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21st September 2014

Letters

Ken Livingstone: 'Writer is wrong to snub me – and I'm not anti-semitic'

Ken Livingstone in Russell Square

Published: March 26, 2012
By RICHARD OSLEY

MAYORAL election candidate Ken Livingstone claimed this afternoon (Monday) there was nothing anti-semitic in his comments about the likelihood of rich Londoners snubbing Labour at the polls.

Speaking to the New Journal during a campaign event in Russell Square, he said he was surprised by the nature of a hard-hitting article by Guardian columnist Jonathan Freeland published over the weekend in which the writer said he could no longer bring himself to vote for Mr Livingstone because he came across as uncaring towards the Jewish community.

In his column, Mr Freedland said he had been at the private meeting on March 1 during which, it has been claimed, Mr Livingstone suggested rich Jewish residents would not vote for him.

"As it happens I was at that meeting and I can confirm that the former mayor did make precisely that argument, linking Jewish voting habits to economic status, even if he did not baldly utter the words 'Jews are rich', a phrase that would have been additionally offensive," Mr Freedland wrote. The Jewish Chronicle reported last week how a letter of complaint had been sent to Labour leader Ed Miliband following the meeting.

Mr Livingstone denies making the assertion and his team said sensational headlines had not captured his true sentiments, but Mr Livingstone said today he stuck by his view that voting habits were often linked to wealth.

"To be brutally honest, I was surprised at the line he (Jonathan Freedland) took because every psephological study I've seen in the 40 years I've been following politics shows the main factor that determines how people how vote is their income level," he said. "And it's not anti-semitic to say that."

Privately, Labour officials often, when asked about any negative comment pieces or news coverage in the Guardian towards the party, make reference to the paper's decision to encourage readers to vote for the Liberal Democrats ahead of the 2010 general election. But the issue of Labour making sure its traditional, core support come out to vote on May 3 in a close contest with Boris Johnson has been thrown into sharp focus by niggly stories in recent days about how members are supposedly unenthused by Mr Livingstone's campaign. His running mate for deputy, Mayor Val Shawcross, said today that she "did not recognise" the picture conjured up by polls claiming 31 per cent of Labour supporters would not be voting for Mr Livingstone this time.

Mr Freedland wrote in his article that he did not want to see Mr Johnson re-elected but added: "People will wrestle with their own dilemmas. Some will conclude that only Livingstone's policy positions on transport or housing matter, I'm afraid I've reached a different conclusion."

LISTEN TO KEN LIVINGSTONE TALKING ABOUT JONATHAN FREEDLAND'S ARTICLE TODAY...

SEE THURSDAY'S NEW JOURNAL TO SEE WHAT KEN LIVINGSTONE PROMISED DURING A 'SOAP BOX' SPEECH IN CAMDEN.

Comments

Ken livingstone

There seems to be a media frenzy to get Ken Livingstone. I think he's a great man, who truly understands the issues that affect Londoners such as transport. And yet, because of a few comments, taken entirely out of context, the media declares that he is an antisemitic bigot. Well, they're wrong and it would be a tragedy if Boris got back.

I woulod be curious as tom

I woulod be curious as tom what evidence you would point to that indicates, in any way, thatb he is not an anti-semitic bigot. Time after time, rub him the wrong way and the bile oozes out. He shows every sign of loathing what he would call Zionists yet bites his lips because he still wants their votes.

Ken Living Stone

Its not a few comments, there have many both over the years and now during campaigning too. The fact is Ken makes a bee-line to mosques and has meeting after meetings with Muslim community, why of the 5.2 Million London voters 1.2M are Muslims and the highest voter turnout at 72% of which 60% is Labour nearly 22% higher then general public so Ken bagged around 700,000 votes, so all Ken needs now based on 2008 voter turnout is another 700,000, which is easy as there are around 500,000 Labour and Union members in the public services. So the maths work Ken.
His team know, even if there is 100% Jewish voter turnout, that's still only 190,000 votes lost.
The fault line in London Faith communities Tamil's, Sikh's, Hindu's,Christians, Jewish who's total make up 1.2 voters of London but there voter turnout is around 26% less the half of the Muslim community and THUS Ken is not visiting there places of worship's as he is doing with visits to mosques. It is these communities which are allowing Ken take control city hall and thus ensuring London beacon of Islam.
Unless these communities also start voting in mass numbers no political party will care for there needs, perhaps this is thus a golden opportunity to tell WE do care and take ownership though the ballot box on 3rd May.

Ken and Gaffs

This is very interesting, I think I probably still support Livingstone; here are some of my thoughts -- http://olivermeredithcox.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/ken-livingstone-only-j...

re: So many poor Jews in London

What is a shame is that fact that there are many poor Jews in London who get hidden by the cheap stereotype of all Jews are economically alright. I remember as a Jewish Youth Worker a parent brought her kids to our youth club with a borrowed car. She was a single mum living in council accommodation with her two kids in one bedroom in two single beds put together. She slept in the middle in the crack between the two beds, and suffered terribly with back problems because of it. Just one example amongst many.

Why can't he ever apologise, or at least accept the communication of his views are poor at times.

Wrong argument

I am a natural Ken voter. Done so for years, but no longer. Ken does not address the issues, like a rather poor politician he erects strawmen arguments, thus avoiding having to deal with the nub of Freedland's argument: "The case against Ken Livingstone is not that he is some crude racist. It is rather that, when it comes to this one group of Londoners and their predicaments, their hopes and anxieties, he simply doesn't care. " To me, Ken comes over as caring, except when one group of Londoners are involved. One group. I hate the Tories. I loath Boris, but I can't bring myself to vote for Ken. I will vote for any Labour GLA candidate, but not Ken. Not good enough Ken.

Ken Livingstone

I agree with your comments and will not be voting for Ken as I have previously . The real problem is he lacks serious judgement . He seems incapable of understanding what his comments really imply . So using terms like " riddled with them ".as he did recently referring to the number of gays in the Tory party was completely inappropriate language , equally making comments about
rich Jews and not recognising the underlying meanings that this kind of language can invoke. He seems to lack breadth and depth of intellect and really just seeks power . Maybe he is looking closely at the pay salary of a mayoral position.since his tv apearances for Iranian government tv perhaps have dried up .

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