Monday, April 07, 2008

Ken Twists

Ken was on a walkabout in Islington on Saturday with "peace and anti-war campaigners", according to a Press Release. It's a slightly fascinating statement for a number of reasons, not least it's aim. I'm going to try a little deconstruction.

Firstly, then, is the opening line:

Ken Livingstone will join Tony Benn and other peace and anti-war campaigners today on a walkabout in Angel Islington.
That's an interesting expression - "peace and anti-war campaigners". Perhaps Team Livingstone can explain what the difference is between these two breeds? The simple implication is that quite a number of those campaigners aren't interested at all in peace.

The next paragraph reads:
To reinforce the need to keep the forward-looking approach that London has seen over the last eight years, Londoners for Peace activists will be highlighting the clear differences between Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson's record on war and nuclear weapons.
Ever heard of this group "Londoners for Peace"? A Google search reveals that the only sites mentioning the group are those reporting on this event. The same result comes from Yahoo and MSN. So does this group really exist or was it conveniently set up for the Mayor's outing?

Next we have:

Veteran peace campaigner Bruce Kent said:
"Ken Livingstone has worked tirelessly for community harmony and international peace. He is my first choice for Mayor."

This would be Bruce Kent formerly of CND. One wonders why Ken might be his first choice? Could it have anything to do with Ken's allowing the CND to use City Hall for free? And how about "community harmony"? Won't take long for most of you to think of at least one community in London that Ken seems to have worked tirelessly to antagonise - to the extent that he was suspended for a while because he couldn't bring himself to apologise for the offence he had caused. And international peace? Well, if you include cosying up to certain unpleasant people like Castro and Chavez.

Ken Livingstone said:
"London rejected the war in Iraq from the start and subsequent events have shown that they were right.

From the start? That would be why according to GLA commissioned poll more Londoners supported the war than opposed it? [see here pdf]

But it's the end of the statement that is the most twisted:

The war has killed hundreds of thousands of people, created a firmer basis for terrorist organisations in Iraq and made our city more of a target for terrorist attacks.
I am proud as Mayor to support the anti-war movement and to join the millions of people who demonstrated against the war in Iraq. The majority of Londoners, and every major candidate at previous elections opposed the invasion of Iraq - as do myself, Brian Paddick for the Lib Dems, and Sian Berry for the Greens. Boris Johnson enthusiastically backed the invasion of Iraq.

If Boris "enthusiastically" backed it, what did the Labour party do? Of course, Ken wasn't an MP at the time so he didn't have to vote in favour of the war but isn't it just plainly dishonest to try and portray himself as some bastion against the war when he's very happy to be the candidate of the party that took us to war?

The statement finishes:
It would be grotesque if Londoners, who oppose the Iraq war by an overwhelming majority, were to have a Mayor who supported it.
And so what about a Mayor from the Party that instigated it? The duplicity is incredibly thick here. Ken himself might be opposed to the war but he's running for the Party that started it and is still the biggest supporter of it. And he claims it would be grotesque to have Johnson as Mayor - surely it would be worse to have Labour in charge from that argument?