James Forsyth

Ken’s identity crisis

Ken's identity crisis
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Jonathan Freedland’s column in The Guardian today, explaining why he can’t vote for Ken Livingstone, is a remarkably direct piece of journalism. Freedland states that he ‘can no longer do what I and others did in 2008, putting to one side the statements, insults and gestures that had offended me, my fellow Jews and — one hopes — every Londoner who abhors prejudice’.

Now, as Paul Goodman argues, we shouldn’t overstate the importance of a traditionally Labour supporting Guardian columnist coming out against Ken Livingstone. But Freedland’s reasons for doing so are ones that, I suspect, will resonate with a significant section of opinion.

The issue with Livingstone is that his politics are sectional. They are based around putting together an electoral coalition that is held together not by principle but by identity politics.