Enough is enough. Labour should kick out Ken Livingstone

by David Talbot

In January 2004 a controversial member of the Labour family was readmitted to the fold. Ken Livingstone, the hitherto independent Mayor of London, had submitted his application before Labour’s NEC in order to run as the official Labour candidate in the forthcoming second London-wide ballot.

Livingstone had been expelled from party membership for five years in 2000 when, having been blocked by the party’s hierarchy from running as its official candidate for Mayor, he stood as an independent. Labour’s gerrymandering of the selection procedure, coupled with its heavy-handedness in throwing out the longstanding MP, merely resulted in Livingstone beating Labour’s official candidate into a humiliating fourth place.

Upon his return to the Labour column a jubilant Livingstone described it all as an unfortunate misunderstanding and of a marriage that had temporarily broken down. It is near long-forgotten that this fiercely independent firebrand lobbied extensively for his readmission to the party. But since then Livingstone has abused this “marriage of convenience” with the Labour party to the point where many right-minded Labourites can no longer willingly tolerant his membership of their party.

He has taken all he could from the relationship, and given scant in return. The charge sheet of abuse, varying in seriousness, is so extensive and so oft-repeated it is barely worth the bandwidth to detail further; campaigning against an official Labour candidate in 2010, admitting that he never voted Labour under Tony Blair’s leadership, whilst throwing in the customary charge that he should be tried for war crimes; his tax avoidance, his penchant for the mullahs of Tehran, telling the Reuben brothers to go “back where they came from”, likening a journalist to a concentration camp guard – even after he knew he was Jewish, his distaste for the Jewish community in general, and his patronage of Shaykh Yusuf Al Qaradaw, who denies the Holocaust, promotes female genital mutilation, and urges the throwing of homosexuals from rooftops as a punishment for their sin.

Many within Labour found him unpalatable in 2012. Some of us held our nose. Most of us now know better. Livingstone has reiterated his attack on the country’s Jewish community, telling Newsnight, as reported in the Telegraph, that as the nation has got richer so the resident Jewish population have shifted their political allegiances from Labour to Conservative.

It is difficult to know where to begin with such a crass comment. Livingstone’s bile has often been aimed at Jews who have been trying very hard to support him. He has a clear willingness to dismiss and diminish Jewish concerns in a way that he simply doesn’t for other minority groups.

Expulsion from Labour is almost too good for Livingstone. Forever the narcissist, he would welcome the exposure and notoriety. His supporters, who remain in number, would mutter of New Labour conspiracies. They may even threaten to break away and set up yet another new party of the left.

He seemingly spends his days obsessing over the London mayoralty which, if he wasn’t such a divisive and ultimately appalling figure, he would never have lost in the first place. It is no doubt galling for Livingstone to realise that Blair last won an election more recently than he did.

There often comes a time when relationships break down. Livingstone’s with Labour clearly has. Luckily, he will never hold high office again. But there comes a point when the Labour party, led by Ed Miliband, a man of Jewish descent, will have to decide whether it wants such a prominent figure persistently making such revolting remarks.

David Talbot is a political consultant


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20 Responses to “Enough is enough. Labour should kick out Ken Livingstone”

  1. John Reid says:

    I found the recent repeating of his claim Rich Jews won’t vote (for me/Labour) odd,he obviously gave a coded message saying it in 2011, as away of appealing to “some”muslim voters who he felt would like the fact,that he was at odds with the jewfish vote, same as his the Tories are riddled with gays. With him assuming that Muslims are homophobic and they’d like that too, but why has he said it now, is he preparing a political come back and again wanting an anti Jewish vote ,if there Is Such Thing ,regarding Livignstone not supporting. Us I. The 2001 election or backing the greens for the assembly in2000′ he wasn’t a Labour Party member then and he could back who he liked,

    The fact that in Sept 2010 he said in very small letters that he wanted the Labour Party candidate for Tower Hamlets mayor and Luftur Rahman,for his second choice on very big letters, or argued that labour didn’t want him to campaign for their choice,so he campaigned for someone else was unforgivable, but I accept not voting for the labour choice is within the rules,as Lord Paul,sugar, both abstained from Backing him for mayor this time, he’s given coded messages on who he wants for a tower hamlets mayor this time,I’d say wait till the NEC elections are over, the embaressing way,that he backed the Collins reforms,yet says that other people standing like Johanna Baxter, Peter Wheeler or Ellie Reeves are far right, won’t get him far, same as he said it was the Blairites fault that he lost the Mayoralty in 2012′ despite with the wait of the Labour machine behind him in 2008 he got 20,000 more votes that time than 2012’or 2004′ but the point of the way that the party tried to stop him from being the candidate in2000′ has given him enough power for him to do what he liked, even though Pabpur didn’t need him in the party for us to win in the 2001 election

    By the way, Dobson came 3rd not 4th in 2000

  2. swatantra says:

    Why? Ken is stating the bleeding obvious that: the Jewish vote can no longer be delivered on a plate to Labour, as cannot the BAME Vote or the Union Vote or the Working Class Vote. The nature of society has changed. People are becoming more selfish and not less. The sense of Community has all but disappeared. The sense of an extended family is disappearing; and so is solidarity. As people haave become more aspirational and aquisitive they want to keep their income and not share it for the common good. As Jews and BAME and Working Class income has increased they would want to hang onto as much of it as possible, hence they are moving more into the Tory fold. Its a shame. Labour seems to have been the victim of its own success, in providing opportunities for the poor and vulnerable to improve their lot, and then get kicked in the teeth. Its a funny old world.
    As for Ken being a rebel, yes he is, and will probably leave on his own accord, and join Galloway, and we don’t need to kick him out.

  3. Tafia says:

    So you think Livingstone should be expelled for refusing to bow to new Labour’s addiction to neo-liberalism and middle class politics? Use the filthy murderer Blair as a marker – if after what he has done he hasn’t been expelled then there is no reason to expel anyone. And Blair has done far more damage to Labour than a dozen Livingstones could ever do – and it’s largely irrepairable.

  4. British Jews were overwhelmingly Labour or to the left of that, and were particularly notable as stalwarts of the Communist Party, two or three generations ago.

    But today, 30 per cent of them are Tories.

    Livingstone has done nothing more than state the obvious.

  5. Dave Roberts says:

    His anti semitism and contempt for working class people have never been more evident. He is now on record as saying that when Jews make money they stop voting Labour and because the Irish Catholics are poor they keep voting Labour.

    Both communities stopped voting for him because of his contempt for them and his sucking up to Jew haters and ethnic minorities. He lost the white working class vote in outer London and the Jewish one in inner London. These were the people who supported him against Thatcher and through his two terms as mayor and they have abandoned him.

    He is a sad failure who, in retrospect achieved nothing and his struggles were unnecessary fights that he picked to boost his ego and left wing credentials. His behaviour over the last few weeks in Tower Hamlets where one week he was photographed with the Islamist backed mayor Lutfur Rahman and the next backing his Labour opponent has made him a joke and an embarrassment to even his most hard core supporters.

  6. John reid says:

    Swantantra,you do realise the Working class,vote, gave Thatcher her first victory in 70′ and that the demographics, of who is working class, meant that in 2010 , for the first time, more middle class ,than working class voted Labour,it’s also worth noting that contrary to what Livingstone said,that in 1992′ there was a larger swing towards us from the middle class, than the working class, although that may have been due to ex SDP voters coming back to is,Livingstone said in 2012 that he had the Irish and Muslim vote, but he didn’t,same as he said he had the black vote in 2008 ,only due to abor is support for immigration,found he didn’t have that too,but yes I accept as Trevor Philips said in 1999′ the Labour Party is institutionally racist as it automatically accepts that black people vote labour,

  7. Why is this piece here? It says nothing about anything that happened since 2012. If it’s prompted by anything that’s happened since, it’s not mentioned.

    I think Ken’s approach to London’s Jewish community was sometimes wrong, and disagreed with some of his statements, as I said at the time (http://www.leftfutures.org/2012/03/ken-and-the-jews/). However, he also made over a quarter of a century a massively positive contribution to London.

    All you’ve proved is that, just because there’s unlimited space in the blogosphere, it doesn’t mean you can’t waste it.

  8. Bob says:

    If any other non Labour politician had made the remarks Livingstone made and had made in the past, the Labour Party would be frothing at the mouth screaming ‘racist xenophobe’ the silence from Miliband et al is deafening. Hypocritical double standards.

  9. steve says:

    “Expulsion from Labour is almost too good for Livingstone.”

    Indeed, it would be far worse for him if he was allowed to stay. Then he would have to share the interminable misery experienced by all Labour Party members except for the unaccountable and contemptuous Westminster elite.

  10. Dave Roberts says:

    The piece is here because because it is necessary. Livingstone is a traitor to the party and the people of London. He supported the Islamist backed mayor of Tower Hamlets as you do even though he has been exposed as selling off the assets of the people of that borough to his mates for peanuts.

    You are as isolated in the party and the country as he is and thank God for that. What you are saying is that this writer shouldn’t have written the article because there is nothing here that hasn’t already been said before. You are pathetic.

  11. dave says:

    If you think that Steve at 10 18 am, go and join the Lib-Dems or the Trots. There is no place for you in Labour as there isn’t for Livingstone and Lansman.

  12. Tafia says:

    Dave, it’s pathetic to even think this is important. It is certainly of virtually no interest to the general public, it is of very little interest to the jewish community (of which I have many friends and family around Manchester), it isn’t even of all that much interest to the labour membership at large. And it would be pathetic to think it should be otherwise.

    To be frank, outside of London Ken Livingstone is of little interest to most people over anything because most of the UK couldn’t really give a toss about London regarding people who pay the prices Londoners do for things as a mark of inbreeding or some other form of genetic brain damage.

  13. Dave Roberts says:

    Tafia. I know Jewish people and he is hated by them. He gradually became the victim of his own propaganda and the Socialist Action advisers around him. He and they lost faith in the white working class and turned to the ethnic minorities and militant Islam.

    Livingstone was sold the pup that there were enough ethnic minorities in London along with gays and others that he could ignore his traditional voter base. His cheerleaders at the Guardian supported this view but wen e went to the polls with he lost, twice.

    He is one of the most unsuccessful politicians that that Labour has ever produced but the party can learn from the fiasco. There is an electorate that describes itself as white working class and feels betrayed by a party leadership that is more concerned with the rights of immigrants and ethnic minorities than its traditional base.

    Livingstone payed the price and unless there is some serious changes in party policy on the issues of immigration and race Miliband will as well.

  14. Henrik says:

    This is one of Labour’s dirtier little secrets – the further Left you go inside the party, the greater the anti-Semitism (often presented as right-on anti-Zionism) and, interestingly and incredibly, the louder the chorus of approval for Salafist Islam, with its massively tolerant and inclusive views on, you know, gays and stuff.

  15. Henrik says:

    Ah well, it would seem my comment was a touch too forthright and hence won’t be published. My apologies.

    The gist was a reflection on the irony of the Left of the Labour Party taking anti-Zionism away from the political and more towards the personal level while simultaneously celebrating and seeking common cause with Salafists.

  16. Tafia says:

    He isn’t hated by the jews around Manchester – he’s just another gobby southern git.

    that he could ignore his traditional voter base.Labour has been doing that in ever-increasing doses since the run-up to 1997.

    serious changes in party policy on the issues of immigration Unleass Labour apologises for it’s open door policy, reverses it and tells the EU that we are not going to allow unrestricted access any more and sets about undoing the damage it has caused then there is a very real chance you will not see a majority (genuine) Labour government ever again – just a continuing collection of middle class middle england series of coalitions voted in on lower and lower turnouts.

  17. John reid says:

    And don’t forget his disloyalty to Andrew Mackinstosh

  18. Dave Roberts says:

    John Reid.

    Livingstone doesn’t know the meaning of the word loyalty.

  19. Tafia says:

    @Dave Roberts. No politician does. Who was Blair loyal to? Certainly not Labour, nor the unions, nor the workers, nor even Parliament (and therefore the country)

  20. Dave Roberts says:

    Livingstone is particularly nasty with it. Does anyone know why e hasn’t been expelled?

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