

        Well, we agreed about trance music a month or so ago, but this time we agree about something business-related.

        • GuyM

          The apprentice is far far removed from business. It thrives on taking the most dysfunctional business traits, concentrating them in a few publicity seeking psychologically flawed individuals and giving them a playpen to make the world cringe at them.

          Reality tv in its essence is about control and redicule or perceived threat on contestants. The Hunger Games is a very clever bit of fiction that takes the form to extremes.

          Most of the time reality tv feeds the lower classes and not too bright members of society with victims from their own class, which is reprehensible in itself. The apprentice though does the same for supposedly more clever individuals, so at least it could be said to be spreading around the ridicule a bit more evenly.

          But like tabloid newspapers and celeb mags, so long as there are enough people in the country with such crappy taste then reality tv will always have an audience.

          • Brumanuensis

            I’m almost speechless. I scarcely disagree with a word you said there.  Could this be the start of a beautiful new friendship?

            An anecdote I once heard about Alan Sugar, from a business tutor of mine, went to the effect that in regular employment he actually
             hates firing people. Somewhat ironic if true. Also Michael O’Leary, the Ryanair boss, is a complete softy too. 

          • GuyM

            No one who is any good business wise enjoys firing people.

            It costs money, time, and goodwill and often is as much a failure of management as of the staff member concerned

          • AlanGiles

            “The apprentice is far far removed from business. It thrives on taking the most dysfunctional business traits, concentrating them in a few publicity seeking psychologically flawed individuals and giving them a playpen to make the world cringe at them.”

            Guy I never thought I would be able to say this, but I agree with you,  Churchill described TV in 1955 as “a tuppeny Punch & Judy Show”. That may have been a bit unfair at the time, but since the advent of “reality” TV I don’t think he would have even given it tuppence

    • Holly

      I watched a bit of this TV show, for the first time ever, the other week, and the three women facing the ‘Sugar Lord’ were extremely up their own importance/ability. Blaming each other for why they did badly/goodly.(if that is not a word I apologise).
      Happily I will never put myself(or my telly) through such torture again.

      As a PS….
      Personally, I would also have ‘fired’ the cocky one in the middle(long fair hair) ‘cos she was the one most ‘up herself’.

  • 2 problems with this:
    “we have our disagreements behind closed doors” sounds to me like “we make our decisions behind closed doors”.  Seems that way to me, at least.

    “Because the only alternative is anarchy.”  No: at least one other alternative would be democracy.

    • First off, Ken’s selection wasn’t behind closed doors, it was actually a lot more open, covered, fair and unanimous than most party candidate decisions. Ken and Oona campaigned all summer, it was covered by the press, and Ken carried both parts of the London Labour electorate decisively, 68% overall.
      On the anarchy point, the problem is what happens when one party operates on one standard and another on another. That there’s division in Labour about Ken isn’t a surprise, but there’s bound to be Tories (including possibly the one in No. 10) who feel the same way about Boris, but they’re keeping their divisions quiet because they know that undercutting Boris would help Ken, the greater of two evils for them by far in terms of the sort of policies they want to see implemented in London and the country at large. That’s why I can’t stand all the Tory gloating about Sugar’s comments today, it allows them to point-score and feign respect for Sugar’s “honesty and bravery” without having to give the public an equal look at any concerns they might have about Boris. Meanwhile Labour are shredding ourselves publically and handing the mayorality of a city of 8 million to a man none of us agree with the agenda of.

      •  Quite right, Elliot. Please, Labour people, shut up. He’s the candidate deal with it. It’s Eddie Izzard as the next candidate.

        Reading the opinion polls even You/Gov have conceded that if Labour turn out and vote Labour then Ken wins. His policies are more in tune with what the people want to hear in London and what the national party hopes to achieve at the next GE.

        Have people lost sight of what it is that Londoners need from this election? Cheap fares for a starter and someone in City Hall with the interests of  poorer Londoners at heart. This will not happen with Johnson at the helm for another four years, it will be a disaster.

        Political bitchfests always lose sight of what’s at stake and if you are a Labour supporter your vote should go to the Labour candidate. End of.

        • GuyM

          No his policies are more in tune with what the inner london labour supporters want to hear, not “Londoners”.

          I can assure you the majority of outer London “doughnut” voters do not want Ken’s policies at all, as has been shown in election after election where they vote for Tories.

          Middle class suburb Londoners do not “need” a candidate with interests of poor Londoners at heart, they want one who has the interests of keeping spending, taxes and crime down…. that would be Boris.

  • ThePurpleBooker

    I wish Alan Sugar or Alan Johnson became the Labour candidate in this election. Ken is too controversial, he is alot more unpopular than he was, he has too much baggage, he doesn’t think before he speaks and he is less popular than Labour (which is the party of London).
    Labour will take most of the GLA and will have the most members, Tories and Lib Dems will probably lose seats in the GLA (the Lib Dems lose all of their seats).  Ed Miliband should have used some initiative and sacked Ken as the Labour party candidate when he was caught campaigning for Lutfur Rahman, and I think Rushanara Ali, Jim Fitzpatrick and e should have really lobbied
    I want Labour to do well on May 3rd. We will do quite well in the Assembly elections, we could hold and take councils in the South (like Crawley, Reading, Southampton, Plymouth, Thurrock, Harlow, Hastings etc.) and we will have a massive challenge in Glasgow but it’s such ashame Ken Livingstone is our party’s candidate.

  • alexagiusuk

    Shock: A Jew is not keen on an anti-semite.

    • AlanGiles


      and Sugar isn’t Orthodox (in any of it’s senses)

      • Hugh

        Because only Orthodox are concerned by anti sematism?

      • An extraordinary comment. An awful lot of the people who went to the meeting between Ken and the Jewish community, and came away sorely disappointed, weren”t Orthodox either.

        Your point is?

        • derek

          And the majority supported Ken from 200 to 2008? throw a tax cut in and wow! the business community really does do the U-Turn.

          So your knitted community doesn’t want EMA, a reduction in transport fares, more jobs and an end to the dismantlement of London underground?

          • GuyM

            The business community never wanted Ken or any Labour politician Derek.

            Ken’s support does not and never has come from “business”

        • Mr Chippy

          Rob me again. I share your concern about Livingstone. I don’t think he realises what he is saying and that in my views makes it worse for an official candidate. However, my main beef is Labour’s attachment to has beens. I would have liked the party to have said. Your were Mayor, you lost an election, thank you and goodbye.

          Now real politic. Livingstone has offensive views on Jews. Johnson on Black people (pickinnies, watermelon smiles). We cannot have a ‘hierarchy’ on racist views so just say people who object to Livingstone put their cross against someone else’s name but not Johnson’s. Through elimination Livingstone and Johnson are the last two candidates standing.

          Should people who object to racism exercise a preference between these two or stop there. I would suggest Tories are less concerned about Johnson’s racism than Labour supporters about Ken’s anti-semitism so by not exercising a preference Johnson gains an advantage so anti-semitism is treated more seriously than other forms of racism. This is a real quandry. How would you advise people to exercise their preference in this scenario?

          • AlanGiles

            “This is a real quandry. How would you advise people to exercise their preference in this scenario?”

            Unusually – after 17 hours, no less, the normally verbose Mr Marchant dolesn’t seem to have an answer!

          • Mr Chippy


            I guess Rob has just been hoisted by his own petard and he both wants Livingstone to lose and have political virtue in this. Or he believes anti-semtism is the only form of racism. Sad because I had a good discussion withhim on the racial discrimination perpetuated against Palestinians by Israelis which after much cajoling he accepted took place.

            Colin (Mr Chippy)

          • AlanGiles

            Hello Colin, more than 24 hours now and he hasn’t replied. I reckon the cat has got his tongue…… perhaps Labour would have been better advised to appoint the cat as a former  party manager! 🙂

          • Mr Chippy

            So I guess he is in the influence peddling game  -sorry lobbying.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Ken appears to me to be both anti-Zionist (a perfectly respectable political position), and anti-semitic, which is not acceptable at all.  There are three well documented cases of public anti-semitism:  his treatment of the Reuben brothers, his aggressive retorts to the Jewish journalist, and his blanket characterisation of rich Jews in London.

        There are multiple instances of him also being anti-Zionist, but I won’t hold him to account for those, as they are merely matters of political opinion.

      • AlanGiles

        I’ll tell you what I mean by this. I dislike ANYBODY regardless of religion who USES that religion as a weapon when they don’t actually practice it. To clear up the point about Sugar: he used and abused everyone regardless of religion in his days as the big man of Brentwood. he insulted, threatened and verbally abused staff, suppliers, contractors, chucking his weight around (Stanley Kalms of Curry/Dixon whatever they were called back then) got the rough edge of his tongue on many occassions. Sir Stanley,as he now is, is Jewish)

        Some people are bandying the word “anti-semite” around because of Livingstone’s encounter with an Evening Standard journalist six years ago – this didn’t seem to upset the Labour party that much since they made him their candidate in both 2008 and 2012. Livingstone shouldn’t have said what he did, and should have apologized straight away. I suspect he was in drink when he made these remarks, since he had been attending a social event. This explains – BUT DOESN’T EXCUSE (I emphasize that bit so I don’t get the headbangers after me) – his distasteful behaviour BUT I very much doubt Sugar was the worse for drink during business hours when he abused other people, with his four letter-tirades.

        Robert Maxwell was somebody else who hid behind his religion when it suited him. Read Tom Bower’s biography.

        One thing I noticed back in the New Labour days, was that any young MP in a hurry joined “Labour Friends of Israel” – presumably because Blair was a prominent member.

        A couple of the 2010 intake lost no time in joining. There is a pattern to the membership of this organisation – take a look at some of the names. I have to say I do wonder about the sincereity of the motives of these people and their faux outrage over the Livingstone affair. Perhaps it ought to be a condition of membership that any MP who joints LFOI has to undergo a Bris and convert to show their true allegience?

        Judaism isn’t by any means the only religion “used” by politicians: we have old fashioned Tories who probably haven’t been near a church for years who are “uncomfortable” with women bishops, we have Roman Catholics who are so devout they pick and chose which of that religions laws they practice (tip: read Cherie Blair’s autobiography about when she and her husband stayed under the royal roof and she had “forgotten her birth control equipment”. Birth control?. Roman Catholic???

        I am sorry if this offends some readers, but if Bill and Guy can ( more than once  in this one thread alone) mention their distaste for Islam, I am sure I can mention just this once, why I dislike religion being “used” in domestic politics.

        I throw this question back to Mr Marchant and his pals: if Livingstone’s supposed “anti-semitism” is an issue in March /April 2012, why wasn’t it the major issue in 2006, when the incident occured, 2008 or 2010 when he was appointed the Mayoral candidate again?

        I get sick to death lof defending the damned Mayoral system, which I think is an expensive waste anyway, but that is another issue the true believers can get het up about.

        However, we are stuck with that system, there can only be one of two winners in this particular contest, so it is a matter of which you dislike least -Livingstone and his gaffes or Johnson and his (“watermelon smiles” and “Piccanininis”)

    • Brumanuensis

      Shock: a troll on a Labour website lying about a Labour candidate.

      • John P Reid

        so anyone who say’s that Ken is anti semetic  is a troll or a liar,and Ken hasn’t lied about tax plans and surronds himself with very Pro jewish muslim clerics

        • Brumanuensis

          Hell, I’ll give you the tax issue.

          But point me to anti-semitic statements made by Ken Livingstone.

          • Brumanuensis

            Tell you what, I’ll pre-empt by using some of the ‘examples’ Jaime mentions below, in reply to Alan.

            The Reuben brothers remark was inadvisable (i.e. ‘if they’re not happy they can always go back to Iran, etc.), but not anti-semitic. If he had said ‘Israel’ instead of ‘Iran’, the case would be stronger, but as it was the comment was merely a bit stupid, rather than bigoted.

            The conversation with Oliver Finegold was unpleasant and deeply crass, but again, not anti-semitic. Livingstone should have apologised, even before the GLA censured him. The tenor of the remarks referred to Finegold’s employment at the Evening Standard, which had been running an unrelenting anti-Livingstone campaign. This doesn’t excuse Ken’s remarks, but they weren’t directed against Finegold’s religion, but his choice of employer.

            The alleged comments about the Jewish community not voting for him because they’re rich, is a rebuttable empirical assertion. For reasons that Jonathan Freedland set out in the Guardian, it is undoubtedly an inaccurate assessment and Ken was right to publish his follow-up article in the Jewish Chronicle. It is not, however, racist to infer that the alleged economic characteristics of a group make them more or less inclined to vote a particular way. It can be mistaken though.

          • Brumanuensis

            The issue here is whether Ken is a racist or not. I don’t defend his conduct as blameless, but there is a difference between someone being a bigot and someone being insensitive. Boris has made questionable comments (‘flag-waving picaninnies’, the remarks about Papua New Guinea), but he isn’t a racist. He’s just a twit. The same has been true of Ken at times.

          • Hugh

             “merely a bit stupid, rather than bigoted.”

            Telling immigrants to go back to where they came from isn’t bigoted?

            You’re right about Finegold. It wasn’t racist. It just showed Livingstone’s intellectual poverty that the best he could come up with was a 12-year-old’s insult, and, afterwards, his arrogance in being unable to concede any mistake.

            On the last example, though, plenty of racist stereotypes are rebuttal empirical assertions – particularly false ones. It’s practically the definition. And if he doesn’t realise that  the rich jew only out for himself is one of those then he’s too stupid to be mayor.

            Finally, please bear in mind that under his leadership the GLC was famously politically correct, yet in this area Ken seems pretty careless, doesn’t he?

          • Chilbaldi

            just racist, not anti-semetic. That’s ok then.

          • JoeDM

             Ken has previous on this as everyone here knows.  Just trying to ignore it won’t make it go away.

            See : http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2005/feb/12/pressandpublishing.londonpolitics

            and  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9158948/Ken-Livingstone-accused-of-rich-Jews-remark.html

          • Brumanuensis

            Oh hello Joe. Finally decided to answer my call for evidence from a couple of weeks back did you? I dealt with your allegations below. Thank you for trying though.

        • treborc1

           John mate that’s a bit naught from an ex Police officer,  you once told me your Labour, seems you have changed your view mate

          • John P Reid

            I’m still labour, I’ll be voting for the Assembly candidate for labour on Thursday, same as I did in 2000,2004 and 2008, differnce was I voted for Ken as first choice in 2004 and 2008

    • trotters1957

      Is Ken an anti-semite or anti Israel?

      • alexagiusuk

        Not sure the argument “Ken’s not an anti-semite, he is just a racist” will do him much good.

  • charles.ward

    So Ken is not following the spirit of the party rules, just like he doesn’t follow the spirit of tax law.  At least he’s consistent!

  • Dave Hollins

    Sugar should stick to selling dodgy electronic gear, that’s what he’s good at. Unluckily for him, I suspect this intervention is in conflict with his BBC contract if not his Lab Pty membership.
    Let us remember that Ken was selected decisively in a ballot of members, anyone else could have stood against him and anyone could have voted for another candidate.
    I have always supported the Labour candidate, whoever it is. Perhaps in future I should feel able to slag off any candidate I personally disagree with, irrespective of the political outcome.  No, that’s not what a democratic party does. 
    Ken is plainly not an anti-semite but he is entitled to disagree with the policies of Israeli Governments. He has even been accused – by Tories!! – of homophobia. And there’s lots in the blogosphere about his past relationships – but as far as I know Boris is the only candidate who craps on about family values whist having an affair.
    Time for Labour to pull together, for the Sugars of this world to just shut up, and try to win the election. We’ll all regret this behaviour if Cameron and Clegg win again in 2015.

  • I like Sugar, he would have made a good “anti-Boris celeb” candidate himself, but this from him is a pain and it’s indefensible. He hasn’t endorsed Boris (a point I just put to a gloating Tory MP on Twitter) but in a two-way election that’s still a technicality

    Anyway good article, pretty much saying all the same stuff I’ve had to rant to people on LL/LU comment threads the past few days (like you said, if being anti-Ken were an expulsion offence, there’s a hell of a lot of offenders). We pick a mechanism for choosing a candidate, we choose a candidate by that mechanism, we all back the candidate, and if we’re unhappy with the party & the mechanism, we change it quietly from the inside- that’s how a party has to work. My retort on the “Ken has been disloyal to the party too” loophole in particular stays the same as what I’ve said to a few people the last few days: I don’t love Ken’s history either, but two wrongs don’t make a right, especially mid-election.

    • Brumanuensis

      Quite right Elliot. No-one within the Party is coming out of this particularly well.

    • ovaljason

      All your talk of party mechanics is fine if talking about a regular Labour candidate.  But we are not.

      Ken is the architect of his own woeful state.  It is HIS behaviour that has led to record numbers of Labour voters declaring that they simply cannot vote for him.

      You may dismiss me (a gay, life-long Labour voter who cannot vote for him because of his support for Yusuf al-Qaradawi who declares that I must be executed because of the way I was born).

      You may dismiss Lord Sugar (a rich jew, who would never vote Labour anyway).

      You may dismiss the working poor who are cannot fathom a Labour politician using a service company to enable income spreading and to avoid National Insurance Payments that fund the NHS.

      You may dismiss us all.

      But the day after voting, when the Party is raking over the coals, I guarantee that all the articles will be asking how did Labour allow such a toxic candidate to get so far.

  • I am probably not what you would call a natural Livingstone supporter. I am however a longstanding member of the Labour Party and I always support the election of those whom the Labour Party has chosen to stand in my name . Whenever I have stood as the Labour candidate , others in Labour who do not share my Labour view have always kindly assisted with my campaign.

    I believe that it should be a disciplinary offence for a Labour Party member to publicly undermine the campaign of another Labour Party member seeking elected office.

    If you don’t like the candidate you don’t have to campaign for them, you don’t even have to vote for them, but to publicly call on others not to do so is reprehensible.

    • treborc1

      Totally agree, who will this hurt most if Boris wins, Labour or Miliband, because people will be asking has Miliband got what it takes to control his party.

      Sugar should have said  long ago, I think Ken stinks and I will stand, then labour could have said ok we will support you not Ken after all money speak, but to say this now just before the election is a disgrace.

      If anyone else had said this I’m sure all hell would have broken, but money speaks

  • There are times I question why Labour people feel the need to put out crass statements that undermine the party.
    There are plenty of Labour members who are moaning about Ken’s past history but surely thats what collective decision making is designed to eradicate ?
    All this whinging is damaging the party & in the eyes of the public, we look in complete disarray.

    • ovaljason

      Yes, but this assumes the candidate behaves.

      I’m afraid it is Ken who has broken the “collective responsibility” contract.

      • Brumanuensis

        So two wrongs make a right then?

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          He’s broken it many times, so to extend your analogy, it is one wrong against multiple wrongs.  

          Campaigning for Lutfur Rahman in Tower Hamlets in 2010 less than 3 weeks after being selected as the official Labour Mayoral candidate is really taking the Party for granted.  That is completely egregious behaviour.  

          As an outsider, all I can see of Ken is that he is some form of modern parasite, who uses and abuses the Labour Party for his personal ends, and whose notions of socialism apply only to others, not to himself.

          It is surprising to me how many people in Labour still support him, not the amount of Labour people who won’t vote for him.  From my external position, his Labour supporters are being taken for a laugh.  He has no love of you – he does not like Labour very much at all, judging by his actions.  But if Labour is prepared to fund him for his campaign, and unthinking Labour voters to vote for him, he’ll take those funds and votes and run away quite happy.

          Ovaljason below puts it very well.  The day after he loses, lots of previously loyal people are going to come and and start wondering how he ever became the candidate, and the rest of us will have difficulty keeping the straight face.

          • Brumanuensis

            Ken has done more for Labour than most of his critics have. He’s been serving our movement for more than forty years and that gives him a bit more latitude than most. I don’t distinguish between multiple and single wrongs, to be honest. If you believe in loyalty, act loyally. Ken has indeed breached the members’ trust on occasions, but that doesn’t give everyone else the right to start behaving the same way. Of course he’s egotistical at times, but the work he did on the GLC and as Mayor of London was invaluable. Could we have chosen someone better for 2012? Probably. But it was Ken or Oona King and Ken was the better of the two by a mile. Next time it might be Alan Johnson, or Alan Sugar, or even David Lammy, as you suggest, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            “If you believe in loyalty, act loyally.”

            I can fully agree with you on that, but does Ken?  It would appear not, so asking for it from Labour supporters is asking a lot.

            I would not wish to be in any way crude or to dismiss your arguments lightly, but the logical flow is pretty similar to the line often given in excuse by people who are serially cheated on, or worse, abused by partners.  “He’s a rogue, but I love him”.

            We would disagree on the enduring nature of his achievements, but I can understand that as you do give him credit for those, you will naturally be more indulgent to him (“latitude”).

            As far as I can observe, he is a money-grubbing narcissist, who in his political dotage thinks he can go one more time around the dance floor with all of the lights on him. He also has many deeply unpleasant aspects to his character:  barely hidden anti-semitism, a love for authoritarian and dictatorial regimes and ideologies, as well as support for terrorists on multiple occasions, and no sense at all that the moral rules that apply to others also apply to him.  

            I am actively hoping for his defeat on May 3rd, and by a huge margin to reinforce my disgust with him.  Can we call that a “Bradford West margin”?  In reality, it will probably be close.

          • Brumanuensis

            Well, you’re onto something with the rogue archetype. But there is something to be said, at the very least, for lesser evilism, i.e. you get less evil. No-one believes Ken is perfect, but then again we are all human and frail, and you have to take your picks. In this case, it’s Ken or Boris. No alternatives. I’d vote Ken – I don’t live in London so I can’t – but if it were Ken amongst several other Labour alternatives, I’d quite possibly go elsewhere. But it isn’t, so I wouldn’t.

            Labour is a family, remember. Ken is a slightly way-ward member, but he’s still family. I apply that to people I like less too: if you wanted me to choose between Blair and Cameron, I’d choose Blair, even though I don’t particularly like the man. The point is, to borrow from Hobbes, in entering into a political party, you set aside your own preferences to a certain extent in the interests of the wider movement. I can understand why some people don’t like this approach, but as Mark Ferguson points out, the alternative is that the whole edifice falls apart. 

          • But your politics are much closer to the centre-right Toryism of Johnson, so that’s what i would expect.

          • GuyM

            The fact you think Jaime is a Tory shows how warped the left has become.

            Just to clarify Blair, Purnell and Byrne etc are not Tories, would not get anywhere in the tories and their policies were not supported by the Tories.

            If you want Labour to schism into a hard left and soft left set of parties I’m more than happy to help anyway I can, let me know.

          • Bill Lockhart

             “Ken has indeed breached the members’ trust on occasions, but that
            doesn’t give everyone else the right to start behaving the same way.”

            Actually, it does. Goose, gander; sow, reap…etc. etc..

          • Brumanuensis

            I guess torturing terrorist suspects is fine under that logic, Bill.

          • Bill Lockhart

             Silly response. Being treated by fellow members of your party with the same disdain with which you have treated them is simple reciprocity.

          • Brumanuensis

            As long as Livingstone is a member of the Labour Party, he gets our support. I don’t care what he does, as long as it’s not illegal. I don’t go round demanding reciprocity from family members.

          • Bill Lockhart

            Interesting attitude. So you “don’t care” about Hazel Blear’s expenses antics, or the rest of Labour’s many troughers who stayed out of jail, because what they did wasn’t actually illegal. They have your support. Wow. Those are utilitarian ethics alright.

          • Alan Sugar? Come on…..as a joke candidate, perhaps?

  • Brumanuensis

    It’s a bit depressing that Alan Sugar is the most high-profile businessman we can attract to the Party. He’s effectively a property magnate these days, not an entrepreneur, and therefore hardly the sort of person to use an advert for our links with the business community.

    Anyway, Ken. I like Ken, I really do. I think he’s the best candidate in the race by a country mile, but his flaws are legion and I think it’s now fair to say we needed a better candidate this time. Alan Johnson, as PurpleBooker suggests, would have done the trick. The problem was that the alternative in 2010 was Oona King. Love him or hate him, Ken has policies. Oona King had soothing mood music. I might have backed her – in my immensely influential way – but that LabourList interview she did two years ago was so disappointing, I ended up switching.

    But Ken lost the right to demand unconditional loyalty when he backed Rahman. I think his decision in 2000 was justifiable, given what a complete stitch-up the selection was, and I actually sympathise with Rahman, who’s been the victim of a smear campaign by Andrew Gilligan. The number of wild accusations made about him, you’d think he was some sort of Trojan Horse for a vast Islamist conspiracy to turn Tower Hamlets into Saudi Arabia*. Which, er, hasn’t happened as far as I can tell. But nonetheless, Ken was a fool to do that and then expect unconditional loyalty from Labour Party members. The mess he’s made of his tax affairs only compounds that.

    I do agree on the democratic centralist point. If you’re going to select someone, back him up. Say what you want – within reason -during the selection process, but don’t then go round actively undermining him afterwards. Withold support if you wish, but don’t start endorsing anyone else.

    *Oh and for those people that show up saying ‘but the PCC said the IFE backed him’. Er, yeah, they also backed the official Labour candidate whom the NEC saw fit to represent us. 

    • jaime taurosangastre candelas

      I would need to read further to see who between Andrew Gilligan and Lutfur Rahman is correct, so cannot comment on that, but a few days ago Andrew Gilligan wrote a piece in which he implies very strongly that Ken is not really supporting the Labour candidate in Spitalsfields, and that Ken has a particularly cosy relationship with Rahman.  See:  http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewgilligan/100151443/ken-livingstone-refuses-to-stump-for-labour-candidate/

      On your other point, I think David Lammy would be a very good candidate in 2016.  I’m not a member of the Labour Party, but he has impressed me enough that I would in his case do some leafleting or any other job his campaign wanted to be done.

      • Brumanuensis

        Lammy is an excellent suggestion Jaime. I think he’d be a first-rate candidate, although I have heard disparaging remarks about his skills as a minister.

        There’s no doubt Ken is cosy with Rahman, which is unsurprising given their history. I can’t comment on the rest of the article though at the moment, but I don’t trust Gilligan’s reporting on Labour politics.

        • treborc1

           Then Fine Boris for another term and labour out for what maybe even longer, because Miliband backed him and Sugar went against the leader.

    • GuyM

      The ethos of the Labour party and socialist ideology in particular is not likely to attract many “high-profile businesmen”.

      You must realise this surely?

      • Brumanuensis

        If we were a socialist pary, wouldn’t we have let the banks fail in 2007/8 in order to usher in the final crisis of capitalism and the inevitable Dictatorship of the Proletariat (TM)? 

        • trotters1957

          He thinks Labour are cultural Marxists.

          • Brumanuensis

            I think Guy believes most people who don’t share his views are Marxists, to be honest.

          • GuyM

            I think the difference between marxism, communism, maoism and socialism is simply one of the extent of damage caused and the level of authoratarian control….. socialism being to my mind merely a path on the way to those nasty failed extreme ideologies.

          • Brumanuensis

            So what about Anarchism? Libertarian-Socialism? etc.

          • GuyM

            Anarchism is for idiots at university and few others.

            Libertarianism I have a certain sympathy for to an extent, but not mixed with socialism.

            I hold to the old maxim “better dead than red” and that includes socialism.

            Hard to have socialism when many of us would never acquiesce to living under it.

          • DaveCitizen

             I guess you wouldn’t be a fan of Winston Churchill then. Closest Britain has ever come to full socialism was when it was needed to fight the 2nd WW – nationalising and centrally planning much major industry, centrally controlled food distribution and so on. Wonder if things would have run more smoothly if he’d let the free market rip?

          • GuyM

            An existential fight to the death in the middle of a world war is one thing.

            And I’d not call it socialism, more like militerisation of the nation. Everything was devoted to war and the winning of it.

            Did you see many elections during the war? How about union strikes that were accepted?

            Try it in peacetime and there’d be riots and a fleeing of capital.

            But i am more than happy to see the UK go hard core socialist,  if that’s what the electorate want, so long as those not wanting any part of it are able to leave and take their skills and capital elsewhere.

        •  Checkmate, Guy. Since when have Labour been a socialist party? We wish.

          • GuyM

            I think it still is to all intents and purposes in terms of what most of it’s members want. The problem it has is that the electorate don’t want it and in the 21st global market the skilled staff and market capital don’t want it either and could leave any “socialist state” very easily.

          • Brumanuensis

            Just like they’re flooding out of Brazil, India, China and South Africa. All with socialist or ‘communist’ governments.

          • GuyM

            Not in terms of actions, only in name.

            In terms of leaving the UK, there are plenty of opportunities in countries with similar tax rates to the UK.

            If the UK went firm left, I’d be off asap. Two years and my youngest is out of school and I am at liberty to move whereever I want.

            Both my wife and I have been offered work abroad if we wanted, once free there is no need for us to accept a high tax leftwing UK.

            So if you wouldn’t mind waiting a couple of years to start a left wing revolution I’d be grateful….. I actually have 3 at least to 2015 don’t I :), seems I’m safe.

          • Brumanuensis

            Lula was pretty left-wing, enough to earn Mandelson’s disapproval remember. Roussoff is much the same. As Krugman pointed out, the left-wing government’s in South American seemingly have a better record than the conservative ones.  


            Besides Guy, us left-wing types are devious little bastards. We’ll probably find a way of taxing you even if you go abroad. A bit like the Americans. I would say sorry, but my left-wing genetics instill a natural urge to confiscate your earnings and give them to welfare recipients in Wakefield. It’s a strange quirk of nature, but there you go.

            Is your youngest daughter going abroad to university, Guy? 

          • GuyM

            I’d likely give up UK nationality if a left wing government came in and tried to tax expats.

            Hopefully we’ll retire aborad anyway and the US is more than happy to have people live in the US if they can support themselves in retirement.

            My youngest might well go to the US for university if we can wrangle it, else I’ll likely pay all her fees upfront to ensure she doesn’t pay a percentage of earnings for years to subsidise others.

          • Brumanuensis

            Well, you’re consistent at least.

            I must confess I have an amusing picture in my head of your daughter going to university and subsequently becoming a left-wing, flowers-in-the-hair sort of young lady. Although no doubt yourself and Mrs M might not approve.

            Anyway, night-night.

          • GuyM

            If she wants to be left wing she can, her choice.

            So long as she doesn’t expect to use my wealth for her ideals it won’t be my concern.

            If she became a Labour PM who looked to introduce ex pat taxation and high levels of general tax we’d still leave the UK and leave her to it.

        • GuyM

          Nope, because you would have caused the most pain through that to people at the bottom – your core vote.

          The 20th century was one of a clash of ideology, capitalist versus communist/marxist/socialist (however you describe it). Capitalism won.

          When you can provide a viable alternative that delivers the same advances and standards of living let us all know.

          In the meantime private sector capitalism and socialism are not going to be comfortable partners anytime soon.

          • Brumanuensis

            I’m a capitalist Guy. Just not the same kind as you.

          • GuyM

            Sorry I don’t believe you can be a capitalist and socialist at the same time.

            Social democrat maybe, but not socialist.

          • Brumanuensis

            Social democracy is a form of socialism. There is ‘socialism’ with a small ‘s’ which is oriented towards a mixed-economy and ‘Socialism’, which aims at the replacement of capitalism with a new economic system.

          • GuyM

            I doubt the gang of 4 would agree with you on that.

            Socialism like many other ideologies is seen in the eyes of the beholder anyway. I see it as an ethos of theft and envy from the lower classes.

            I’d never engage with it, never vote for it, never support it, never help it and if it ever got into power in any sort of strong form I’d be off out of the UK along with all my capital (a small act, but I doubt I’d be alone).

            To be blunt I hate Socialism and socialism and all either stands for.

          • Brumanuensis

            I don’t know why you’re so twitchy, Guy. Our class is winning remember. 

            Besides, the Gang of Four made it quite clear that they favoured a mixed economy in the Limehouse Declaration.   

          • GuyM

            One class never “wins”, whilst there are socialists about they will always to redistribute income from people like myself to their core vote.

            So the fight goes on, always.

  • john problem

    The real problem is party politics.  If we had members of parliament elected in their own right – unattached to a party – then they could be fired when acting stupidly.  This is what happens in the real world.  Screw up and you get the chop.  Imagine that at Westminster!  Democracy at last, instead of once every four or five years……

  • derek

    The mayoral election isn’t about lord Sugar nor his favourite catch phrases, your hired or your fired.Sugar and spice isn’t that nice and if Sugar opposes Ken, then he must favour Boris because it’s a two horse race.Personally I would expel Sugar, he timing was to cause the utmost damage to Ken’s campaign and that’s not acceptable from a labour peer.  

    • Holly

      Personally I don’t like Sugar, but that’s not important…I also don’t have much love for either of the three main candidates either.
      The same old faces year in/year out is the problem with today’s choices, and all the previous/current baggage they have….Usually dumped on the punter over the course of their time in office.
      That is the public mood at the moment, not favouring one over the other per Se, but utterly sick of the lot of them.

      • derek

        Holly, then why not make the vote on May a referendum to continue with or abolish the mayor?Local government is something I’ve always related to. 

        • Holly

          Intend to.
          Trouble is though,…Ours is a Labour council….A long standing one at that…One of the same old faces, acquiring more & more baggage with each re-election.
          No hard feelings if you wish to call me Tory Troll(to put it politely)
          Local government is….well…Local…If you call your ‘local’ MP living somewhere else ‘local’….Lives in Blackpool I think…Just a mo…
          …Sorry I’m a lying Tory Troll…He lives in Calderdale…Which is still outside his ‘local’ area, but miles nearer than Blackpool. 
          That bit I am SURE of.

  • You’re right, and I shouldn’t dismiss those angry at Ken out of hand. I know a great many will have trouble bringing themselves to support him, and I
    – that’s Ken’s fault. But I stick to my guns that at least for me, Boris is worse, even.
    Moreover, ignoring the mechanisms and condemning candidates can be a pandora’s box: who decides what a “regular”, acceptable Labour candidate is, especially if winning selection with 68% doesn’t count? The fact that Ken’s past apostasies against the party as a rationale for not backing him now- it starts a spiral.

  • Amber Star

    Despite the vitriol from right & center, our Ken is only 6 points behind the media’s much loved, Boris.

    A 3% swing is all he needs. The centerists in the Party seem terribly afraid that he’ll win; hence the sh!t from Sugar & Tory Uncut, methinks.

    • Bill Lockhart

      I think Milband would prefer him to lose.  Then the Livingstone thorn in the Labour side will be removed at last and everything that goes wrong in London can be blamed on Johnson in the lead-up to the next general election.

    • There’s such symmetry between the anti-Ken’s and the anti-Eds one might think they’re hoping for a two birds with one stone situation.

      No chance. I think Ken will win but regardless of the outcome, Ed is becoming stronger by the day and circumstances elsewhere appear set to strengthen Ed’s position.

      • GuyM

        I’m sure if you lose Glasgow and London he’ll look very strong.

    • ThePurpleBooker

      No! We want Ken to win but we doubtful about his chances.

    • ThePurpleBooker

      Let me tell you, Ken has actually had alot of support from Blairites (even really rightwing ones)!

  • GuyM

    I continue to remain amazed that members of LL and the Labour party in general are so shocked at the anti Ken feelings in London, especially within your own party.

    Ken’s background is hard left, broken promises, dodgy islamic and marxist friends, tax hypocrisy and a complete lack of loyalty to your party which he is now getting in large amounts in return.

    You tried to block him first time around when he stood against an official candidate and ever since you’ve all collectively been too sht scared to say “boo” to him for fear he’d do so again, even when he supports candidates against official Labour nominees.

    Frankly if you lose London in a mid-term austerity Tory led government you ought to take a long hard look at yourselves for being bullied by a candidate with so many flaws that he should never have been selected in the first place.

    • derek

      I’m amazed that you drill your opinion so deep into Ken back when Ken won and built the mayoral position, heck, you probably voted Ken yourself at one point?

      There’s no doubt Boris has been helped by the new labour mob, who have had a policy of opposing Ken for sometime.

      Guy, the closes thing to a socialist party in Britain today is up North, the Scottish socialist party, even their manifesto doesn’t oppose small and medium private enterprise. They called for a freeze on council tax and an end to prescription charges and no tuition fee’s, all these things have become legislated for in today’s Scotland and Wales. 

      The question is? Is London a better place under Boris? no is the answer, so what are you going to do about it?  

      • GuyM

        I’ve never voted for Ken Livingstone and never would. I remember him from the bad old days at the GLC when I was at school. All the loony left stuff then and he hasn’t changed much.

        • derek

          You voted Steve Norris? and will you really give your vote to Boris?
          Best not to vote!!!!

          • GuyM

            Yes I voted for Steve Norris, even when not able to bring myself to vote Tory at general elections I coldn’t stand the thought of Red Ken running about London like he did ni his GLC days.

            I’ll be voting for Boris when the time comes.

      • GuyM

        And I think London is far better under Boris than under Ken, for many reasons.

        One of them on its own is enough for me to always vote against Ken, I don’t want London being a “beacon for Islam” thanks.

        • derek

          Wow! you sound like W C fields! I never voted for anybody I only voted against.

          In all honesty because you raise the religious issue, it suggests that you embrace a religious divide?

          • GuyM

            I don’t like Islam and what is represents, not one little bit and I don’t want my city to be become a “beacon” for it thanks.

          • derek

            But where will it leave London after the election? Boris has just been throwing up potential barricades all over London, division and hatred could explode?

            I’m concerned for Londoners, this election could be the tipping scale for some nasty rebounds. 

          • Bill Lockhart

             You’re correct- if Livingstone wins. Your man is the one who sees personal political advantage in sectarian divisions. Johnson may be a joke, but at least  he has the integrity not to grovel for votes at the feet of homophobic, misogynistic hate-mongers.

          • derek

            Nonsense Bill, Londoners are concerned about the cost of public transport, all different creeds and types drive London’s transport but Boris seems to have an issue with all those drivers? why? because he hates the poor and those on low income.

          • GuyM

            If you lived in london you’d find all sorts of differnig priorities on transport Derek.

            For some cost is important, but for a lot of other well paid workers (and average London wages are high) the real problem is capacity.

            A lot of commuters could put up with higher fares if it meant they could get a seat on trains and tubes etc.

            There’s even talk of differentiated pricing to get more people to travel just outside of peak rush hours.

            I always try to do just before 8am to just before 4pm in my office, for a number of reasons including avouding rush hour.

          • GuyM

            If you lived in london you’d find all sorts of differnig priorities on transport Derek.

            For some cost is important, but for a lot of other well paid workers (and average London wages are high) the real problem is capacity.

            A lot of commuters could put up with higher fares if it meant they could get a seat on trains and tubes etc.

            There’s even talk of differentiated pricing to get more people to travel just outside of peak rush hours.

            I always try to do just before 8am to just before 4pm in my office, for a number of reasons including avouding rush hour.

          • derek

            Not a sensible solution to drive the public off the roads so high earners can travel around in their rolls-royce’s more freely.

            Off peak travel fares! fair dues but look at Edinburgh, hardly anyone uses their car, it’s all bus net work and ten minutes rules, park and ride and waverley connections, capacity can only be met by more buses and tubes and less private cars causing congestion. 

            Reducing jobs on the underground in the faint hope the ghost trains will operate more effectively is stupid talk and increasing fares while salaries remain frozen will lead to more lost day’s at work which result in higher employment costs.  

          • GuyM

            Comparing a city the size of Edinburgh to one the size of London is very informative.

            Most people who commute from the outer ring in never go near buses outside the very centre of London for instance.

            Buses are generally the travel form of the poor and young in London.

            Train capacity is the concern of your average middle class middle earning professional (which if you lived in london you’d realise how they fill commuter trains).

            Cutting fares for the poor is not top of the list of worries for those cramped on trains coming in from zones 5 and 6 into the city in the morning.

          • derek

            Ah, put it’s not the size it’s the level of congestion? yes!

          • GuyM

            Cental london isnt very congested… public transport into London is.

          • AlanGiles

            “Buses are generally the travel form of the poor and young in London.”

            And they don’t matter?.

            The young and the poor usebuses to go to work on. Would you rather they all went onto JSA?

          • AlanGiles

            “Buses are generally the travel form of the poor and young in London.”

            And they don’t matter?.

            The young and the poor usebuses to go to work on. Would you rather they all went onto JSA?

          • Bill Lockhart

             I’m not sure how Livingstone’s craven appeasement of Islamists is connected to London Transport, but there you go.

          • GuyM

            Bollocks Derek, sorry but there is nothing of the sort going on in London.

            It seems you agree with the standard ploy of a lot on the left, either we all vote the way the “poor” and lower classes want or they’ll get all uppity and riot etc.

            If we took your idea to a conclusion it would mean disenfranchising all Tory voters and most of the middle class and using us all simply as a tax generation slave labour to pay for benefit claimants, ethinic minorities and muslims.

          • derek

            I think it happened pre 1997, look! hacking the youth out of employment and taken away their EMA is a hostile act that tends to boil over, all those riots that occurred during the 1980’s were a lesson for future politicians to learn from, sadly Boris hasn’t a single decent policy and has ran a campaign based on religious hatred, not to mention the sad position of governance for the 1%, that will have  a comeback, london is on the edge of another riot and Boris is cutting frontline police by 1,7oo, Boris is a danger to the peace of London and if you can’t see that then take of those blinkers.

          • GuyM

            EMA was pocket money to kids to spend on their social lives. If parents can pay for children to the age of 16 in education then they can pay to 18 as well.

            All EMA did was shift some of the responsibility for funding their own kids onto other people.

            I pay for my own children Derek, I don’t see the need to pay pocket money to other people’s kids just because they can’t or won’t do it themselves.

            If they want to riot then they can get banged up for a few years. I don’t really care.

          • derek

            Not everyone has the cash to pay for all things Guy? extra school materials are important. Forcing 800,000 16 year olds to leave school earlier because the EMA is removed isn’t something to be proud of.

            Banging up people is a big expense, should we try to avoid that?

          • GuyM

            Why should everyone have the cash to pay for everything?

            I pay for my own kids, I am not in favour of subsidising pocket money for working class parents. Their children are their responsibility not mine.

          • Tubby_Isaacs

            It wasn’t your responsibility. It was a collective one. See the difference?

          • Bill Lockhart

             Your ethanol-fuelled confusion seems to be worsening. Johnson hasn’t mentioned religion once during his campaign. Google it, if you know how:- nothing. He did annoy some Christian nutters by banning their homophobic adverts from london Transport. That’s it.
             It is *Livingstone* who has decided his best bet lies with playing the Galloway “I’m practically a Muslim” card. He did it with the Irish in the 80s. He truly has no shame. Fortunately it’s going to turn round and bite him on the arse this time.

          • derek

            Sometimes your erudite stance escapes you.Boris has ran a completely religious divided campaign and in doing so has put Londoners in danger, he ought to be ashamed of himself.

          • GuyM

            He is anti Livingstone’s pro Islamic stance, so is most of his core vote.

            I don’t want London becoming a “beacon of Islam”, I don’t want Londonistan anymore thanks.

            London, like England is Judeo-Christian, not Islamic.

          • derek

            Guy/Bill,Boris seems anti anyone that not extremely rich.

            London is probably more historically crowned to the Germanic Christian descent and will have a fair share of Greek influence. Boris used the religious tool for a political gain I’d imagine it will back fire rapidly.

          • GuyM

            You really don’t know londoners and their dislike of the islamic here

          • It very clearly isn’t. Like most of the UK it is secular with a religiousminority, but with a wider range of religions

          • Tubby_Isaacs

            Er right. So the government didn’t help end the IRA violence by talking to Sinn Fein? 

          • Bill Lockhart

             The *Government* helped. Livingstone made the Government’s job more difficult by *supporting* the IRA, not just talking to them.

  • Holly

    To some, if not many party members/supporters felt they had to say horrid stuff about ken(to put it politely)from the get go. And some, maybe many, only began doing so, after Ken tried to play the tax avoidance card, but BEFORE he ‘cleaned up’ his own affairs, so as to avoid all the horrid stuff being said of him now, by both sets of supporters/members.
    If you get my drift.

    Must go now!!! as I can see one of the cats I feed across the road, and I can’t avoid seeing it when it tries to cross…..I WILL NOT be going to it’s aid, because I would make it worse.
    I’ll let you know how it got on later 

  • Holly

    For those who care…
    Cat fine – fed & watered.for those who don’t….my apologies.

  • Pingback: Ken vs Boris - Page 2 - I don't feel 50 Forums()

  • ‘And let’s remember that back in 2010 Livingstone was selected
    comfortably by the party – and I don’t remember Lord Sugar complaining
    then. If we start to believe that we can select candidates as a party
    and then trash them if we disagree with them, then it suggests we need
    to take a fundamental look at what being a party – and a party member –
    really means.’

    That is the entire nub of the whole shrill outburst. If Sugar didn’t like it he should have kept schtum  or gave his reasons to Ken, personally. Not clever and not good.

  • Brumanuensis

    Let’s be blunt here. This dispute summarises perfectly why Labour loses more elections than it wins. The Tories are just as petty and factional as we are, but they shut up and don’t talk about their divisions. They put their heads down and concentrate on beating their opponents. Not pretty, but effective.

    Labour, on the other hand, expends huge quantities of energy knifing itself. I know we all bang on about Dan Hodges, but can anyone think of a prominent Tory blogger who writes for a left-wing newspaper and routinely slaggs off the leader of the Conservative Party? Is there a Tory equivalent of Labour Uncut, whose editor routinely bashes the Conservative Party’s policies? 

    Ok, so Tim Montgomery has his occasional outbursts, but mostly he keeps shtum and directs his fire at us. I think Ian Birrell, a former adviser to Cameron, wrote an article criticising Tory rhetoric on disability benefits, last year, but otherwise he’s fairly loyal. Anyone else? 

    This is not an appeal for LabourList to turn into Pravda, or for critics of Ken Livingstone to be expelled from the Labour Party. It is an appeal for comrades to conduct their disagreements civilly – Hopi Sen is one of my favourite Labour writers, for instance, even though I often disagree with him – and refrain from emotive language, wild speculation, factionalism and the general throwing of ammunition in the direction of our enemies. I don’t mind the fact people like Dan Hodges disagree with Ed Miliband, or think his brother should have been leader. Those are arguable propositions. I do mind that they choose to do so in a manner they know full well inflicts the most possible damage on our Party. Sod ‘In The Black Labour’ or any number of policies. Just refraining from fratricide would do wonders for our electability.

    • Brumanuensis
      • Tubby_Isaacs

        Don’t count on them not carrying on sniping. Should be 20 points ahead, Clause 4 moment, blah.

        • Brumanuensis

          They’re nothing if not predictable.

    • Daniel Speight

       Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that what’s been done to Livingstone is the rehearsal for an attempt to unseat Ed Miliband? Possibly because it’s the same faces from Labour Uncut involved?

      • AlanGiles


      • I can’t see them bringing it off though – no matter what the outcome of the mayoral election. The anti-Milibands (or Surrender Tendency, to use Owen Jones’ term) have aligned themselves with what they consider to be “sensible” Tory policies but now a tide of discredit is washing over Tory policy.

        I think this explains the switch to character assassination. As with Ken, so with Ed. Because the Surrender Tendency are without a credible policy response they’ll denounce personality traits and suggest deficiency of character. It’s their only chance but, unfortunately for them, there’s no suitable replacement.

      • Brumanuensis

        I don’t think they’d dare. Ed’s performances in the Commons have improved markedly in the last couple of months and the government is flailing a bit now. If the Locals go badly though, who knows.

  • Bill Lockhart

    Seems like Crow and the RMT want Johnson to win too.

    “Workers who maintain and upgrade lines on the Tube are to go on strike from 16:00 BST on Tuesday.”


  • Brumanuensis

    Not exactly germane to the thread, but here is how Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly reacts to appalling stories of people dying of mesothelioma.


    ‘Lower than vermin’, etc.

    • AlanGiles

      He showed unbelieveable insensitivity – again we have a very young minister who seems to know little about the real world and the problems people sadly face every day. That is the sort of idiot who should never have become an MP let alone a minister

  • AlanGiles

    Actually I frankly don’t think Sugar was as  great a businessman as he likes to think he was. He was a sort of very succesful Del-Boy.
    He started out selling cheap low-end hi-fi systems to people who thought big boxes meant better sound – in fact small components were put into outsize containers so they appealed to “the lorry driver and his wife” (his term, not mine) and the finished product looked big and sleek and was “a mugs gobful” (his term again). Sound reproduction ranged from awful to poor. He had one genuinely innovative idea in 1984/5 when he came up with the idea of an all-in-one word processor with built in printer (the PcW 8256/8512). This retailed for £400/£500 at a time when a PC cost at least £1500 excluding printer. He correctly perceived that most people (at that time) would use a computer as an enhanced typewriter. He then started his PC1512/1640 IBM compatible machines again drastically undercutting the competition.
    Then things started to go wrong: the second PC series shipped with major faults (2286/2386) and the PcW range ended up costing almost as much as a PC. The last of the line (PCW16) wasn’t even compatible with earlier PcW machines, using a different operating system (early ones based on the CP/M o.s.. which even by 1985 was outdated as DOS was  becoming the de-facto standard). Quite late into the run of the PcW Amstrad still used non-standard 3″ discs because the drives were slightly cheaper (though the disks more expensive but thats by the by)
    But then came the biggest mistake: the Emailer came along in 1990. This machine forced you to pay  each day to download emails (most of which in those days were spam) and your phone line would be tied up downloading adverts. Plus perhaps one email from a friend). To send an email cost 12 pence – this at a time when a great majority of computer owners had free email accounts. He was at least four years late. The great man was behind the times. And stayed there.
    The final days of Amstrad were saddest of all – he had virtually one customer (Sky) making set-top boxes. Nobody with even an ounce of business acumen would rely on one customer like this – especially one as ruthless as Sky, who ended up buying Amstrad plc.
    As somebody else pointed out, Sugar isn’t even an entrepeneur any longer – most of his money coming from property development with pocket money from being a TV joke.

  • JamesB

    Let’s not also forget Ken sharing a platform with Galloway during the short campaign in Poplar and Limehouse in 2010 – disgraceful

  • aracataca

    Disloyalty to the left of me. Disloyalty on the right. Just when the bastards are in complete disarray. Don’t tell me it’s 1982 all over again.

  • Bill Lockhart

     Livingstone’s hypocrisy cont.:

    “”I’ve lost a stone during this campaign, and I went for my annual
    medical last week and my doctor almost had an orgasm because I’m so
    fit,” he said.”

    Said doctor, of course , is *private*.


  • Margarita M.

    It is always possible that  Lord Sugar have less influence on party members other than fund-risers. In fact, he represent the people that should never be a Labour member, and why the party is in such bad shape. Ken may not be the perfect candidate for everyone but it is the Party candidate for this election and we should put the interes of the Party before personal views and take the streets to campaign FOR THE PARTY CANDIDATE.

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