March 01, 2006

Livingstone suspends suspension

Well the High Court did anyway. Ken Livingstone as had his suspension from office delayed "amid claims of a vendetta" (The Guardian). Further reports in The Telegraph and The Scotsman.

The Guardian also has an article by the man himself here.
However, there has been an unstated allegation in this case: the implicit suggestion that my comment was anti-semitic. It is not explicitly stated because it cannot be substantiated. But the innuendo is used to give weight to charges otherwise too trivial to merit this gigantic fuss.

The truth is that I have appointed black, Asian and Jewish people to the highest levels of my administration and waged an unrelenting war on every manifestation of racism, anti-semitism and every other kind of discrimination. Since I have been mayor, racial and religiously motivated incidents in the capital have declined by more than a third. Of course, there is still a problem. A Jewish person is three times more likely to suffer a racist attack than a "white European". A person of African, Caribbean or south Asian descent is 10 times more likely to suffer a racist attack. And an Arab person is 11 times more likely to suffer a racist attack in London today. But significant progress has been made against the trend that is taking place elsewhere in Europe.

Associated Newspapers has always led the charge against the policies that confront racism and anti-semitism. It praised the Blackshirts in the 1930s, and admits that as recently as the retirement party of the last editor of the Daily Mail, two of its staff dressed in Nazi uniforms and were not asked to leave.

The Board of Deputies, which referred me to the Standards Board, has at all times protested that this issue is just about how I treated one reporter who happens to be Jewish. I have never believed a word of it. Some time before this incident was blown up out of all proportion, the Board of Deputies asked to meet me to urge me to tone down my views on the Israeli government.

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