That well known vote winner Neil Kinnock has ridden to Ken’s rescue today by signing a letter demanding Labour fall into line and vote for him. He seems to have changed his tune from 2000 when he lashed out at Ken’s disloyalty, telling Kevin Maguire of the Guardian:
“Ken Livingstone has only ever belonged to one party – the Ken Livingstone party”
Other signatories include Alastair Campbell, who once described Ken as an “egomaniac” and did everything he could to stop him coming to power in 2000. Though plenty of London MPs have signed the letter, it’s interesting to note that neither Diane Abbott or Meg Hillier have done so. Perhaps the two Hackney MPs still remember what their predecessor Brian Sedgemore had to say about Ken:
“Ken is a sad and lonely figure. He continually portrays himself as a victim when he is in fact a destructive manipulator. If you slice him through the middle what you see is a man whose heart does not pump for the Labour party but who is completely obsessed with himself. I don’t see why London has to suffer because he hasn’t fulfilled his ambition to be party leader.”
Meanwhile, as the Standard comes out for Boris, more well-known lefties are running for the hills today. The Indy’s John Rentoul and Dan Hodges have both declared that in this two-horse race it has to be Boris. Peter Hain is leading the public charge against them.
Because he’s never changed sides…
UPDATE: Oh dear Peter. Lets turn to page 159/60 of Hain’s autobiography Outside In:
“I wanted to be effective, to be able to make a real difference. And that meant learning what not to do from Ken Livingstone … he seemed to go out of his way to make enemies.”
A good spot by Though Cowards Flinch.
Only a month ago Ken said he wanted to drop negative campaigning:
I suggest to Boris Johnson therefore that he and I work together to raise the tone and spirit of this election. Let us talk about what really matters to each and every Londoner, and end the X-Factor slug-fest.
We want to concentrate vigorously on those issues that can make Londoners better off over the next month of this campaign.
As you can see Ken’s campaign today paints Boris as an alien blue slug. Not exactly a positive focus on the issues…
I don’t care if Ed Miliband is backing Livingstone . I seriously suggest NO ONE votes for Livingstone in the Mayoral elections
— Lord Sugar (@Lord_Sugar) April 19, 2012
Yesterday’s cack-handed plea by Labour’s campaign supremo Tom Watson for Labour supporters who can’t stand Ken to “hold your nose, vote for Ken” follows on from Labour peers Lord Sugar and Lord Winston expressing anti-Ken sentiments.
Labour have now roped in Oona King, who was once described by Ken as a Blairite “she-devil” to support Ken in a transparently false show of party unity. What Oona really thinks about Ken was revealed before he was selected as the official candidate. She said ‘I don’t think Ken Livingstone is the way to go. He may qualify for Britain’s Got Talent but only on UK Gold’. Not the most ringing endorsement…
— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) April 26, 2012
Guido was intrigued to hear on the grapevine that Tom Watson’s tame attack-puppies at the left-wing union-sponsored website Political Scrapbook can’t stand Ken Livingstone either. He searched their website for evidence of support for Ken and found none – months of anti-Boris material, not one single article so far that is pro-Ken. Last night Guido challenged them on Twitter to back Ken with a bet. They refused to back Ken…
Just when the Mayoral election was getting a little bit dry, the fine people at Oddbins have lined up a special selection of wines relevant to each candidate:
Boris is apparently a Diane de Belgrave Haut-Medoc Bordeaux. “Just like the current Mayor, the wine has been around since 2008, is classic old-school with a posh upbringing and a fruity side” Guido would have gone with Blue Nun…
Thirsty Ken Livingston is paired off with a Cape Chamonix Pinotage. “The perfect wine for Ken must go with newts, carry real weight and also have legs – as it doesn’t look like he is ever going to retire.” He’ll have a crate of it, though surely he’s a Cuban rum?
Paddick is apparently a Berton Paddock Shiraz. The name aside apparently it has “liberal fruity characteristics”. Not your average jungle juice…
You may be able to win these in the caption contest tomorrow. Guido will get back to you on that…
The Beeb and Standard are both running heavily with voter fraud allegations in Tower Hamlets. Ken’s allies in the council have been investigated by the Electoral Commission and today the Met were called in. With just a week to go, this will be one to watch next Thursday…
Labour’s part-time Campaign Chief Tom Watson is clearly regretting his outing on LBC this morning where he said: “Those Lab voters thinking of going to vote for Boris, hold your nose, vote for Ken.” Realising his mistake, Watson rushed to his blog to try to blame his own loose tongue on the vast right-wing conspiracy of a Standard hack tweeting the comment. In justifying his words, however, he has dug himself further into a hole:
“There are a number of people who tell us on the doorstep that they would vote Labour if there was a general election tomorrow but are currently considering voting Conservative because they either a; like Boris Johnson or b; don’t like Ken.”
The Deputy Chairman of the Labour Party, with the responsibility for campaigns, casually concedes that his own voters are not backing their candidate. Stick to the Murdoch-baiting Tom…
UPDATE: In other news Ken is now said to be rowing back from his promise to release full set of earnings signed off by an accountant. Quelle surprise!
UPDATE II: LBC have made the full quote available:
“For once, I’m being totally candid with you. I’m saying to you, those Labour voters that are thinking of going to vote for Boris Johnson, hold your nose, vote for Ken, because that’s the way that you will help Labour. Let me also say, that having worked with Ken Livingstone, looking at his interview in The Guardian this morning, he has a beautiful dog. He’s got a Labrador. I shouldn’t say this, but there is an American maxim that when a politician is in trouble, get him a dog.”
Guido thinks Watson doth protest too much…
What We Learned From the Referendum | FT
Scottish Crisis Moves South | Nick Wood
English Democrats Accidentally Celebrate Yes Victory | Pink News
Union In Its Current Form is Dead | Janan Ganesh
Labour Could Be Split in Two | Sun
Ashcroft Poll: Why Scotland Voted No | Buzzfeed
Boris: Change Barnett Formula | Sun
Cameron is Back | Dan Hodges
What Happens Now | James Kirkup
Cairo of the North | Quentin Letts
Labour are the Biggest Losers | Phil Collins
Diane Abbott on the Daily Politics:
“Labour MPs will unite behind Ed Miliband, once we find out what our policies are.”