David Blackburn

Livingstone the insurgent

Livingstone the insurgent
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Ken Livingstone’s long reign as a Labour London Mayor was predicated on his supposed insurgency against New Labour’s orthodoxy. Well, he remains intent on dissociating himself from his party. For instance today, he has endorsed Eric Pickles’ abolition of the Audit Commission. ‘This is one Tory cut I support,’ he said. This contradicts John Denham’s position.

Perhaps Livingstone recognises that Labour cannot give the public sector unqualified support; there are fat cats protecting vested interests in Whitehall, just as there are in the City. Livingstone scents capital in abolishing a public body that wants to pay its chairman £260,000 when ordinary voters are struggling with the bills and the Evening Standard is running a dispossessed fund. Labour may be out of touch, but Livingstone, ever the realist as well as a populist, is not.  Having said that, I’ve not yet heard a Labour politician condemn Bob Crow’s 12 percent pay rise.