Bothering Boris.

The Beeb haven’t exactly taken kindly to the news that their oldest of old favourites, Red Ken, may have a challenger as Mayor of London.

They’ve quickly produced a little factfile of what they call “Boris Johnson’s Media Scrapes”. I don’t suppose it will affect Boris much, but the Livingstone profile given by the Beeb describes Ken flatteringly as an “outspoken anti-establishment figure known in Britain for introducing congestion charging to free up London’s traffic clogged streets” who “has never been afraid of controversy”.

Nick Assinder meanwhile, wonders whether Boris “is “appropriate” or, more pointedly, “safe enough” for a seriously heavyweight job – and London mayor is often said to be one of the four or five most important and powerful political jobs in the land.“.

So according to the Beeb that isn’t a question for Ken? Ken’s appropriateness in welcoming Sheikh Al Qaradawi who justified suicide bombing, or his chum Hugo Chavez, is just not, apparently, on the BBC’s radar as crunch-time for Ken approaches.

The post of London Mayor in this elected form is a relatively new one. Ken has been doing all sorts of things which a proper scrutiny might have found him condemned over. Ken’s real legacy for London is as yet unproven. Some balance over this would be welcome.

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25 Responses to Bothering Boris.

  1. Cockney says:

    To be honest I think that the Beeb has asked many searching questions of Livingstone, certainly within its London broadcasting. If its coverage has suggested that Londoners have been broadly happy with his performance I would suggest that’s reflective of reality.

    As someone who was pretty sceptical when he was first elected I’ve been reasonably impressed (give or take blowing a bit of cash on ridiculous lefty shindigs and PC bollocks), not least by his willingness to robustly hold up the taxpayers end of PPP contracts and the like, something which central government would do well to note.

    He’s got some dodgy opinions on Islamic extremism and dubious ultra-left Latinos but its pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. Frankly I think it’s the Standard and right wing press who’ve been unable to overcome their preconceptions on Livingstone and report down the line.


  2. IiD says:

    ed + the gang.

    I’m usually modest about these things but I popped up a post earlier regarding this:


    Look no further:…ics/ 6901161.stm…ics/ 6900384.stm

    Mind you I have serious doubt about Boris as well: arc…war_on_iran.php…0/12/ do1201.xml…06/ s1695573.htm

    Interesting that Al Beeb makes no attempt at highlighting BJ’s “ME policy” BECAUSE AL BEEB IS IN TOTAL AGREEMENT!

    So there you have it-a choice between a man that welcomes head-choppers and a man that thinks Iran should have the bomb. Clearly a CJD outbreak is taking place in the UK.

    Steve Norris is a far better candidate IMVHO.

    Thank god I’ve packed my bags and got out of London. ….
    IiD | 17.07.07 – 10:32 am | #


    Be honest however.

    Was employing a ‘recovering alcholic’to be in charge for TFL really a good move concidering the state of MetroRail?

    And winning the London bid was more to do with Coe,Jowell and Blair than “our Ken”.

    I just think these are the last two clowns I would want running for Mayor.

    But credit to Ken-at least I know what he means.Say why not throw Georgous George in the ring as well….


  3. IiD says:

    Sorry Cockney

    That was appalling English!

    I was ment to say “to be honest however much the BBC tries,this is one dog and pony show”

    That’s better 🙂


  4. Andrew says:

    The problem with Shagger Norris is that he’s a two-time reject who put his Jarvis plc job before before London during the last election.

    The problem for London is simply getting rid of Red Ken – he’s remarkably difficult to winkle out.

    However, BoJo might just do it on a good day, with the polls running our way and a good humorous campaign in contrast to Ken the humourless spart.

    Here’s hoping anyway. We’ll worry about Boris after that 🙂


  5. IiD says:


    Are the Fib Dem’s in the running with anybody? Are they standing aside?

    I’m surprised GG isn’t in there either?

    One thing for certain-this is going to be a dirty contest underneath the “jokes and laughs”.


  6. Andrew says:

    Not sure about the LibDims – wikipedia reports:,_2008#Liberal_Democrat_Party – at least until someone edits it…

    I think Simon Hughes was left feeling a bit burnt after he got squeezed last time. Such a shame 🙂


  7. glj says:

    The Boris profile link in this article actually goes to the Livingstone profile page.


  8. Canuck says:


    Note the caption under the picture:
    “Kano is an ancient Islamic city”

    Which gives the impression that it was founded as such.

    Wikipedia: The city of Kano was founded around the year 1000 as an independent Hausa city-state. …. perhaps reaching the height of its wealth and power in the 14th century, when Islam gained a growing following. By the 15th century the first Central Mosque had been erected in the city.

    So it is an ancient city which by the 15th Century had become “Islamic” by which I suppose they mean majority Muslim.

    But fairs fair to the Beeb on the story itself – they actually mention Sharia law in the same context as stoning and limb amputation.


  9. ed says:

    Thanks glj- I have corrected the link. Thanks too to IiD for thinking along similar lines- I’m actually indebted to a commenter on A Tangled Web for alerting me to the Boris question. Although I do read the comments here, I read them at all the blogs I frequent, often gaining ideas as I do so.


  10. Geezer says:

    “Londoners have been broadly happy with his performance I would suggest that’s reflective of reality.”

    Because the BBC haven’t kept them properly informed. He has limited powers anyway, but the way he wastes money is shocking.
    Ken has gotten away with it because he isn’t properly examined, he has no formal political opposition and the BBC leave him alone except for a few toughish interviews on BBC London radio now and again. With Boris in the race, we are assured of a lot of media/public interest and more open debate about what Red-Ken has been wasting London Council tax on, 47 press officers, for example. His behaviour since 07/07 has been revolting to many decent Londoners even if the BBC don’t like to talk about his love of Islamonazis.The same way that they didn’t remind people of his love-ins with Sinn Fein during the early ’80s at the GLC and how he tried to use rate payers money to donate to an IRA funding front, before Foot begged him not to. Not much mention of that on the BBC before the 2000 mayoral elections.


  11. Horace Dunn says:


    You say:

    “He’s got some dodgy opinions on Islamic extremism and dubious ultra-left Latinos but its pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.”

    Why do you think this is “pretty minor”. He has openly embraced a jew-hating, homophobic bigot. When he was called on this he used Londoners’ money to whitewash his chum. I assume by “ultra-left Latinos” you refer to Chavez, but he has also said that, if re-elected he will use Londoners’ money to celebrate the anniversary of the Cuban revolution. The Cuban revolution, I needn’t tell you, created one of the most vile and inhuman states currently in existence.

    Perhaps you think this is “pretty minor” given that he has pedestrianised Trafalgar Square and introduced the Congestion Charge. Personally, I would prefer not to be taxed in order to prop up an apologist for totalitarianism. And I think London deserves better.


  12. deegee says:

    In practical terms, how does the Lord Mayor of London concern the BBC?

    Is the interest simply a consequence of KL being the BBC’s ‘local government’ or is something else involved e.g. funding, privileges?


  13. MattLondon says:

    In practical terms, how does the Lord Mayor of London concern the BBC?

    Some confusion here – KL isn’t “Lord Mayor of London”, the chief functionary of the historic “City of London”. He’s Mayor of (Greater) London.

    And I guess the BBC interest is that Ken (and now Boris) are reliable generators of news material.


  14. Pete says:

    The London Assembly is just a noddy parliament full of nobodies, just like the Scottish and Welsh ones also set up by Blair. The Mayor of London is as important as the leaders of those two national parliaments, which is why candidacy is left the likes of Ken and Boris. The BBC will cover the London race in fine detail – just like it covers everything in London in fine detail and assume the rest of the nation is glad to pay for their parochialism.


  15. IiD says:

    Good Morning

    Yesterday I was asking why George Galloway wasn’t running for mayor.

    Well it seems that the net draws ever tighter on the goings on in the Galloway household, however according to Al Beeb this man will draw in the crowds:

    But it Nick Asssinder narration that really takes the biscuit in his gushing report:

    According to Nick, Mr Galloway is “great value for money” that “He was more in touch with ordinary voters than those sitting in Westminster, and the word on the lips of most of those voters when considering their elected representatives was “contempt”.”

    Nick also highlights the fact that George will be “putting the war on trial and highlighting the irony of the same people who had given a standing ovation to a war criminal (Tony Blair) then censuring him, the man who had always warned against it.”

    Of course again GG was allowed to get away in saying (without challenge) “Those behind me are the last people on earth who have the right to criticise anyone for the way they fund a political campaign.”

    He went on to say that “Donors to parties sitting in Parliament had been shown to be “convicted fraudsters, thieves and an even a convicted rapist”.

    That libel in my book George.

    All of course are according to Nick “It was classic, gripping Galloway and promised a riveting Commons performance to compare with the roasting he gave US politicians when he appeared before a senate committee two years ago.”


    This is a man closely associated with one of the most brutal regimes in the 20 centaury, a rodent who has spent a number of hours in a company of other vermin some of who would abduct women and then proceed to sexually assault and kill them. A man who claimed to be “helping Iraqi’s” and yet strong circumstantial evidence suggests that this man was helping IIS and was acting as an “agent of influence” on behave of a despotic dictatorship.

    In my mind he is the biggest traitor this country has seen since Philby. He is a menace, and shouldn’t be allow to hold any public office. Personally I think he should be sent to Iraq and stand trail.

    Harry’s Place has more on this story.



  16. Cockney says:

    “And I guess the BBC interest is that Ken (and now Boris) are reliable generators of news material.”

    Surely the fact that the mayor has significant influence over the running of the city which is far and away the nation’s most important wealth generator gives the position some ‘interest’.


  17. Heron says:

    Ken would love to hear you talking about his city as a “wealth generator”.


  18. Cockney says:


    Ironically in letting the failed Metronet slide into administration this morning he’s shown a far better grasp of capitalist principles than the central government clowns who have continually bailed out ‘private’ companies involved in the railways and thus institutionalised managerial incompetence.


  19. Gordon_Broon_Eats_Hez_Bawgies says:

    I don’t think Leninspart had amy discretion in whether to “let” Metronet go bust, did he? It’s not like he had more money to give them but elected not to do so.

    To ensure they don’t starve, Gordon Broon should share some of hez wee bawgies wi’ em. That way, while they may not have jobs any more, at least they’ll have food on their plates. Food in the form of some of Gordon Broon’s spare bawgies. Which normally, as can be seen at my homepage, he eats himself, in public.


  20. Andrew says:

    Hi GBEHB – can you lose the lengthy name and the obsession with Brown and his bogies please… it’s only amusing once or twice, and that might be overstating the case. Ta.


  21. Cockney says:

    Well yeah, he did. Metronet had requested an immediate cash injection from Transport for London (i.e. funded by the taxpayer) to prevent them from going bust. TfL exists to implement the Mayor’s transport strategy. To his credit Livingstone’s strategy was to tell the incompetents where to stick it. He could have provided them with the cash they ‘needed’ so that they could piss that up the wall as well.


  22. Anon42 says:

    I’m astonished that anyone could call Ken “safe” after his twenty five years of grandstanding. Like Geezer, I remember his overtures (as GLC head)to Sinn Fein even while the IRA were killing people in London. And his personal life is a good deal more tempestuous than Boris’s. Boris gets out of trouble by apologising to Liverpool, Ken gets out of trouble when Robin Hedges declines to press charges.


  23. A Lurker says:

    It was Ken’s overtures to Sinn Fien in the 80s that helped start the dialogue between Sinn Fein and the state. And now, many years later you have peace in Northern Ireland. I’m certainly not saying that without Ken’s invovlvement there would have been no peace, but those Sinn Fein visits back in the 80s did play their part in starting the dialogue off.

    And whatever you think about Ken, he’s won countless London elections, as Leader of the GLC, as an MP and as Mayor. So referring to him as popular is accurate – ir is someone only popular if the Daily Mail says so?


  24. Andrew says:

    A Lurker, I don’t think Red Ken had anything to do at all with bringing peace to Northern Ireland. If anything, the likes of him giving public succour to murderous terrorists was an encouragement to them.

    Dialogue with the Provos has happened on and off since the early 70s if you read the history books – including, I recall, the RAF flying in McGuinness and co. from NI to meet with Willie Whitelaw, some time around 1974, if I recall correctly.

    The thing that brought the talks to fruition was the realisation, on both sides, that neither of them were going to go away or give in. It could have gone on for another 30 or 60 years for no great end.

    Eventually the Provos realised that they weren’t getting anywhere far, their organisation was thoroughly penetrated, and people they cared about were being wiped out big style in incidents like Loughall.

    Cue an outbreak of common sense and the realisation that there was much more to be gained by sitting down and sorting something out.

    None of which Red Ken figured in.

    But of course peace in Northern Ireland is a rather big topic!