Friday, March 20, 2009

Tom Harris: Swings Old Double-Edged Sword at Red Ken

Tom Harris MP blogs about the evil pinkos at the BBC painting Ken redder than he actually is. By suggesting a Total Politics interview had Ken saying he would stand as an independent if not selected by Labour. In fact he said the opposite - within the interview as printed at any rate.

Iain Dale - publisher of TP of course - eggs Ken on in a comment, confirming that he'd persuaded the Beeb to attribute the interview. Who knows what Ken said to Iain off the record. But I do recall ID's twittered or blogged boast that there were lots of exclusives that he was planning to farm out to the MSM. I'd not put it past Iain to have gossiped this story into the BBC. There was an example in Hugh Muir's Guardian Diary earlier this week. With David Miliband outed as a CS-gassed Minister referred to coyly by Ken. Iain Ken also got a story there today.

Anyways, back to Tom Harris MP, who supports his championing of Red Ken against the BBC, with some pretty heavy criticism of Livingstone:

I’m not a fan of Ken. His history of support for IRA figures (even before there was a ceasefire), his support for the euro and a federal Europe, and his dangerously irresponsible opposition to the MMR vaccination… these and other issues make me think we can easily come up with a better candidate next time round.

Perhaps Tom means Sinn Fein or other republican politicians? Certainly that allusion would have to be quite historic. Much as Ken supported and supports peace and justice in the North. I remember Ken appearing alongside the already former socialist republican MP Bernadette McAliskey and one (now Sir) Stuart Bell MP in Manchester Town Hall around 1984.

The MMR reference is not quite so old. It couldn't be. But it is getting on for a seven-year itch. Quoting a 2002 reference to support the case against Ken as a candidate?

The European bit in the middle of the sandwich seems a bit flip also. Labour will have to be lucky to "easily" come up with a better candidate given the personality-led process for the London mayoralty. Ken did very substantially better than national Labour and we'd do well to remember that. The Labour candidate of course has to be "better" than the accident-prone but extraordinarily popular Johnno.


Dick the Prick said...

Dear Chris

Someone's gotta talk about it.

I live in Huddersfield and my Great great grandad established the Labour movement of the railways unt - and died. I'm Tory thuough administration - juts because somebody can talk, don't mean theyy have to.

You are an exceptionaly clever man.



Chris Paul said...

Sorry old bean, just don't get your banter.

Paul Burgin said...

Er Chris, didn't Ken invite Gerry Adams to London in 1982?

jailhouselawyer said...

I supported Bobby Sands.

Chris Paul said...

Paul: Gerry Adams in 1982? Very likely. At which point Gerry Adams had what status exactly?

I'll help. He had clearly switched from his misspent youth to political activity, wiki suggest the 1981 emergence of a political process was down to him, and he was already a PPC for Sinn Fein, elected to Westminster in 1983.

This is (a) hardly current news and is a bit like calling someone for being friendly with Nelson Mandela and (b) looks like a deliberate smear from Tom who simply doesn't like Livingstone politically and who would prefer another candidate ... even I suspect if they were less likely to beat Boris.

The MMR jibe is also out-of-date. And the Euro comments a vague piece of smearage.

Tom'w support for Ken vs the BBC seems designed as a hook for these prejudicial remarks just as Ken launches his campaign for re-selection. IMO.

Doubting Richard said...

If you really think Adams and McGuiness ever left the IRA and ever were truly peaceful then you are more naive than even I thought you. That is really saying something, as I think all lefties are naive and you especially so.

Certainly in 1982 support for Adams was support for terrorists, as he was openly an apologist for them, covertly a member of the Army Council that commanded PIRA.

Bill Quango MP said...

Its fine for you to want to support Ken, but you can't airbrush his idiosyncrasies out.
He regularly made inflammatory statements, Invited terrorist spokespeople and fundamentalists to speak, made political capitol from foreign dictators etc.

If you want Ken, you have to take the very considerable baggage that ghe carries along with him.

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Chris Paul said...

Richard, and Bill. My point about Tom Harris is that his critique of Ken - ostensibly in a supportive post - is whack. Out of date, imprecise, and so much so that it is smeary.

Clearly Ken has many idiosyncracies. As does Boris. As long as the Mayoralty is a personality contest then putting up flawless disciplined politicos is probably not the way to win. In my opinion.

Tom thinks we can easily find a better candidate than Ken. He may be right. But the only senses of "better" that I think matter are (a) ability to beat all comers in a pageant and (b) innovation and energy for Londoners.