Ken Livingstone Is the Wrong Choice
Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 24th September, 2010
As was widely predicted, Ken Livingstone has beaten Oona King to become Labour’s candidate for London Mayor in 2012. I have shared platforms with Ken several times, as well as taking part in joint photo-ops, and have always found him personally agreeable. But I know from political friends and colleagues — including many inside the Labour Party — that he can be a hard street-fighter as well as a cheeky chappie. One only has to think of the way he ousted Andrew McIntosh as Leader of the Labour Group on the GLC in 1981 to understand how ruthless he can be. But that’s not the reason I am disappointed that Labour has gone for Ken again in 2012. He is a 20th century politician and what we need in London is fresh vision. That’s one reason why Boris Johnson won in 2008. People were tired of Ken and wanted a change. I don’t think he will make a dramatic comeback. Besides, Oona King would have given Labour a very different face in the capital. And even if I don’t agree with everything she has done — for example, backing Tony Blair over the Iraq War — I would have given her my second preference vote. With Ken as the Labour candidate, however, that will now go to Boris instead.