Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday, 24 February 2006

Labour Mayor Livingstone brings shame on London

(NB: See the updates at the foot of this post. In the 2nd update, in particular, I find myself obliged to recant my original analysis of this whole development; I got it badly wrong and I can only say: Sorry!)

London Mayor Ken Livingstone has been suspended for one month by the Adjudication Panel for England for having 'brought his office into disrepute' by 'comparing a Jewish journalist to a concentration camp guard'. This is merely the latest stain on a maverick career.

The Labour Party is shamed because it showed just what a vacuous, shallow ideology lies behind it when it agreed to allow Mr Livingstone to re-join the Party for the sole purpose of having a member as Mayor, as it is highly probable he would have been re-elected whether he stood again as an 'Independent' or as a member of the Labour Party, their own potential candidates standing no hope whatever against him. Those Londoners who chose to vote for this individual can reflect upon the kind of man they supported at two mayoral elections; with luck they will choose someone fit to hold public office and to be their Mayor at the next election.

UPDATE: (Saturday 25FEB06 03.35 GMT) There has been a great deal of debate since Livingstone's suspension from his mayoralty duties for four weeks was announced, much of it focussing on the outrageousness of an unelected 'quango', in the form of the Adjudication Panel for England, having the power to suspend or otherwise interfere with the democratic mandate of elected officials. The homepage of this organisation has this as the final paragraph:


"The Adjudication Panel for England consists of a President and members who were appointed by the Lord Chancellor after consultation with the Deputy Prime Minister."

- so it would appear that Lord Falconer and John Prescott MP are those responsible for appointnemnts to this body. What more needs to be said? The judgement in respect of London Mayor Ken Livingstone may be read in this .PDF document. Oh, I understand that Londoners may feel outraged that their elected Mayor has been suspended in this manner. If Ken Livingstone were a 'fit and proper' person (by any rational assessment) to hold public office then I would have unreserved sympathy with their reaction; as it is my sympathy must be tempered by my views of their sanity in electing this person. Naturally this is a highly subjective comment and flies in the face of democracy, but there it is. I say in the header banner of this blog that I 'strive' for objectivity; I don't say I always come close to achieving it!

2nd UPDATE: (Saturday 25FEB06 10.00 GMT) The purpose for which the Adjudication Board for England was originally set up seems to have been changed radically in order to 'trip up' Ken Livingstone, who has always been a 'thorn in the flesh' to New Labour. I'm afraid that my original analysis of this whole situation seems to have been wholly misguided, and I now fiind myself in complete agreement with those who consider the suspension of Livingstone to be an outrageous assault on democracy, however many warts it may sometimes display. Mea Culpa.
(Via notes from a small bedroom)

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