What a load of bollocks!

Right, so Ken’s up before the beak today (The Standards Board) over his spat with a journo from the Evening Standard, which seems to be a perfect excuse for the Grauniad to go in crap reporting mode.

Here’s how the Graun reported this story back in February…

“Ken Livingstone has launched an extraordinary tirade against an Evening Standard reporter, comparing him to a “concentration camp guard” and branding his paper “a load of scumbags and reactionary bigots”.

The mayor of London told the reporter to “work for a paper that doesn’t have a record of supporting fascism” – a reference to the Standard’s sister paper, the Daily Mail, which flirted with fascism in the 1930s.

Mr Livingstone made his remark that the reporter was “just like a concentration camp guard” after being told that the journalist was Jewish.”

And today we find them reporting a claim by Tim Morshead, the ‘ethical standards officer’ presenting the case against Ken that the journalist in question – Oliver Finegold – was ‘shocked and offended’.

However, this an actual transcript of the exchange between Livingstone and Finegold.

Finegold: Mr Livingstone, Evening Standard. How did tonight go?

Livingstone: How awful for you. Have you thought of having treatment?

Finegold: How did tonight go?

Livingstone: Have you thought of having treatment?

Finegold: Was it a good party? What does it mean for you?

Livingstone: What did you do before? Were you a German war criminal?

Finegold: No, I’m Jewish, I wasn’t a German war criminal and I’m actually quite offended by that. So, how did tonight go?

Livingstone: Arr right, well you might be [Jewish], but actually you are just like a concentration camp guard, you are just doing it because you are paid to, aren’t you?

Finegold: Great, I have you on record for that. So, how was tonight?

Livingstone: It’s nothing to do with you because your paper is a load of scumbags and reactionary bigots.

Finegold: I’m a journalist and I’m doing my job. I’m only asking for a comment.

Livingstone: Well, work for a paper that doesn’t have a record of supporting fascism.

Notice something interesting here – Finegold comments that he’s ‘actually quite offended’ when Ken asks him whether he used to a German War Criminal before joining a Standard – a reference to the Daily Mail’s support for fascism during the 1930’s – a comment made before Ken was made aware that Finegold is Jewish.

Following the ‘concentration camp guard’ comment, which is the one most at issue, Finegold reacts by saying:

“Great, I have you on record for that. So, how was tonight?”

Not much sign of his being shocked and offended there, is there? In fact his sole concern would clearly appear to be getting the story – just doing his job…

…like Ken suggested.

A view further reinforced by his reply to Ken’s comment that:

“It’s nothing to do with you because your paper is a load of scumbags and reactionary bigots.”

To which Finegold replies:

“I’m a journalist and I’m doing my job. I’m only asking for a comment.”

Yeah, sure – the man is totally shocked and offended here isn’t he?

There’s a bit more to this story that doesn’t appear to be widely reported.

This incident took place following an event marking the 2oth anniversary of Chris Smith coming out a nd becoming the UK’s first openly gay MP.

Only a few days earlier, Smith – who’d retired from politics and public life by this point – was pretty much forced into a making a public announcement of his HIV status after a newspaper had made it known that it intended to reveal this information to the public.

Which newspaper?

Why, the Evening Standard, of course.

I smell the distinct stench of hypocrisy, don’t you?

  • I find it astounding that Livingstone, an experienced politician, should use such terminology in the first place. The journalist could obviously scent a story and has ensured it remain in the public eye. Livingstone has betrayed his roots and has acted in a very strange manner. At least he was sober this time and didn’t physically assault anyone. Or was that the fault of the Evening Standard as well?

  • Katherine

    WWD, why has he betrayed his roots? Acting in a very strange manner couldn’t be classifed as abnormal for Ken surely. Sounds rather as if you don’t like Ken and have thus decided to support the Evening Standard, rather than looking at the facts of the matter themselves.

    I didn’t vote for Ken, don’t read and have never read the Evening Standard so know next to nothing about them. The whole thing is complete media-driven nonsense

  • Unity

    What concerns me most here is the role of the Standards Board.

    While it is right that an independent body should exist to investigate allegations of corruption and such like, cases such as this one, which hinge on whether a comment made by an elected official is appropriate in the context of their public office are best dealt with through the ballot box and not by a tribunal of unelected bureacrats and functionaries.

    If people are unhappy with Ken’s comments then the time and place to register their displeasure is the next Mayoral elections where they have the right to vote for a candidate who’s opinions they are happy with.

    That’s democracy.

  • This whole thing has got to be politically motivated. There is apparently a 12 second gap on the tape which has been taped over, where Ken was allegedly swore at by Finegold.

    Look at Ken’s opening statement in the conversation, it’s obvious from this that there was a lot more said BEFORE this extract.

    If Ken is suspended for this media furore it will be a travesty of democracy.