Livingstone suspended

Looks like another ugly example of religious/racial hypersensitivity taking precedence over freedom of speech. The Board of Deputies of British Jews filed the complaint because of “hurtful comments” he made to a single reporter outside City Hall.

UPDATE: Livingstone’s suspension has been suspended by a High Court judge, pending appeal.


15 Responses to “Livingstone suspended”

  1. Andrew Nixon says:

    I think it’s safe to say this would have had a different result had the reporter not been Jewish.

  2. Stuart says:

    No, he had said the same thing to other reporters in the past with no problem. And of course Ken didn’t know that the reporter was jewish before he said it

  3. sconzey says:

    In fairness to the BoDoBJ (try saying that when you’re drunk) you do expect your elected representatives to behave a little more respectfully. However, it all does seem a bit excessive and blown out of proportion…

  4. tom p says:

    Yeah, he did know. It was when the hack said he was jewish that he likened him to a concentration camp guard.

    I dunno what the fuck the board of deputies was doing getting involved though. Self-important twats, this wasn’t an attack on jews, but an attack on one jewish hack doorstepping him who was working for a newspaper group with a long ignoble tradition of support for fascists and general racism. which ken himself had worked for.
    had he been censured for hypocrisy there woulda been no defence, but this is just ludicrous

  5. Adam says:

    My take on this is that the reporter in question has cynically exploited his Jewish origin to try to pretend that Ken’s remarks were anti-semitic. Anyone who pays the slightest attention to Ken’s politics should know that that is so far off the mark to be laughable.

    It doesn’t surprise me that a reporter trys a dirty trick like this, as we all know that tabloid reporters are the scum of the earth. But I am absolutely gobsmacked that the committee that suspended Ken actually fell for it.

  6. Stuart says:

    Tom P: Not so, if you listen to the clip or read the transcript you’ll see that he said the ‘Concentration camp guard’ twice, the first time was before Oliver Finegold told Ken he was Jewish

  7. Andy Gilmour says:

    What Livingstone said was pathetically stupid, especially from someone who has so many years in public service… I mean, using a nazi analogy for someone who’s just doing their job, even a loathesome, vile, creeping, crawling, back-stabbing journalist…! :-)

    But of course he shouldn’t have been suspended.

    A day in the stocks being pelted with rotten veg for making an arse of himself would be fine by me…

  8. Rosalind says:

    Left-leaning politician “insults” journalist for right wing rag. Hmm. Wonder if this would have been any different had the politician been right wing, and the journalist been left wing?

  9. Andy A says:

    Is freedom to insult also freedom of speech? Yes, I think it is, no matter how vile a thing was said (usual caveat, of course: you don’t do or incite violence). Livingstone got it wrong, but should have been placed in the pillory of public ridicule (which happened, anyway, irrespective of the deliberations of the Committee on Standards in Public Life). However, I think he was punished for not apologising rather than for the thing itself.

    We get into a slightly different area here. Public figure who ought to know better lobs an insult, publicly, at someone. Had it been a nobody lobbing the insult, it wouldn’t have mattered, but it was Livingstone. Perhaps his conduct warranted some rebuke, but on the grounds of his being a public servant, and therefore whatever he says in public is in effect on behalf of the people he represents. (OK, so it was an off-the-cuff remark not ‘officially’ in public, as it were, but a figure like Livingstone is always in public if he’s at or entering or leaving a public event and there are people around who aren’t his confidants, i.e. just members of the public.) If John Prescott or Simon Hughes or David Davis or a senior civil servant with a public face had said it, I suspect that person, too, would have been hauled over the coals, but not for what was said so much as for actually saying it.

  10. Steve says:

    I don’t like seeing an elected politician suspended by a bunch of unelected bureaucrats just for saying something offensive.

    It is ironic though, that Ken has fallen victim to the same sort of political correctness that he has been promoting for years.

  11. Gregg says:

    It is ironic though, that Ken has fallen victim to the same sort of political correctness that he has been promoting for years.

    Livingstone has a long and honourable history of campaiging against racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. But when has he ever promoted political correctness like this? Or did you believe all those made-up stories about “baa-baa white sheep” and so on, printed by the Standard, the Daily Mail and so on?

  12. marc says:

    Bottom line here – you aren’t BORN a Jew, Jews are not a race. I wouldn’t piss on Ken if he was on fire, but he had every right to call the guy whatever he wanted. If the guy truly found that offensive (which I frankly doubt) he had every right to complain. But when the complaint is handled like this, it plays into the hands of extremists who see anti-semetic murderers on every street corner.

  13. Marc Draco says:

    Update: the suspension has been lifted while Ken appeals. The story isn’t over yet.

  14. Rosalind says:

    Marc. If the journalist found Ken’s remark offensive, what is he doing working for a newspaper group that supported fascists in the 1930s!

  15. Marc Draco says:

    Presumably, using the fact that he has chosen to be a Jew as an excuse and a political leverage. I can’t think of any better reason.