Red Ken outrage

M A Jones jones118 at
Thu May 11 00:49:54 MDT 2000

If we have now finished talking about how the magnificent combined sectarian
vote (t + s) = 0.0006% of the total perhaps we can start to address the real
issues faced by Ken Livingstone, the [admittedly disgusting, chauvinist,
opportunist, pro-Nato, Kautskyan, Menshevik, despicable and unworthy]
socialist mayor of London in using his vast popular support to push through
his socialist[ic] programme for public transport in the teeth of the
combined opposition of New Labour and the Tories. This from today's Times:

Leaders unite to block car charges


TONY BLAIR and William Hague combined forces yesterday in a cross-party
effort to thwart Ken Livingstone's plans to charge motorists entering
Central London.
The Prime Minister and Mr Hague indicated that Labour and Conservative
members of the Greater London Assembly would try to prevent the London Mayor
implementing one of his central electoral pledges.

Mr Livingstone's office yesterday contested the idea that an attempt by the
two main parties to form a blocking majority would halt the proposals. A
spokesman said that the mayor could introduce the charges without the
assembly's approval. The two main parties will argue, though, that
congestion charging would form a key part of any mayoral budget, which the
assembly may amend.

At Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, the Tory leader urged Labour to
stick by its manifesto commitment of delaying moves to introduce congestion
charging for at least four years. Mr Blair replied that Labour assembly
members would stick by their pledge.

The issue could lead to friction between the mayor and his deputy, who was
confirmed yesterday as Nicky Gavron, a leading Blairite member of Labour's
nine-strong group of assembly members. She accepted the job only after
receiving a written response from Mr Livingstone to Labour's insistence that
he should not use his office to attack the Government on non-London issues,
and that he should step back from confrontation over funding the
Underground. In a statement, Ms Gavron said: "I could not be deputy mayor
unless Ken had agreed to avoid constant conflict with the Government."

The Conservatives said yesterday they were unlikely to join Mr Livingstone's
cabinet, despite the mayor's attempts to build a broad coalition. Bob Neill,
the Tory group leader in the assembly, said that they would judge each issue
on its merits, and be constructive.

Mark Jones

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