Expelling Ken Livingstone would be political suicide for Labour in London


9:01 am - October 19th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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Ken Livingstone has raised a storm by seemingly endorsing the independent candidate in East London’s Tower Hamlets Mayoral elections. The Labour candidate did not get his endorsement (video below), which has led to some demanding Labour expel Ken.

People will be spitting blood: not just local Labour MP Rushanara Ali but also Ed Miliband because it presents a potential headache.

And the mayoral race is a big deal because it’s the “Olympic borough” and its annual budget is over a billion pounds. It’s more important than many by-elections.

There is a long, convoluted history to this. To summarise: the local Labour elections initially led to Lutfur Rahman being selected. Labour’s NEC chucked him out of the party for reasons that are under dispute by a lot of people, and installed Helal Abbas as their candidate. Rahman decided to run as an independent; Labour are now vigorously running a campaign to get Abbas elected.

On this I agree with others that Ken’s endorsement was entirely unnecessary and unwarranted. It splits the party and gets everyone annoyed.

Ken’s argument
The problem is that Ken’s argument will be straight-forward. First, that Rahman was ‘stitched up’ when he was chucked out. He was not allowed to defend himself and answer the allegations made against him. The NEC meeting itself was a bit chaotic and left many annoyed in the way he was expelled.

Subsequently, Labour didn’t even pick the candidate who got the second-highest number of votes: John Biggs. Abbas came third. So in that, Adam Bienkov is right in saying he was already undermined.

Lastly, Ken’s is saying he’s not actually campaigning for, or officially endorsing, Rahman. He is encouraging people to give him second preference votes, and will encourage independents to give their second preference to the Labour candidate.

Why he can’t be expelled
Technically, I think Ken is within the rules. Remember that only a few months ago Ed Balls said Labour voters were justified in tactically voting for Libdems in areas where Labour was uncompetitive to keep the Tories out.

This is what Ken stated last week:

I hope both Helal Abbas and Lutfur Rahman will ask their supporters to use their second preferences for each other to demonstrate that it is possible for politics in this borough to move forward following the election. A united Tower Hamlets ought to be the objective of everyone – we should not allow how Labour’s NEC has handled this to divert us from this objective.

He will now say he’s simply endorsing that view and making that case. Ken has also done this in the past – by ‘supporting‘ Green candidate Tony Juniper at the election. No storm was raised then.

Secondly, Ken is not only on the Labour NEC, he still retains a lot of popularity within the party and amongst independent voters. Yesterday’s YouGov poll bolstered his case massively as the only Labour candidate who can topple Boris Johnson, and at this stage I don’t see anyone else doing that.

Expelling Ken Livingstone would raise a storm, split the party further and virtually kill any chance of Labour winning the London Mayoral elections (Ken would most likely run as an independent again). It would be political suicide and we can’t afford that.

BBC report last night

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Labour party ,London Mayor ,Westminster

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Reader comments


(That was quick!)

Oh how wonderful.

KL is nothing more than a parasite.
Feeding off you when he needs to; going his own way otherwise.

Of course you won’t dare expel him.
Lord Ahmed was campaigning for Rahman last week and even he hasn’t been ditched.

Still, all good for BJ I guess.
I mean you would have thought that KL would have the Tower Hamlets Islamist vote already sewn up. (No doubt including those which are yet to be manufactured.)

Yougov yesterday:
The poll also shows that while Boris Johnson has a positive job approval, his predecessor is also seen as having performed well. 58% think Johnson is doing well as Mayor, but 56% think Livingstone did well during his time as Mayor.

Shame you’re so out of kilter with public opinion eh cjcjc?

Glad to see you new members standing up for party discipline!

4. Sunder Katwala

It seems to me extremely unlikely there will be any move to throw him out or to take the London candidacy away from him. The point of the exercise appears to be to say “I’m bigger than the party” and I play by my own rules, and perhaps Ken will consider it to be successful in demonstrating that.

It isn’t clear that aggravating Labour’s members and activists in this way is a particularly brilliant mobilising strategy for next May’s London Mayoral campaign … it might even be a good thing if Ken (or at least some of the people around him) were to attempt to recognise that.

But the statement “The problem is that Ken’s argument will be straight-forward” is pretty ludicrous.

His argument will be anything but straightforward.

Surely what you mean is ‘Ken may well employ sophistry to claim that he is not technically in breach of party rules, because saying that the candidate should not have been dropped, walking around for the TV cameras with the rival candidate (and having a quick chat about why the Labour candidate) did not in fact entail an explicit “vote Rahman” public statement (even though the whole point was to convey precisely that impression to any sentient being).

And perhaps that – with some sort of statement going back to the idea that he knows people will divide between Abbas and Rahman and wants both groups to unite to keep the (zero chance) Tory and LibDem candidates out will provide some sort of face-saving formula, though it is debatable how much face it saves.

I can’t see much sensible reason for going beyond his original neutrality statement with a walkabout except as something of a deliberate provocation.

A very reasonable compromise would be to keep him as a candidate but suspend him from the NEC … rule-breakers shouldn’t be rule-makers! This too will not happen, I would be pretty sure.

You have got no spine, Hundal.

You support Livingstone because he displays the same cavalier, ego-maniac approach to the Labour party that you do, using it only for your own ends and when it suits you.

A ‘new generation’ in Labour?

No chance.

It’s a pretty sad reflection on “Newer” Labour that the best (least worst?) option they can come up with to run against Boris is KL.

It was bad enough that KL couldn’t keep a joke candidate like Boris out in the first place, now we have the prospect of KL grandstanding in an attempt to get back into power. The only surprise is that people in the Labour party are surprised! Of course KL will be playing to the gallery for all he is worth, because he realises that he has to appeal to those outside the Labour party if he is to have a hope of winning.

If KL is really the best the Labour party can come up with, you are in deep trouble!

7. Sunder Katwala

Beyond people pointing out that “anybody else would get chucked out for that” (which seems pretty evidently the case) I am not sure there has been any serious call to chuck Ken himself out.

It is of course enormously unhelpful and rather egotistical to deliberately put Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman in an embarrassing and impossible position, by going beyond his initial (but perhaps too little noticed) neutrality pitch.

So we will have to see whether Ken and his team now see this as an attempt to somehow assert a position as something of an “Independent Labour” candidate – or whether they will now want to make some substantive attempt to rebuild bridges with party activists and members in London.

If KL wants to be (or remain) a member of the Labour party shouldn’t he just abide by its rules?

Or does he think that having survived expulsion once he is now ‘above’ the rules?

BTW, the accusations against Lutfur Rahman were pretty serious and there DOES seem to some evidence that they’re true (look, for example, at the dozens of articles at Harry’s Place).

It is truly sad to see KL getting into bed (again) with extermists like this.

Sunder Katwala, you are openly permitting double standards in the party!

Ken Livingstone- TOO BIG TO FAIL.

10. Great uncle fred

I think that Ken’s own history as running as an independent explains his approach to this messy situation. He also has an eye on the main prize, which is the London mayoral elections which will become a crucial mid term popularity test of this Government’s policies. Ken can’t afford to be a party/tribal politician.

If the London Mayoral elections are as close as the polls currently show, then the result will come down to 2nd preferences. Ken (unlike many in a highly tribal Labour Party) is now used to running for election under a PR system. It has an impact on the dynamic of the Mayoral race and it can also impact on how you run your administration – don’t forget that Ken had a strong working relationship with the Green Party Assembly members during 2004-08 when he needed their votes to pass his budget.

The tricky bit for all of us is how to deal with the Lib Dems. The best way to collapse this coalition would be to demolish them in the London Mayoral elections and reduce their vote to as near to zero as we can achieve. This is our best chance to send a clear message to the leadership that the ConDem policies are an electoral disaster for them. However, Ken may not wish to alienate Lib Dem supporters by an all out “attack” strategy when he needs their 2nd preference votes to beat Boris.

11. Sunder Katwala

(9) – I am predicting that Ken will not be ditched. That is analysis, not advocacy.

@11 then you haven’t got the b*llocks to advocate for fair treatment.

It’s one law for ordinary party members and another for Ken.

“Or does he think that having survived expulsion once he is now ‘above’ the rules?”

Bears. Shit. Woods.

And given the spineless reaction, he’s right, isn’t he?

The whole situation smells…a nice smell to me….but it still smells.

Rahman was dropped, though without any investigation – I guess that would have thrown up some rather uncomfortable truths.
Biggs was passed over. Wrong colour.
Lord Ahmed supports Rahman – no action.
Livingstone ditto – no action but lots of excuses from Sunder, Sunny etc.

Wonderful stuff.

So much for standards on Lib*CON*, cj.

15. astateofdenmark

Maybe ken wants to be thrown out. Get the martyr votes back.

Let’s hear nothing from you spineless lefties next time a Tory politician breaks clear party rules and is kept in the party.

You won’t have a leg to stand on!

@15 get the martyr BRIGADES votes back, more like.

Technically, I think Ken is within the rules. Remember that only a few months ago Ed Balls said Labour voters were justified in tactically voting for Libdems in areas where Labour was uncompetitive to keep the Tories out.

I think it would be obvious that there is a difference between a person who wants to vote in favour of Labour being urged to vote tactically, and a Labour member pro-actively campaigning in favour of a specific opposition candidate.

Ken has almost certainly broken the rules – and much speculation is that he did so deliberately so that he can be expelled and regain his rebel tag to boost his chances of winning the Mayoral election.

However, why are political parties so paranoid that they need such draconian rules in the first place? Every political party is a coalition of differing opinions and it is bizarre to then demand that a person has to support a candidate that they actually don’t support.

I think the parties do themselves a disfavour by this draconian attitude and it puts off a lot of people who simply can’t stand the tribal nature of politics from getting involved in it.

19. Chaise Guevara

@ 16

“Let’s hear nothing from you spineless lefties next time a Tory politician breaks clear party rules and is kept in the party.

You won’t have a leg to stand on!”

Um, only if ‘lefty’ means ‘Labour supporter who fully approves of the party’s internal workings”. Christ, the right try to straw man the left as ‘Stalinist’, then get all affronted when we don’t actually bow down before the chairman.

20. Chaise Guevara

@ 18

“However, why are political parties so paranoid that they need such draconian rules in the first place? Every political party is a coalition of differing opinions and it is bizarre to then demand that a person has to support a candidate that they actually don’t support.

I think the parties do themselves a disfavour by this draconian attitude and it puts off a lot of people who simply can’t stand the tribal nature of politics from getting involved in it.”

I agree with you, and think politics would probably be a healthier place if there were no whips and MPs were free to express their feelings publically.

Unfortunately, when they try to do that, the opposition, press and public all seem to interpret it as evidence that the party is falling apart at the seams. We’re our own worst enemies. Again.

@19 it’s not about Stalinism it’s about double standards.

@20 It’s called the party system. Would the people who go against the party ever win without support from the party.

24. Chaise Guevara

@ 21

“it’s not about Stalinism it’s about double standards.”

What double standards? As your post was addressed to “[insult] lefties”, I assume it’s meant to refer to people on the left generally. As one of them, I don’t think I’ve ever said a Tory should be expelled just for breaking party rules, and I haven’t heard many other people say anything like that either.

So it seems to me you’ve invented a double standard in your head, got grumpy about it then used it as an excuse to throw insults around. Thanks for your time.

25. Chaise Guevara

@ 20

You’re absolutely right. It’s just not a great state of affairs.

@24 the double standard is kicking out lowly party members for supporting Rahman, then allowing Ken to stay after he has done the exact same thing.

Labour invented the rules, not me, and Labour should apply them even-handedly.

The party of fairness and equality- unless you are Red Ken.

28. Chaise Guevara

@ 26

“@24 the double standard is kicking out lowly party members for supporting Rahman, then allowing Ken to stay after he has done the exact same thing.”

Gosh, that’s strange, because I could have sworn your post at 16 (y’know, the one I was originally replying to?) said: “Let’s hear nothing from you spineless lefties next time a Tory politician breaks clear party rules and is kept in the party.” That almost sounds as if, instead of complaining about internal Labour double standards, you were in fact accusing left-wingers of double standards without evidence.

If you’re going to shift the goalposts so far that they’re now in a different fucking field, best not do it when there’s proof of what you’re doing on the very same webpage, eh? Nice try though.

What a strange article ? If Ken goes, Labour has signed their own political death warrant in London. Politics in London can’t be compared with anywhere else in Britain. Even (some) London Tories like Ken and I’ve got a Labour supporter pal who voted for Boris !!

@28 “That almost sounds as if, instead of complaining about internal Labour double standards, you were in fact accusing left-wingers of double standards without evidence.”

Wrong.

I’m just saying that NEXT TIME (= in the FUTURE) you spineless lefties who are not calling for Ken’s expulsion will have no credibility to comment.

Your sweary style requires better reading comprehension to be sucessful and/or amusing. #fail

31. Roger Mexico

Well, this is a more considered reaction than last night’s “Oh bugger”; but then I would say that, as I made some of the same points in response. Ken has probably done enough to escape expulsion technically, and there’s no appetite for an internal fight in Labour at the moment. There’s still enough enough New Labourites hanging around trying to cause the deluge apres moi, with needing any new rows.

The Mayor of London/GLC Leader/LCC Leader has always had a tendency to turn into the “King over the Water” (literally till Maggie flogged off County Hall). You only have to look how Boris spends most of his time trying to annoy his old Bullingdon Club pals. Ken is merely mounting a parallel display on the Labour side.

The more serious problem is what to do about Tower Hamlets. It’s an area of discussion where you have to look over your shoulder to m’learned friends, but let’s just say that both Rahman and Abass have had contacts with the Islamic Forum of Europe which has been the focus of numerous allegations (notably on Dispatches). More importantly the potential of all of Tower Hamlets as development spreads east from the City, means that planning is an area where certain temptations may occur.

Labour’s history of viewing the Bangladeshi community as a “votebank”, and letting its “leaders” (usually self-appointed) become councillors has alienated the non-Bangladeshi majority and an increasing number within that minority. It has also led to endless in-fighting and accusations of voting fraud. Unfortunately an elected mayor in this situation will make things worse.

According to the BBC Labour has already suspended eight local candidates [presumably “councillors” – you can’t expect Westminster bubblites to get things right about what happens among the little people] for supporting Mr Rahman. I suspect Ken has done enough not to join them and will presumably then set himself up as the peacemaker if Rahman gets in. And if you look at the people whose enmity he’s raised by his actions, I suppose he’s gained some credibility that way.

@”The Truth”

“Lefties” does not = “Labour”, nor vice versa. There is obvs some crossover but you conflating the two as you do @16 does you no favours. Indeed I’d go so far as to say that most Liberal Conspiracy commentators and contributers are not Labour party members.

On-topic: If Livingstone isn’t actually actively campaigning for this fella, and is just saying give him yr 2nd pref, what’s the beef? Personally I hope for more of this kind of thing if we get AV or PR in the future.

S.Pill: oh please.

34. Chaise Guevara

“Wrong.

I’m just saying that NEXT TIME (= in the FUTURE) you spineless lefties who are not calling for Ken’s expulsion will have no credibility to comment.”

Ah, it’s about double standards that *haven’t actually happened* then? And I’m afraid your goalpost shifting is there for all to see in your own comments. No getting away from that, unless you can talk Sunny into deleting your posts.

“Your sweary style requires better reading comprehension to be sucessful and/or amusing. #fail”

I’m sorry, didn’t realise your reading comprehension was so low. I’ll bear that in mind in future. You’re the one throwing insults at all and sundry, kiddo. Compared to that, the occasional naughty word is pretty civil.

@34 “Ah, it’s about double standards that *haven’t actually happened* then?”

And the penny drops! :)

“If Livingstone isn’t actually actively campaigning for this fella, and is just saying give him yr 2nd pref, what’s the beef?”

Well the clip does show him saying that Abbas isn’t a credible candidate…!

KL is a parasite.
He’ll feed off Labour if it suits him.
But only if it suits him.

cj

“KL is a parasite.
He’ll feed off Labour if it suits him.
But only if it suits him.”

This is also a description of Sunny Hundal.

@33

Well thank-you for that considered and articulate response. I can see clearly that you are of course interested in polite political discourse and not scoring imaginary points between a made-up version of the “left” and the “right”.

As far as I can see, Labour de-selected Rahman and then passed over the runner-up because he was, er – white. The question that seems pertinent to me is how anyone can bring themselves to vote for them – in Tower Hamlets, at least – after such a decision…

(And if they have to pick a non-white candidate to bring in votes that really does suggest that something’s wrong with our cultural thinking…)

41. Chaise Guevara

@ 35

“And the penny drops!”

Jesus wept. OK, all my comments were about this exact same situation, only happening on the planet Pluto.

Joining a Political Party carries no obligations to do anything, not even to agree with any policies. There are just 2 obligations involved, the 1st to pay your fees every year & the 2nd NOT to campaign against your Party in any Election. 8 local councillors have already been suspended for doing what Ken has done, are those suspensions now going to be withdrawn ?

Oh Ben, don’t tell me that comes as a shock to you!

Spill “scoring imaginary points between a made-up version of the “left” and the “right””

I owe it all to Hundal…

Oh Ben, don’t tell me that comes as a shock to you!

You’re in luck. It doesn’t.

@42 “Joining a Political Party carries no obligations to do anything, not even to agree with any policies. There are just 2 obligations involved, the 1st to pay your fees every year & the 2nd NOT to campaign against your Party in any Election. 8 local councillors have already been suspended for doing what Ken has done, are those suspensions now going to be withdrawn ?”

EXACTLY.

47. Chaise Guevara

I don’t actually see how this story is scandalous for anyone other than Labour Party members. Even assuming that a) the rules have been broken and b) the party is going to waive them, surely this is an internal matter?

Don’t get me wrong, outsiders obviously should still comment. But given that this doesn’t break the law or parliamentary rules, I don’t see why there’s any reason for non-members of the Labour party to feel angry or betrayed.

Allegations that a candidate has been passed over because of their race are a totally different matter, of course.

@47

Inclined to agree, but I think the assumption is that Livingstone is the prefered candidate for those of a liberal-lefty mindset (Lab or not) – although with the rise of the Greens I’m not sure that’s so true these days.
The whole affair has a dodgy feeling about it though*, Ken would’ve been wise to stay out of it as someone’s already said.

*Private Eye and The Guardian have run informative articles about it all over the past few months or so.

I don’t actually see how this story is scandalous for anyone other than Labour Party members. Even assuming that a) the rules have been broken and b) the party is going to waive them, surely this is an internal matter?

I agree. It’s not a scandal, or a betrayal of anyone except loyal Labour party members in Tower Hamlets. What it is though, is a reflection of the weaknesses of party structures and hierarchies in the face of high-profile rebellious celebrities.

On a strict reading of the rules, Livingstone should automatically be expelled – he’s campaining for an opposing candidate. But you know and I know and Sunny knows that he won’t be expelled, for the reason Sunny states in the OP – it would be a disaster for Labour’s chances for the mayoralty (additionally, a real blow to Ed Miliband early on in his leadership). So it will be fudged, which is fine – but it’s an admission that the rules only really apply to the little people.

@47 “non-members of the Labour party” are entitled to expect the party to practice what it preaches in terms of fairness and equality.

Allowing Ken to stay flies in the face of those values.

@49 “but it’s an admission that the rules only really apply to the little people.”

Which makes a mockery of Labour’s claim to be ‘on the side of the little people’.

52. Dick the Prick

Whey hey hey – hello Mr/Mrs/Miss Truth. You may like to have a look at the case between Janet Oosterheusen and Mrs Booth. Rules are an irrelevance at best.

53. Chaise Guevara

@ 50

It’s hypocritical, sure.

I remember when the the tories lost the 1997 election and Hamilton and his brown paper bags were exploding in the media, and Hamilton said he was not even a memeber of the Tory party. A tory MP who was not even a member of the party he was standing for?

So message to tory trolls fuck off.

“I don’t actually see how this story is scandalous for anyone other than Labour Party members. Even assuming that a) the rules have been broken and b) the party is going to waive them, surely this is an internal matter?”

Well I’m a member and I’m sick to death of this fatuous egomaniac. There is absolutely no argument against his expulsion other than “too big to fail”. He’s not. His time is past anyway. I don’t believe he is capable of winning in 2012 but I’ve no doubt he can play a big part in helping us lose in 2015. Ken’s “arguments” are pure sophistry. This was deliberate defiance. This is really not a difficult decision at all. If Ed bottles this then the press will have him for breakfast.

Urgh.
Horrid business.

The “too big to fail” comments are unfortunately spot on.
Ken, if deselected, would surely run as an independent. And that would hand it to Boris on a plate.

Urgh.

If I might be allowed a moment’s disloyalty- I bloody wish Oona had won.

57. Chaise Guevara

@ 48

“Inclined to agree, but I think the assumption is that Livingstone is the prefered candidate for those of a liberal-lefty mindset (Lab or not) – although with the rise of the Greens I’m not sure that’s so true these days.”

Even if Ken and Boris were the only two standing, I don’t think it would be fair in this context to call Ken the preferred candidate of, say, a Lib Dem voter who supported him because he was better than the alternative. After all, we’re discussing whether or not Ken will remain the Labour candidate, and that Lib Dem voter might have preferred that Labour field someone else in the first place.

Bleugh, that was wordy. Short version: I’m not expected to stand by my least-worst option.

“Ken, if deselected, would surely run as an independent. ”

If he’s not deselected let’s face it he’ll run as an independent. The question is are we prepared to be blackmailed?

59. Chaise Guevara

Blackmail?

@54 “So message to tory trolls fuck off.”

Message to Labour hypocrites: Not likely while Ken is still your man.

Kinnock (he’s got his party back, you know) was on BBC London just now.

Asked about KL he said: he’s always full of surprises.

Rules? Only for the little people.

Away from the particular Tower Hamlets issue, I can’t help but sympathise with cjcjc‘s position. If Ken has broken the rules – and those rules are just – it wouldn’t be fair to ignore the breach because of his position. His acts should be considered, to ensure that Labour doesn’t favour power over helplessness.

Naturally, the same rationale should be applied to the lies and fraudulence of more iniquitous characters: Blair; Straw; Milliband, perhaps…

Bollocks. Kick him out.

@62 “His acts should be considered, to ensure that Labour doesn’t favour power over helplessness.”

Not if you’re Sunny hundal, it would appear.

So much for principles… Actually let’s be honest, he never had any to begin with.

Wait, the Labour party is suddenly going to remember the rules after letting Frank Field and Alan Milburn stab them in the back for years? Or is it ok if they do it because they’re from the right of the party?

Or how about James Purnell? Why wasn’t he expelled after stabbing the Labour PM in the back last year?

Frankly, I’m not bothered by the outrage from the usual suspects. Labour would be stupid to throw away the Mayoral elections by getting rid of Ken.

Sunder: Surely what you mean is ‘Ken may well employ sophistry to claim that he is not technically in breach of party rules,….

Yes, I’ll accept that point. I meant that is the argument he would use, not that it’s a good one…

“Frankly, I’m not bothered by the outrage from the usual suspects.”

That’s because you don’t care about principles, Sunny.

Which candidates have Frank Field, Alan Milburn and James Purnell campaigned for against Labour?

@65: Sunny, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Wait, the Labour party is suddenly going to remember the rules after letting Frank Field and Alan Milburn stab them in the back for years? Or is it ok if they do it because they’re from the right of the party?

Or how about James Purnell? Why wasn’t he expelled after stabbing the Labour PM in the back last year?

Because none of the above endorsed or campaigned for an opposition candidate at an election? As far as I’m aware, resigning from cabinet doesn’t usually merit being expelled from the party, nor does criticising the leadership – otherwise you’d be on thin ice there already Sunny.

I didn’t realise Purnell had campaigned in the general election against Brown in Fife?

In Ireland it’s called “whataboutery”. Purnell et all as far as I know have broken no rules. If they have you won’t hear me asking for special privileges for them. It’s very simple. Under our rules Livingstone is ineligible for membership. It’s not about left v right but if you want to turn it into that some of us remember just how forgiving the left was in the 90s to returning SDP members. Those seeking to keep Ken need to spell out whether or not the rules should be remained “suggestions” (presumably meaning the other TH members are reinstated) or are they simply arguing for a VIP exemption?

@ 34. Chaise Guevara

Now you’re just playing intellectual literary terrorism amongst one or two other website warriors ! Damned entertaining though !

@ 54 Sally

Are you having a bad booze day ? As usual, you’re forgiven by real Liberals like me and the loony-left ! More importantly, what is your policy / personal position on this subject – without insults to anyone please ?

@71 this is all about a VIP exemption.

A bit like the ‘brown card’ handed to 3rd place Helal Abbas- you won’t hear Hundal complain about that either.

“So message to tory trolls fuck off.”

Perhaps if we ask them very nicely they’ll agree not to shoot at the open goal you want to give them?

Good luck with that.

“Tomorrow, as thousands of public sector workers learn their fates, the one-man scourge of the Tories will not be on a demo, or a picket line, or even in a TV studio. He’ll be in a five-star Hilton hotel on a Mediterranean island giving a paid-for speech to a convention of travel agents.

With exquisite irony, the event is sponsored by none other than the Telegraph Media Group and one of the other speakers is Boris Johnson’s brother (I wish I could say that we’d arranged all this deliberately, but that would be too much.)”

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/andrewgilligan/100059649/ken-livingstone-fights-the-cuts-from-a-sunlounger/

76. Sunder Katwala

So what should the party do? Here are 5 options.

How do you solve a problem like Ken?
http://www.nextleft.org/2010/10/how-do-you-solve-problem-like-ken.html

77. Sunder Katwala

Sorry, it turns out we’ve all got the wrong end of the stick about all of this.

Here is a statement this afternoon from Ken Livingstone:

Ken Livingstone said:

“I am disappointed by the way the NEC handled the selection in Tower Hamlets and I am sure that under Ed Miliband’s leadership things would have been handled differently.

‘However, my position is clear: I fully support Labour candidates in all elections and I am calling for Tower Hamlets residents to use their first preference vote for our candidate Helal Abbas.

‘A second preference should be used for Lutfur Rahman to keep the Tories out.”

Sorry, no it doesn’t.

“‘However, my position is clear: I fully support Labour candidates in all elections and I am calling for Tower Hamlets residents to use their first preference vote for our candidate Helal Abbas.”

That would be the candidate he described yesterday on television as neither credible nor competent. Just as well he supports him though. Imagine how he would describe a candidate he didn’t support.

Some will be more impressed than others by a statement extracted under duress no doubt with his fingers crossed behind his back. He’s a liar and a fraud. I’ve had enough of him. I vote for option 1.

I fully support Labour candidates in all elections and I am calling for Tower Hamlets residents to use their first preference vote for our candidate Helal Abbas.

Has he explained why he was canvassing for his opponent – the only one with a chance of beating Abbas – and not the candidate?

Heh. Controversy over.

And no, I don’t care for people who’ve suddenly found the Labour rule book and are now trolling this blog under anonymous names.

That’s just as well lad, because we certainly don’t care for you x

Well obviously anyone who has a problem with this must be a tory.

84. Chris Baldwin

To be frank, the idea of expelling Ken Livingstone from the party is laughable.

@83 “Well obviously anyone who has a problem with this must be a tory.”

…and a troll!

There is no legitimate place from which to criticise or disagree with Sunny Hundal…

You can disagree all you like ‘The Truth’ – this thread is littered with hysterical outrage by yourself.

Just don’t expect others to pay attention. The points I made in the article above still stand up. And the statement by Ken today confirms he’s staying within the rules.

“To be frank, the idea of expelling Ken Livingstone from the party is laughable.”

Erm, well you do know he was expelled before, don’t you?

Anyway, glad to know he is fully behind the incredible incompetent, to paraphrase his own usage.

Still, hope he enjoys his sojourn in the Med, taking the Telegraph shilling.

No the crisis has passed. The statement clears it all up. He was only out canvassing for second preferences in order to head off the challenge from the tories which was a real danger. In Tower Hamlets. Apparently.

Desperate does not begin to describe it. Trouble with some London members unfortunately is that they sometimes forget that the rest of the country exists. Doesn’t matter if the national party is humiliated so long as we get a respectable 2nd in 2012.

Livingstone’s explanation is clearly a nonsense, given that the Tower Hamlets election is a straight race between Abbas and Rahman. It is, however, a nonsense that is just plausible enough to prevent any action being taken.

A very satisfactory fudge, for connoisseurs of such things.

As Homer might say:

mmmmmmmmm….FUDGE

So, Ken Livingstone is fireproof? He can do and say whatever he likes and knows Labour will let him get away with it?

So, he’s Labour’s best bet for Mayor of London? Oh, dear! That can’t be good, can it?

92. JohnOfEnfield

Far be it from me to get involved in another party’s private grief but aren’t there any points of principle at stake here?

en has got to make it clear he is not campaigning for Lutfur Rahman, and still supports the Labour candidate or suggests to people if your not voting for Laobur then can we have your second choice ,he hasn’t made this clear enough

Tom Harris blog on htis is better

Only problem – the second pref argument is completely dishonest.

Abbas and Rahman are the clear clear frontrunners and will come 1st and 2nd (whichever way round).

So their voters’ second prefs *won’t be counted*.

People in or supporting Rahman’s campaign are, it must be said, dishonest Canutes…

http://trialbyjeory.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/wife-beating-smears-and-non-protests-a-new-low/

@95

So Ken’s candidate is trying to smear the Labour candidate as a wife beater?

[Insert your own punchline]

They’re all being appalling. Anarchy in Tower Hamlets, that’s what I say.

Good Lord, this is about the most corrupt election since Bush/Gore. The ad accusing Abbas of domestic violence was reprinted in a paper – the London Bangla – which promotes Rahman and in which he prints campaign ads…

http://trialbyjeory.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/smears-and-victims-of-poison/

http://www.londonbangla.com/

So, Labour have been sleazy and, it seems, anti-democratic; Rahman appears to be a huckster and the Tory is, well – a Tory. Why would anyone vote?

Don’t understand the fuss. Just decide how many votes you need, divide by twenty (number of names per bedsit.) and start printing. Simples!

Why would anyone vote?

Because the council’s budget is said to be over a billion.
Turnout will be interesting. In the borough, Bangladeshis are a minority, but I think they are better at getting out the vote when there are vested interests.
Which is fair enough and what democracy is supposed to be about.
Still, it could appear divisive when other people in the area don’t really understand the dynamics of what is going on in local politics and who the movers and shakers really are.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Expelling Ken Livingstone would be political suicide for Labour in London http://bit.ly/b4EgJG

  2. Liz K

    RT @libcon: Expelling Ken Livingstone would be political suicide for Labour in London http://bit.ly/b4EgJG

  3. sunny hundal

    Why I think expelling Ken Livingstone would be political suicide for Labour in London http://bit.ly/b4EgJG

  4. Shelly Asquith

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why I think expelling Ken Livingstone would be political suicide for Labour in London http://bit.ly/b4EgJG

  5. Felix Preston

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why I think expelling Ken Livingstone would be political suicide for Labour in London http://bit.ly/b4EgJG

  6. Sunder Katwala

    Have commented further on Ken, Tower Ha and London in @sunny_hundal thread on @libcon http://bit.ly/b4EgJG

  7. Richard Budden

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why I think expelling Ken Livingstone would be political suicide for Labour in London http://bit.ly/b4EgJG

  8. dave m

    @BenCooper86 try this http://bit.ly/bpLbzd unite against the tories

  9. Kerry Abel

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why I think expelling Ken Livingstone would be political suicide for Labour in London http://bit.ly/b4EgJG

  10. Axel Landin

    RT @sunny_hundal: Why I think expelling Ken Livingstone would be political suicide for Labour in London http://bit.ly/b4EgJG

  11. The Labour party rules « Though Cowards Flinch

    […] expert over at Labour Uncut, quoting the paragraph in the rule book under which he wants to see Ken Livingstone expelled: “A member of the party who supports any candidate who stands against an official […]

  12. Pucci Dellanno

    RT @libcon: Expelling Ken Livingstone would be political suicide for Labour in London http://bit.ly/b4EgJG

  13. Get Political Fund » Blog Archive » Expelling Ken Livingstone would be political suicide for Labour in …

    […] Read more: Expelling Ken Livingstone would be political suicide for Labour in … […]

  14. Hopi Sen

    @sunny_hundal outrageous! Surely @alex_hilton merely calling for second prefs, in manner of this man on campaign trail http://t.co/tZ2pSm4Z

  15. Hopi Sen

    @sunny_hundal outrageous! Surely @alexhilton merely calling for second prefs, in manner of this man on campaign trail http://t.co/tZ2pSm4Z

  16. Stace

    This is why people are annoyed with NEC members bandying about the rule book: http://t.co/zQ4dEv4G (the story, not @sunny_hundal, obv!)

  17. Harry Cole

    Here is Labour Party member @sunny_hundal defending Ken for campaigning against Labour. It all makes sense now: http://t.co/Ryq8kt5H

  18. AzulSuenos

    Here is Labour Party member @sunny_hundal defending Ken for campaigning against Labour. It all makes sense now: http://t.co/Ryq8kt5H

  19. Toby Young

    Here is Labour Party member @sunny_hundal defending Ken for campaigning against Labour. It all makes sense now: http://t.co/Ryq8kt5H

  20. Niamh Bolton (Maher)

    Here is Labour Party member @sunny_hundal defending Ken for campaigning against Labour. It all makes sense now: http://t.co/Ryq8kt5H





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