Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Vive Ken Livingstone

I went to a talk this morning given by Ken Livingstone and organised by the indomitable director of Hampstead’s Pentameter Theatre, Léonie Scott-Matthews.

Ken read from his book, Livingstone’s London.’

It was good to hear his memories of being brought up in London (he and I were born the same year). Ken in Streatham and me further south in leafier Bromley. I have written about him before and like and respect the man enormously.


He has a “Pink Hat” - (OK let me repeat. My father said you can always tell who is the honest politician, ‘the one wearing the pink hat’.)


When he was leader of the GLC, Margaret Thatcher accused Ken of introducing aneastern European” style “tyranny”, for crimes such as lowering bus fares and organising anti-racist celebrations. More recently he has, with Jeremy Corbyn, been a victim of the right-wing ‘anti-semitism’ vilification.


That right-wing, as now represented by the current PM and politicians such as Jacob Rees-Mogg. Ugly hatted, but certainly not pink, with company accounts showing more than £100 million untaxed profit over the last 5 years.


There was a lot of discussion about the Labour Party leadership election and I am puzzled why he supports Keir Starmer on the basis that he is a good ‘administrator’ and is 'someone who looks like they can run the country'.


When discussion turned to whether Labour could win an election in five years I mentioned that the French haven’t waited and have been on virtual general strike for many weeks; that last week Macron, the French President, was driven out of a theatre onto streets occupied by striking ballet dancers.





So in conclusion Vive La France and Vive Ken Livingstone. La lutte continue.


My memoir ‘Left Field’ is, after four years, still on sale online and in bookshops, but can now be read for free here





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