Will the First Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, meet the same fate as the First Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, at the hands of the right-wingers?
The first Mayor of London and the left-wing Labour stalwart has branded the charge against him by Labour Party as “political”. He said, “it is unfortunate that Labour Party officials are pursuing this disciplinary action against me, particularly in such a partisan way”.
Ken has publicly said that “only a biased or rigged jury” would conclude he breached party rules ahead of his suspension hearing tomorrow over anti-Semitism allegations that many believe were part of Blairite/Tory stitch-up against him.
The Cost of Speaking Truth to Power
Ken Livingstone said:
‘I have broken no Labour Party rule. I am being attacked by the right-wing of the Labour Party because I support Palestinian human rights and strongly back our Leader Jeremy Corbyn. There is no real evidence against me so hopefully the Labour panel will dismiss the charge against me. Only a biased and rigged jury could find against me.’
Referring to the witch-hunt against him by right-wingers in Labour party and their acolytes, Ken has said that committing extensive resources has been hugely wasteful of Labour’s resources who helped prepare a more than 450-page dossier of material to attack him.
In his robust and extensive 17-page reply to the party’s NCC, which will decide whether to expel Ken – who has been a member of the Labour party since March 1968.
Even if you don’t agree with Ken’s politics, one can’t deny that he is one of rarest breeds of politicians left in the world who continue to speak truth to power, has always been against any kind of racism, is a true long-standing friend of our Jewish community, is against Israeli Government policy of illegal settlements, an unapologetic supporter of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice and has an uncanny ability to connect with ordinary Londoners regardless of background, colour, gender or creed.
Anti-Semitism Charge Thrown Out but Blairites Carry on regardless
Ken Livingstone denies breaking any Labour Party rule. He is not being accused of anti-Semitism at tomorrow’s Labour Party National Constitution Committee (NCC) hearing. However, some of his detractors are trying to smear him as such. Ken Livingstone has been falsely accused of claiming that Hitler was a Zionist – something he neither believes nor would say.
In an interview in 2016, Ken Livingstone was asked a question relating to the legality of what Hitler did in Germany. Ken briefly responded about events over the years 1932 to 1945. In his remarks, he referenced the period when the Nazi government and German Zionists had an agreement (The 1933 Transfer Agreement) over the emigration of Jews to Palestine. This led to his suspension from the party.
Ken’s original academic-esque remarks were probably a little bit without context and details given that he was giving a live interview with a tight timeframe and quick-fire questions but he has repeatedly said he had no intention to cause offence and was sorry if his remarks did so but perhaps that has never been the real reason for a witch-hunt against him.
Immediately after the original allegations, on 30 April 2016, Ken was reported and recorded by the BBC when he said “embittered old Blairite MPs started accusing the Left candidate… it’s been whipped up”
Ken’s agonising suspension from the Labour Party membership for the past 11 months has significantly breached any normal understanding of natural justice.
But tomorrow (30 March 2017) the veteran politician and a Labour stalwart Ken Livingstone will be hurled before the Labour Party’s National Constitutional Committee (NCC) to answer the charge that he engaged in conduct ‘grossly detrimental’ to the Party when he publicly defended the Labour Party against charges of anti-Semitism in 2016.
The Tories, Blue Labour and other opponents of left-wing Labour and its Leader Jeremy Corbyn, have been trying to falsely depict Ken, the Labour Party, and its Leader as anti-Semitic.
The Idiotic and Dangerous Antics by John Mann
He was then set up in a carefully planned stunt by a right-wing/Blairite Labour John Mann MP who swore (f******) at Ken while Ken was on the phone doing a live radio interview with the LBC. Ken tried to calmly explain while trying to put the host presenter on hold but Mann carried on harassing Ken.
Labour Party Needs to Come Clean
Ken was doing what he has always done – to defend the Labour party, to defend the Labour movement, to defend Jeremy Corbyn and his values.
Ken did not breach any Labour Party rule – simply expressed his beliefs and opinions, which as a Labour Party member he is entitled to do. But it seems Labour procedures, from purges to secret start chamber treatments are becoming one too many to hide and defend.
Refusal To Be Transparent
The Labour Party have refused to hold this hearing in public, despite the request of Ken Livingstone’s lawyers.
In doing so, Labour’s NCC is following the footsteps of Tower Hamlets Labour Party, John Biggs and North Korean model of governance.
What have you got to hide, NCC?
Michael Mansfield QC and Imran Khan to Represent Ken
Defending Ken Livingstone at the hearing will be the barrister Michael Mansfield QC. Mr Mansfield is President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers and is well-known for representing a series of high profile miscarriage of justice cases in the 1980s, and many families over the last 40 years seeking justice for fatalities at the hands of the state, right through to Hillsborough.
Ken Livingstone’s solicitor is Imran Khan, well known for representing the family of Stephen Lawrence.
Overwhelming Jewish Support for Ken
Five Jewish members of the Labour Party are appearing before the Labour Party NCC hearing, to defend Ken Livingstone.
Former member of Labour’s National Executive Committee Walter Wolfgang, who will be a witness for Ken Livingstone, said: ‘As a Jewish member of the Labour Party, who escaped Nazi Germany in 1937, I take the issue of anti-Semitism extremely seriously. Ken Livingstone has an outstanding record of fighting against racism and anti-Semitism. This hearing into Ken’s actions is a travesty. ‘
Diana Neslen, also a witness for Ken Livingstone, said: ‘I am a British Jew with experience of violent anti Semitism against my own family and challenge the lazy assumption that support for Israel and being Jewish are synonymous. In fact it is not helpful for the interests of Jewish people to be identified with the present policies of the State of Israel. And it is profoundly wrong to label as anti-Semites those who support the Palestinians. I did not find Ken Livingstone’s remarks either offensive or anti Semitic.‘
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, a further witness for Ken Livingstone said: ‘Ken Livingstone is being pilloried because he is a prominent figure on the left of the Labour Party who has actively defended it from attacks based on false allegations of anti-Semitism. As a Jewish person who supports Palestinian human rights, I reject the notion that criticism of Israel and Zionism is necessarily anti-Semitic. Those who allege anti-Semitism against Ken Livingstone discredit the term. His track record in public office is a clear testament to his commitment to supporting the Jewish community and fighting racism in all its forms, including anti-Semitism. ‘
Full supporting statements for Ken from five long-serving Jewish Labour members can be read here Statements from five witnesses being called to the hearing – supporting Ken Livingstone
Do the Right Thing
In fact, the Labour party should be celebrating Ken’s achievements.
Labour party ought to be publicly proud of his outstanding services for almost half a century for the party – the right-wing haters should hang their heads in shame for this personal witch-hunt against Ken Livingstone.
Like Lutfur, Ken deserves an apology from Labour Party rather than smear campaigns.