Thursday, 5 April 2012

Has the last 50 years produced a more contemptible mainstream politician than Ken Livingstone?

Actually, that’s a naughty headline, because the answer seems so obvious I’m not even going to bother discussing it. As Boris Johnson so accurately put it to Livingstone in a conversation in a lift the other day, “You’re a fucking liar!” (We’ll pass over Johnson’s own penchant for the odd porky – the inverted pyramid of piffle, for instance?).

In Livingstone’s case, it’s the relentlessness of the lies, the misrepresentations, the sheer screaming hypocrisy of the little creep that finally convince you that he’s something to be scraped off the sole of one’s shoe rather than to be treated as a serious politician.

But, like many people, I’m beyond being outraged by anything Livingstone says or does: 30 years of his hateful bullshit has benumbed me to the point where I'd only be shocked if he ever said or did anything remotely decent.

However, I am still capable of being outraged by the dure reporting standards  to be found in the Guardian. Boris Johnson – accused by the newt-shagger of being equally partial to legitimate income tax-avoidance – has published full accounts of his earnings for the last four years, which show that he hasn’t done anything whatsoever to avoid paying income tax. He earned a lot - £1.7m – but he also paid a shedload of tax on it. These accounts show that Livingstone’s charges against Johnson were entirely baseless. Livingstone, in response, has been weaselling around trying not to release full details of his earnings and tax payments, saying he’ll only do so if all the other candidates release details of their full household earnings (er...why?).

How does the Guardian (of liars, hypocrites and fantasists, evidently) react to the Mayor’s willingness to fully disclose his earnings, the fact that he has paid the tax due on them in full, and to Livingstone’s seeming reluctance to be equally forthcoming? Why, by attacking Tory scum Boris Johnson, of course! 
“The scale of Johnson's earnings will fuel claims by his rival Ken Livingstone that the Conservative candidate stands to significantly benefit from George Osborne's decision to scrap the 50p top rate of tax – a move that Johnson strongly lobbied for.”
Fuel claims? Fuel claims? Is the Guardian seriously giving credence to the charge that Boris Johnson lobbied for the cut in the 50p tax rate so he personally would pay less tax, rather than because he was worried about high-earning City types fleeing London in search of less punitive tax regimes? Surely even a Guardian reporter isn’t childish enough to believe this nonsense? If Johnson was that base, that greedy, why hasn’t he used any of the perfectly legitimate methods available to minimise his tax bill?

When it comes to Livingstone, the report’s tone changes:
“Livingstone has been stung by accusations that he has been hypocritical in denouncing those who avoid tax while having set up a private company, Silveta, to channel his earnings, so he was liable to pay corporation tax at 20% rather than income tax at a higher rate.” 
The use of the word “stung” here is classic. “Stung” suggests that the charge of hypocrisy against the repulsive little twerp were somehow surprising and quite possibly unjustified. Livingstone attacked high earners for avoiding income tax while he himself was avoiding income tax – and then tried to justify himself by maintaining that everyone (in particular Boris Johnson) was doing the same thing.

What’s there to be “stung” about? 

It’s like writing that Bernie Madoff was “stung” by accusations that he had ripped off his clients, or that Dr Shipman was “stung” by accusation that he’d murdered many of his patients. If you’re definitely guilty as charged – as is the case with Livingstone – it would surely be more appropriate to use words such as “embarrassed”, "humiliated" or "damaged".

In this instance, Boris Johnson has done nothing wrong whatsoever – as far as I know it isn’t yet a crime to earn a lot of money in this country. After all, the Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, is reputed to have received a package worth £605,000 in 2010 for running a heavily subsidised newspaper which regularly posts massive losses. If true, that means his earnings outstripped those of Boris Johnson. Pots and kettles? Stones and glasshouses? 

Apart from Boris Johnson’s avoidance of tax avoidance schemes, one other notable thing about his earnings that distinguish him from his main rival in the forthcoming mayoral elections is that Boris hasn’t accepted any money from Press TV, the English language TV station run by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, the media corporation owned by one of the world’s most brutally repressive anti-Semitic, anti-female, homophobic, illiberal, anti-Western, fascist regimes. And Johnson hasn't pledged to make London a beacon for Islam were he to be re-elected.

Imagine how awful it must be to wake up every morning and remember that you’re Ken Livingstone!

1 comment:

  1. The answer to your head-line is yes. Instead of being strung up by his knackers outside a petrol station [convenient location for his supporters to buy cellophane-wrapped flowers and Hallmark cards] Ed Balls will soon be rewarded with the premiership and will be able to finish off the job started by his master. I am not suggesting that Ms Cooper gets the Clara Petacci role. She's actually rather attractive.

    Please lay of Rusbridger. He was educated at Cranleigh School [as was the dimunitive and well-endowed Andrew Roberts] and the school has a history of turning out very decent citizens [for example, EW Swanton and's it ].