more on road-rage Ken

David Welch david.welch at SPAMst-edmund-hall.oxford.ac.uk
Thu May 25 04:30:56 MDT 2000




On Thu, 25 May 2000, M A Jones wrote:
>
> It may be true that Ken is in the pockets of City finance types (it isn't).
> But the important fact is how he is perceived and why on the basis of those
> popular perceptions, he was elected with such a huge plurality despite the
> vigorous opposition of all the major parties: during his election campaign
> whenever he appeared on round table TV talks, for instance, what happened
> was that the Labour, Liberal and Tory candidates spent the whole time
> slagging Ken off and tryiong to bury him in one common stream of vitriol and
> anti-red hysteria. This unpleasant spectacle was repeated time after time
> amid a rising choris of Tory-tablod red-baiting and vicious smears.
>
> Actually, to argue the way 'Red-Rebel' does is objectively to do the same
> thing, ie, to take your cue from the Daily Telegraph, the Times and the
> Tories, and do everything you can to deepen public disillusion with the
> political process. Is there some kind of collusion between the 0.006% S+T
> tendency, and the far right, to destroy the public spaces of bourgeois
> democracy? If so, then they are welcome to each other, but one is forced to
> wonder what's in it for the S+T tendency; at least wealthy people have an
> obvious reason (self-interest) to do what they do, but to bash Ken if you
> are poor, black, unemployed, don't own a car, or are a self-confessed
> socialist of some kind is, well, lunacy actually. Certifiable.
>
Well yes, but the collusion to destroy bourgeois democracy (by
substituting a consensus-based technocratic mode of decision making) is
one that has been embraced by Ken Livingstone. After all despite their
'vigorous opposition' all the parties in the London Assembly (except the
Conservatives) have accepted places in Ken Livingstone's administration.
Even Tony Blair has made up with Ken. Judging by their post-election
behaviour the 'vitriol and anti-red hysteria' only served to disguise how
close the positions of the mayoral candidates and their parties were.

As for 'popular perceptions', the most striking thing about the London
Assembly was how unpopular they were, less than 30% of the population
voted. Clearly public disillusionment with the political process is
already endemic without the help of the revolutionary left. What should
also be clear is that Ken Livingstone's victory is symptomatic of this
disillusionment. A politician with few apparent convictions can easily
exploit the unfocused disenchantment among Labour's middle class
supporters and the small turnout to win.








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