Friday, October 20, 2006

Livingston: a judge gets it right

There are times when I am reminded to be very grateful that we still live in a country with an independent judiciary. From time to time our judges manage to display that rarest of qualities - common sense.

The judgement quashing the suspension of Ken Livingston as Mayor of Longon was right. The judge responsible correctly pointed out that Ken Livingston's remarks comparing a Jewish journalist to a concentration camp guard were foolish and that the Mayor should have apologised. He added that Ken Livingston had brought himself into disrepute.

But since the remarks were made when as Livingston was leaving a private party in the evening, and quite clearly "off duty", the judge ruled that it was not proven that he had brought his office as Mayor into disprepute. His suspension was disproportionate and was therefore quashed.

Let me make clear that I do not for one millisecond defend what Ken Livingston said. Comparing a journalist to a concentration camp guard was tasteless and anyone with an ounce of sensitivity would have apologised when he was told that the person concerned was Jewish. Livingston's behaviour fell short of what people in public life should aspire to.

But what kind of robot has never said anything stupid in their life? Suspending someone from their job because they make a spectacularly tactless comment on their way home from a party takes us towards 1984 - and if anyone is to punish Ken Livingston for that, it should be the voters of London at the next mayoral elections.


Anonymous said...

Speak for yourself , I have never once said anyhting that wasn`t the purest reasonableness....ahem

I think you are right but in an unprovable and pointless sense I believe that Ken Livingstone was speaking not just for himself but for the left in general who excuse anti semitism disgracefuly. Would he have a insulted a black man on the basis of his slave forefathers?

I think not .

Why are 400,000 black African Christians ignored by the left who jump on Israel for defending its border in a skirmish costing 1800 lives. There is more to this than just "common sense". there is a dark agenda that has left the Jews of Lonodn suffering an astonishing upsurge of attacks and abuse.

Anonymous said...

I mean in Sudan of course

Chris Whiteside said...

It is certainly true that there are some people on the left who are astonishingly tolerant of antisemitism.

The nearest I ever got to making a trot apologise to me followed his accusation that we tories were all racists who would never dream of promoting a member of an ethnic minority. I pointed out that there were five Jews in the cabinet (This was in Maggie Thatcher's time.) Amazingly, having been accusing us of racism in his previous breath, the guy promptly responded that "the Jews are all capitalist bastards."

When I pointed out that this was a racist comment, he looked as if he had been shot in the stomach before he had the grace to look ashamed and mumble "OK, suppose it is really."

Not many left-wingers would walk into the trap of making a comment quite that antisemitic, but I think there are an awful lot of people who come dangerously close to crossing the line between criticism of the policies of Israel, which can sometimes be justified, and antisemitism, which cannot.