Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Rulebook

A good way to judge a politician is by what his opponents say about him. Ken Livingstone has done well by this test for many years - whether it was being attacked for the 'loony' idea that gay people should be treated equally back in the 1980's, or more recently criticised for promoting 'class warfare' by people who live in Chelsea and drive big cars during the debate on expanding the congestion charge zone.

Luke Akehurst believes that it was the wrong decision to readmit Ken to the Labour Party. The news that Ken has won his case in the High Court leads Luke to return to this theme with possibly the feeblest criticism of any senior Labour politician that I can remember (though, to be fair, it does no more than to echo the criticism that Save the Labour Party made of Hazel Blears becoming Chair of the Labour Party):

"If [Ken] was a councillor (and if he was his comments would have received less publicity and hence damaged the Party less) they would be likely to have resulted in a Labour Party disciplinary investigation. That may have cleared him but at least it would have looked into the matter.

But, as with his rulebook-bending readmission to the Labour Party without serving the 5 year membership ban for standing against a Labour candidate, there is one Rulebook for Ken and another for the rest of us who hold public office, and indeed the wider membership.

Ken may have won the election to be Mayor of London. Twice. He may have won the court case in the High Court. He may be the most popular Labour politician in London. But, comrades, all is not lost. For there is still the Rulebook, and the Labour Party internal disciplinary investigation." [I may have made the last bit up]

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