Dear Ken

Dear Ken,

I’m fucking proud you were the last politician of the Thatcher era to survive into our own

I’m fucking proud you beat Mandelson to the NEC elections in 1997

I’m fucking proud you’re the only Labour politician to feature on a Blur track

I’m fucking proud you stood up to the a rigged mayoral candidate selection process in 2000 and then won

I’m fucking proud at how gallant you were in victory and your kind words for Frank Dobson, the man with the most thankless task in London that year

I’m fucking proud you pushed through the congestion charge for London and it actually fucking worked on the day it started

I’m fucking proud you got back into the Labour party, got Blair to grovel, and fought to a second term as London’s mayor

I’m fucking proud of the humanitarian and open-minded spirit you envisaged the 2012 London Olympics being

I’m really fucking proud of the solemn, defiant and above all non-judgemental speech you made after the July 7th bombings, the day after we won the Games, far better than a thousand words from Blair or anyone else

I’m fucking proud that despite a limited brief, under your watch you’ve got improvements on the Tube, miles more buses at affordable prices, Crossrail and the London Overground, and Trafalgar Square as a clean & amenable civic plaza. Not to mention the encouragement of art & music to London’s streets

I’m not fucking proud that you got chummy with gay-hating fuckwit Yusuf al-Qaradawi

I’m not fucking proud you got yourself in that stupid row with Oliver Finegold when a simple apology and admitting you made an error would have solved it in no time at all

I’m not fucking proud you and Ian Blair are such good mates, either

I’m totally fucking proud that tonight, despite how New Labour fell to third place and 24% of the national vote, you got a bigger percentage of the first ballot vote than you did in 2004

You had your flaws, and a multiplicity of enemies, and you could have done better in acknowledging & confronting both. But your bloody-mindedness worked for you as well when in office, and over the eight years, you did a good job overall. It’s why I voted for you. And yet you still lost. But as upset as I am at the fuckwit they got to replace you, I’m still fucking proud of the job you did. And so are many of us in London.

Don’t let defeat deter you – do stick around, and please find a job where you do what you do best – be competently effective doing important shit and annoying your opponents who obsess over the inconsequential. London will be all the poorer if you don’t.

8 thoughts on “Dear Ken

  1. Dunno about Ian Blair but Ken had his reasons for the other two things. Firstly the Muslim guy is an expert in such matters (women and clothing in Islam):
    Quoting wikipedia:
    “Livingstone became involved in a major dispute with Peter Tatchell, who had previously supported him, when he invited the Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi to a conference on the wearing of the hijab by female students in July 2004. The conference was called following the French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools, which particularly affected Muslim girls. Peter Tatchell, who had stood as an independent Livingstone supporter in the 2000 elections, strongly criticised the invitation because of al-Qaradawi’s support for “female genital mutilation, wife-beating, the execution of homosexuals in Islamic states, the destruction of the Jewish people, the use of suicide bombs against innocent civilians and the blaming of rape victims who do not dress with sufficient modesty”.[73] Livingstone defended the invitation on grounds of Qaradawi’s eminence as “one of the most authoritative Muslim scholars in the world today” who “has done most to combat socially regressive interpretations of Islam on issues like women’s rights and relations with other religions”. He also published a dossier giving a rebuttal to Tatchell.[74];[75]

    According to Le Monde diplomatique, Livingstone had requested a report to inform himself on al-Qaradawi before his visit. After reading the study, he concluded “nearly all of the lies distorting al-Qaradawi’s statements came from the MEMRI institute, which pretends to be an institute of objective research. However, we found out that the MEMRI had been founded by a former Mossad officer, who systematically distorts not only al-Qaradawi’s statements, but what many other Muslim scholars say. In most of the cases, disinformation is total, and this is why I published this study.”[76]

    Peter Tatchell formed part of a coalition of some London-based community groups which objected to al-Qaradawi, but whom Livingstone refused to meet. The Lesbian and Gay Coalition against Racism issued a statement of support for Livingstone signed, among others, by Ben Summerskill of Stonewall and Linda Bellos, which cited his record of support for gay rights “irrespective of the differing views over his meeting with the Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi”.[77] The row went on for many months, with Livingstone insistent that the mayor of a major diverse city had a duty to maintain close relationships with all faith groups even if he disagreed with some of their views.”

    Also he was right not to apologise see:

    Also, doctorvee, Dave Rowntree wasn’t a Labour politician when the songs were written but nice try lol!

  2. I’m going to be ultra-pedantic – it’s not just that Dave wasn’t a Labour politician when he played with Blur, but he doesn’t feature on every single Blur track – “You’re So Great” has no percussion line.

  3. I was so sure that some Ken-hating, LOLBoris types would come into the comments of this post and be obnoxious. It restores a bit of my faith in human nature to see that the real controversy has involved being pedantic about an indie band. Good work, everybody.

  4. Should buses *really* be measured in “miles”?

    I know that – if one keeps a fish tank – you have to calculate “total fish inches per gallon” — as I understand it, this means that one long eel would replace (say) three shorter fish.

    But I hadn’t understood that there was a “miles of bus per city” equivalent.

    Your metric explains the evolutionary pressure on buses to be longer (or – more accurately – for their longer offspring to survive).

    Thank you.

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