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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Great Ken?

Every now and again I find another reason why I am grateful that I do not live in London. Do not get me wrong, it is a great city with a lot going for it but I prefer to experience it in small doses. I cannot think of a better place to live than Swansea.

Chief amongst London's turn-offs is the bizarre public stalking of its Mayor by his immediate predecessor. Sitting here in Wales and monitoring the news on the internet and in the dead tree press the political life of the capital seems to be dominated by Boris' gaffes and Ken Livingstone's constant comments and criticisms. And who can blame him? He is sore, he feels unfairly rejected and he wants us all to know what a mistake the electorate made back on 1st May.

Ken Livingstone writes a monthly Boris-bashing column for News International’s thelondonpaper. Now we learn that he is to host a new current affairs-based, three-hour weekly show on the London commercial radio station LBC. The former Mayor is quite clear about his objectives:

He is hoping to prove that the left can do talk radio. “Broadly, it’s a right of centre industry. I know this because I was once a Sony Radio Awards judge and they gave me 24 hours of tapes to listen to. The pattern seemed to be that you got an old journalist and they would do an opening rant about Myra Hindley, too many immigrants, and put all homosexuals on a small island and drop a bomb. Then every bigot in the land would phone in - an absolutely pointless exercise.” Livingstone is surprisingly focused on his Rajar audience figures. “I will be crestfallen if they go down,” says the newt-loving politician. He believes he can find new listeners by targeting the capital’s youth. “London is 10 years younger than the national average. There’s a huge concentration of young people and they’re all having sex. It’s the most fecund place in Britain.”

It does not bear thinking about and yet somehow we know that really he wants to use the show to talk about Boris. The only medium Ken has not gate-crashed as yet is the internet:

He seems more enamoured with online political commentary “over the last three months, the only place you could get really good coverage of City Hall was on the blogs” – though he is disappointed by the apparent lack of leftists online, saying “they haven’t got off their backsides and logged on to answer all this [right-wing] drivel”.

Maybe a Ken Livingstone blog is the next step in his campaign to win back the Mayoralty.
Boris, or someone claiming to be Boris Johnson, is on Facebook. I was thrilled when 'Boris' added me as a Facebook 'friend'. Then a well known ex-BBC journalist (best selling author to boot) told me that she didn't think it was the real Boris because she knew of someone (so I guess hearsay) who asked Boris in the flesh about his Facebook entry and Boris in the flesh replied that he didn't know anything about it.
"I cannot think of a better place to live than Swansea"

Christ! You *REALLY* need to get out more :(
Maesteg is a better place to live than Swansea, close second is California
First of all congrats on your award. Yours is a terrific blog.

Secondly public stalking of the mayor by the ex-mayor. Ain't that the truth. Ken has the air of a jilted ex-lover who is embittered in his defeat. The stories of his cronyism are shocking and the Lib Dems need to be positioned to benefit from the centre/left of centre votes.

I work in London but would never like to live there. I prefer where I live, a far slower pace of life and people are much friendlier.
Does "Jay Entee" envisage a remake of "Fatal Attraction" with Boris "BJ" Johnson and Red Ken in the leading roles?
London is a great city. I am 70 years old, a qualified City guide and lecturer and just about to start year 3 of a BA History course.

I have tried retirement; living in an isoloated rural community. It's fine if you want to put the wheels down and glide gently towards the land of our maker.

Urban living is exciting, tense, stimulating; problems? Of course there are. But the city - and our City, London - has been at the forefront of world development for 2,000 years. Can we say that about Swansea?

David Williams
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