Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify

Ken Livingstone today sought to re-focus the London Mayoral race back onto policy as the campaign entered the final three weeks, reports Shamik Das.

E-mail-sign-up Donate

 

.

Ken Livingstone today sought to re-focus the London Mayoral race back onto policy as the campaign entered the final three weeks, with opponents stepping up their attacks on the authenticity both of Labour’s party election broadcast this week and Livingstone’s tears at its unveiling.

Ken-Livingstone-party-election-broadcast-screeningThe Evening Standard, Guido Fawkes and Labour Uncut have all reported claims this morning that the people in the broadcast were all actors, reading from prepared scripts, not genuine Londoners, and that Livingstone’s tears were contrived.

The allegations have all been denied, with the Livingstone campaign team insisting they were genuine supporters recruited by an advertising agency.

A spokeswoman for the campaign told the Guardian:

“Everyone who appears in Labour’s party political broadcast are ordinary Londoners who are backing Ken on 3 May. No actors were used in the broadcast.”

While Matthew Charlton, CEO of BETC London – the agency that produced the PEB – told LabourList suggestions the supporters in the broadcast were fakes was a “disgrace”, and those claiming thus were “trying to diminish the voice of the ordinary people”.

He said:

“For anybody to claim that the people featured in the Ken Livingstone broadcast are not valid voices in the debate is nothing short of a disgrace. The reason the film works is because it actually represents real truth. These are not actors but peoples’ mums and dads, brothers and sisters. People who never have a voice but on Wednesday night for 3 minutes did.

“Those who aim to diminish this through picking apart the process of making it are, I am afraid, trying to diminish the voice of the ordinary people.

“When Patricia, the old lady in the film, thanks Ken for the free bus pass, she does it because she really means it. It’s just simple truth. Does anyone really think that she is not speaking from the heart or that she doesn’t deserve to be heard for once in her life on prime time on the BBC??

“I for one find her more compelling and emotional viewing than anything else I have seen throughout the election and am not prepared to sit back back and allow her voice to be diminished or devalued.”

Watch the video:

 


See also:

Boris and Ken clash over tax dodge claims 3 Apr 2012

Ken vows to “ease the squeeze”, saying Boris has “betrayed” Londoners 14 Mar 2012

Pound for Pound, you’re better off with Ken 13 Mar 2012

Boris’s 9-point plan is a bridge to nowhere 5 Mar 2012

Ken fights to save EMA while Boris fights to save top-rate taxpayers 1 Mar 2012


 

Elsewhere today, on policy, Livinstone launched his LGBT manifesto (pdf), ahead of tomorrow’s Stonewall Mayoral hustings, and the day after anti-gay London bus adverts – from religious fundamentalists – were axed.

If elected, Livingstone pledged to:

• Continue to support Pride celebrations across the capital and support World Pride coming to London this year;

• Put the Greater London Authority back into the Stonewall Employers’ Index;

• Appoint an LGBT adviser;

• Re-establish the Pride annual reception at City Hall;

Operate a zero tolerance approach to homophobic and transphobic hate crime and prioritise work with the Met to improve awareness, training and
responses among police officers;

• Oppose cuts to LGBT organisations imposed by the Tory-led government; and

Overhaul TfL’s advertising standards so that we never again have the scandal of homophobic advertising on buses being approved.

He contrasted his plans with the charge sheet against Boris Johnson, under whose tenure:

• Pride is no longer celebrated in City Hall with an annual civic reception;

• The GLA was withdrawn from the Stonewall Equality Index;

Funding was removed from Soho Pride;

• The Tory government weakened the Equality Act.

Livingstone said:

“With a Conservative agenda at Westminster there is much work to do to deliver equality and protect the standard of living of LGB&T Londoners. I will do everything I can to defend Londoners against spending cuts and to develop an alternative…

I want London to be a world leader on equality – and proud of its work with its lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans citizens. I stand on my plans to champion of equality – if you elect me you can be sure that I will champion LGB&T equality and work closely with the community to oppose cuts, celebrate equality and difference and ensure Londoners are free to live the lives they choose.”

As Owen Jones wrote in today’s Independent, on equality, the records of Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson and plain for all to see:

Some of the smears thrown at Ken have veered between the ridiculous and the offensive. The award for chutzpah has to go to Tories who have accused him of homophobia. Ken may be straight, but he is Britain’s equivalent of another local government campaigner for gay rights, 1970s US politician Harvey Milk.

When Ken made the case for gay rights as leader of the Greater London Council in the early 1980s, he was courageous indeed: at the time, two-thirds of the population thought homosexuality was wrong. The Tories went on to introduce Section 28, deliberately dipping into the deep well of homophobia.

Surreal for a gay man like myself to imagine that, just a generation ago, we were widely regarded as perverts: it is a sea change in attitudes down to gay rights pioneers like Ken.

Contrast to Boris Johnson, who lauded Section 28 on the basis that “we don’t want our children being taught some rubbish about homosexual marriage being the same as normal marriage”, referred to “pulpit poofs” in the Church, and suggested that if two men could tie the knot, why not “three men and a dog”? Not that anyone is scrutinising such bigotry: it’s just Boris being Boris, it’s just his clownish manner.

It’s presumably for the same reasons that so few journalists mention his slights against black people: all that talk of “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”, or slamming the Macpherson Inquiry into the Stephen Lawrence case for “hysteria”.

If the campaign focuses on policy, expect Livingstone to be in with a fighting chance – in other words, expect his opponents within and without to focus on anything but, as the campaign gets ever more vicious, the attacks ever more negative, as May 3rd draws ever near.

 


Sign-up to our weekly email • Donate to Left Foot Forward

66 Responses to “Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify”

  1. Dan Hodges

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  2. Dan Hodges

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  3. Dan Hodges

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  4. Dan Hodges

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  5. etonmess

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  6. etonmess

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  7. etonmess

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  8. etonmess

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  9. Shamik Das

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  10. Shamik Das

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  11. Shamik Das

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  12. Shamik Das

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  13. Tim Casey

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  14. Tim Casey

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  15. Tim Casey

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  16. Tim Casey

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  17. Tom Sadler

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  18. Tom Sadler

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  19. Tom Sadler

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  20. Tom Sadler

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  21. Mark P. Bocker

    RT @leftfootfwd Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, report @ShamikDas: http://t.co/XzQyEKhi

  22. Mark P. Bocker

    RT @leftfootfwd Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, report @ShamikDas: http://t.co/XzQyEKhi

  23. Mark P. Bocker

    RT @leftfootfwd Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, report @ShamikDas: http://t.co/XzQyEKhi

  24. Mark P. Bocker

    RT @leftfootfwd Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, report @ShamikDas: http://t.co/XzQyEKhi

  25. Michael H.

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  26. Michael H.

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  27. Michael H.

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  28. Michael H.

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  29. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks… http://t.co/9U4ThF3E

  30. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks… http://t.co/9U4ThF3E

  31. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks… http://t.co/9U4ThF3E

  32. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks… http://t.co/9U4ThF3E

  33. Tom Sadler

    Good stuff Shamik, some shameful behaviour from both without AND within today, lets hope we can move this back to the real issues rather than playground politics

  34. Selohesra

    The denial only goes as far as to say they were not actors – what about the UK Uncut charge that the responses were scripted? – if true that rather counters his crocodile tears.

    At the end of the day Ken has revealed himself as a hypocrit for using the same tax planning rules as he condems others for as well as cosying up to known anti-semites and homophobes

    The man is a disgrace and should have been dropped by labour ages ago to let a credible candidate stand in his place

  35. Still Supporting Labour

    They’ve admitted they were given a script.

    They’ve admitted that they were paid “for their time”. As people who do a job are.

    So, in what sense weren’t they actors?

    Do you mean that they weren’t members of Equity? That they were scab actors?

  36. Tristram Wyatt

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  37. Tristram Wyatt

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  38. Tom Sadler

    This is the place where this campaign has got to. London is a city of 7-8 million people and instead of talking about issues like housing, transport, crime in a time of massive economic recession we’ve ALL sunken into pointless mudslinging about whether or not his party election broadcast used scripts. In a PEB costing large amounts of money, its not incredible to think that to save time, actual Labour supporters were given scripts and had their bus fares paid-where’s the controversy in that?

    And yes, Ken can be a fool, but he is a human. He frustrates me as much as anybody else. But this strange notion that our politicians CANNOT do anything wrong is retarding the whole political process. I don’t want someone who has never put a foot wrong in anything he’s done, I want someone with a proven track record as a damn good Mayor of London. I think we both know which of the candidates that is.

    And to Selohesra-Yes, Ken has made some poor judgements in who he has affiliated with politically, but at least he hasn’t made both racist and homophobic remarks himself. Boris with his black people as ‘piccanninies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’ and if gay people can get married why not ‘three men and a dog’. But we can forget about that because it’s just Boris being Boris, with his foppish hair and his stupid grin.

  39. Ed's Talking Balls

    To be honest, whatever ground he chooses to fight on, he’s surely doomed. Hopeless has-been.

  40. John Nor

    Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify, reports @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wHWaySfL

  41. Anonymous

    Agree,

    -We need an explanation of how Ken’s income for 2008 was £20,000 yesterday and then jumped to £60,000 to-day.

    -We need to know why Ken thinks his marginal tax rate should be lower than a cleaner at City Hall.

    -We need to know why Ken is promising to re-introduce EMA’s when he has no authority to do so and colleges and uni’s say there’s no money left.

    -We need to know where the money for the fares cuts are coming from since TFL has confirmed that all existing funds are committed to Crossrail & tube upgrades.

    -We need to know where the money for extra police officers is coming from as Ken has pledged to freeze council tax for the next 4 years.

  42. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: Livingstone looks to shift focus back to policy as “disgraceful” attacks intensify http://t.co/89zXSllg

  43. Anonymous

    Where can I sign up to get the money to pretend to be a Labour supporter?

  44. Anonymous

    What’s playground politics about not paying tax and demanding that other people pay more than you?

    What’s playground about paying people to say they support you?

    Not much difference than paying an MP to ask questions.

  45. Tom Sadler

    I’m not denying that Ken has been more than stupid, but I don’t believe he has vast amounts of wealth stored up that he’s hiding from the taxpayer.

    But if we look at Boris he has stated publicly that a year of his time as Mayor was spent lobbying his friend, the Chancellor, George Osborne on cutting the top rate of tax. He was whispering in the ear of a man he went to school with, to university with, was in the same elite dining club with, on cutting a tax that will save tax for both of them, and I imagine the rest of the Bullingdon club too.

    I don’t know which you find to be worse, but I know which one I do.

    But of course, that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that we have a clique of ‘Old Boys’ in power, cutting taxes for them and their friends whilst slashing away at the social fabric of this country. I tell you what, lets all slag off Ken and forget about it, and let him waltz back in.

    And do you honestly believe its no worse than Cash for Questions? You think paying someone’s bus fare to get to a filming of a PEB is worse than paying thousands of pounds to elected officials to influence government policy? What planet are you living on?

  46. Anonymous

    Depends on how you define wealth. 200K in cash is pretty wealthy compared to most people in the UK.

    50% of the Uk population has less than 5K in savings. Having 200K in cash, plus pensions, plus other assets is vast wealth in comparison to most. Pretty awful as those with less than 5K have been forced to pay Ken to accumulate his wealth.

    Paying bus fares. OK, who do we ask what these actors were paid? Are they members of an acting union? Were they paid the going rate or were they scabs?

    I’m not quite sure what your argument is over Cash for Questions. It’s seems to be the Yorkshire ripper defense. You can’t prosecute me said Peter Sutcliffe, because you haven’t caught Jack the Ripper.

    Has it occurred to you that they are all scum?

  47. Tom Sadler

    No, my argument over Cash for Questions is quite simple. I personally think paying somebody’s bus fare so they can get to a studio to film a PEB isn’t quite as bad as heads of industry, business and finance paying astronomical sums of money to influence government policy. Do you honestly see no distinction?

    I think we need to hear at some point from the people in the broadcast. For my money, it would seem to me fairly simple. They got people who expressed a support for Labour to come to a filming of a PEB for Ken. They said we’ll pay your bus fares. And also, because not everyone is used to filming, we won’t have you stumble and stutter over what you say, we will give you a script of things to say. If you don’t want to say them, don’t, after all we only paid your BUS FARES.

    And yes, £200,000 is a lot of money. Nobody can deny that. But he is Ken Livingstone, Mayor for two terms, as much of a celebrity as you can get in political circles and I’m not surprised he earns a lot. But if we look at the tax returns Boris earns a significant amount more. Over the four years they published for, Ken earned £342.041 and paid £113,861 in tax. Boris in the same time earned £1,699,257 and paid £684,719.

    Ken also, unsurprisingly for someone who does end up paying some staff for work, including his wife, had his accountant set up Silveta Ltd. This is the controversial issue. Of course Ken doesn’t pay income tax on company earnings, it is a company and he is just a shareholder. But any income he receives from that company he pays income tax on!

    And, yes, it often occurs to me that the whole political class are scum. But there are those who may be scum in their private lives. What I’m interested in is policy and politics and what they say and do publicly. Ken cares about ordinary people, I don’t think Boris does.

  48. Anonymous

    What about the millions spent by unions on getting government to do as they are told? Why omit that?

    I don’t see any distinction. It’s fraudulent. It’s all about deceiving the public in order to obtain money. Livingstone is after an extremely well paid job and he’s prepared to use deceipt to get it, just as he has with his taxes.

    As for Boris earning cash, yes that is wrong too. He’s in a full time job, and earning 250,000 on the side is odd too.

    Which figures are you using for Ken? The revised ones?

    Are you including his company taxes and omitting his company income? That’s the fraud he’s used to increase the perception of what taxes he pays.

    Of course Ken doesn’t pay income tax on company earnings, it is a company and he is just a shareholder.

    So why did he include his company taxes in the taxes he pays? It’s a fraud.


    What I’m interested in is policy

    Well look at how that works. You get to elect a representative, who then goes and does something different that they didn’t tell you about, doesn’t do what they said they would do. ie. You have no say over any issue. It’s decided by small cabals over the kitchen table in Downing street or over a coffee in the Testicle.

    Ken doesn’t give a toss over anyone but Ken.

    So what if Ken gets done for election fraud or company fraud for using Silveta funds for electioneering. Would you support him being jailed?

  49. Anonymous

    Ken cares about ordinary people

    ===========

    So much so that he couldn’t find any and had to get paid people in to act as supporters.

  50. Rob

    So his Nazi guard comment ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4746016.stm) wasn’t raciest and his comment about the tory party being riddled with homosexuals wasn’t homophobic ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-16955851)?

Leave a Reply