May 5, 2012

Another day, another chapter…

After a long and colourful (albeit only the colour red) political career, has Ken Livingstone finally hung up his political boots? As a result of his loss in the London elections, Ken announced that his 2012 election campaign to become London Mayor will be his last.

In what must undoubtedly be a sad day for both Mr Livingstone and his political opponents, the man who stood up to Margaret Thatcher, and lived to tell the tale, may now sit down and add an annex to his recent autobiography.

For many maybe ‘Red Ken’ has become symbolic of old London. As leader of the GLC he was the pioneer of London Mayor standing up for the beliefs of a City that he truly cared about. It was fitting that he should become the first London Mayor, in 2000, standing as an Independent and have his chance to truly demonstrate that belief. Gaining increased respect from politicians, and voters alike, he was accepted back into the Labour Party and held the position in 2004. In 2008 and again in 2012, he has pushed Boris Johnson to the limit (in more ways than one) but failed to regain his treasured position.

This decline in voter’s popularity may well be a direct response to the beliefs that made him. ‘Old’ Labour has long since died, social and sexual equality have now run out of control, the working class man no longer wants to ‘work’. Over 30 years the world has become based on individuals, selfish and self-centred, while Ken stood for something far more communal and social. The people he fought for by race, sexuality and class have turned their backs while others believe that the scales of equality are now biased to minorities and the poor. Ken has done his work but others who objected to his stance have maybe now picked up the mantle and executed it without the commonsense considerations.

Far from being the end of Ken, this may just be yet another chapter. Already operating as an after-dinner speaker, he will undoubtedly continue to offer his political views across a spectrum of functions and media. While so many politicians have become politically correct, Ken Livingstone’s brand of politics have become a dying breed.

Outspoken, no-nonsense and direct can hardly be terms you’d apply to the ‘modern’ politician. Unfortunately, in a world where, increasingly, people don’t want to be told what to do, or give consideration to the truth, the spin-doctors have put Mr Livingstone out of business. Some will cheer, some will be sad, many obviously don’t care but Ken Livingstone has made his mark on the history of London.

Last updated: May 5, 2012 at 10:56 am