Friday, 19 August 2011

Ken's Little Joke.

Yesterday Londoner’s were greeted with the following headlines:

Boris just like Hitler says Ken
– The Sun
'Ken Livingstone accuses Boris Johnson of being evil’
Daily Mirror
Boris Johnson is Hitler, says Ken Livingstone’ – Evening Standard

All quote the following from the Press Association

"It's a simple choice between good and evil - I don't think it's been so clear since the great struggle between Churchill and Hitler."

Here is the full quote from Amber Elliott’s original article:

‘Asked why people should vote for him, Ken jokes: "It's a simple choice between good and evil – I don't think it's been so clear since the great struggle between Churchill and Hitler… The people that don't vote for me will be weighed in the balance, come Judgement Day. The Archangel Gabriel will say, ' You didn't vote for Ken Livingstone in 2012. Oh dear, burn forever. Your skin flayed for all eternity.'… I'll come round with a serious pitch nearer the time."

Two reactions; the first is barely worth repeating but, “don’t mention the war” is probably one of the first rules of media. Ken, you were stitched up, but you are dealing with a press pack that didn’t see phone hacking as unethical so what did you expect.

The other is the old moan about the quality of media debate in this country. Most commentators I know read the quote tutted a bit and got on with their lives, but there are many journalists whose ideology weighs heavier on them than the truth. Even though they realise the story would be debunked in about five minutes they know that today tens of thousands of Londoners probably saw the headline but didn’t see what was behind it, so job done.

The real story about Boris Johnson “demanding” David Cameron reverse his police cuts even though it is Boris who is responsible for these cuts and started to make them during a time when his budget was going up?

Well that’s a bit more nuanced, a harder case to make in a headline, more difficult to boil down into an easy argument, so it’s a story that remains untold. It’s been said here before but if Ken wants to win London, we need less jokes and a serious campaign about the damage Boris Johnson’s decisions have done London in the past four years.


Rob Marchant said...

Yes, it was a joke and he was misquoted.

But a serious candidate for London mayor would not be making jokes that *could* be misinterpreted and twisted. The last thing we need is a candidate who leaves hostages to fortune like that interview.

I am not even going to start on the sections of London society, like its Jewish community and most of Tower Hamlets Labour Party, that he has alienated.

Malcolm Parker said...

I disagree entirely. I doubt very much Ken had even the slightest doubt that his comments would be shredded by the right-wing media because his comments and actions always are regardless of any other factor. I think Ken's expectation was that nobody outside the right-wing media and the those who think what you say is much more important than what you do would bother to look at it twice. Labour lost the last election because instead of doing what the Tories do - which is whatever they bloody well want to and stick two fingers up at anyone who doesn't share their opinion. Labour will never win by sitting on the fence and trying not to say things which might upset people.