Monday, June 23, 2008

It's The Cid

In today's Guardian columnist Tristram Hunt, urges Labour to let Livingstone go and move on. In a well written piece he notes that:

The raw psephological truth is that Livingstone's rainbow coalition was not enough to keep him in office in 2008. His studious nurturing of a radical, internationalist, urban core saw him lose the vote of the suburbs and white working class. Outside central London, the electoral map was daubed deep blue. And no number of press releases, Today programme phone ins or fringe speaking engagements is going to bring those votes back for Ken.

The real loser is the London Labour party. To win back City Hall, the party needs to rid itself of the Livingstone past and speak afresh to the capitals' needs. But it can't begin to honestly analyse Livingstone's failings and develop new strategies if the former mayor is still dictating the debate.

Tristram makes a good argument, but he is a voice in the wilderness if attitudes at City Hall are anything to go by. Labour members grab scrutiny posts on the grounds that only they can hold a Conservative mayor to account (a tall order given the weakening of Assembly powers at the hands of their own government), yet they also cling on to executive positions in the functional bodies like limpets exposed by the ebbing tide.

Meanwhile the ex mayor returns regularly, the above picture taken at Question Time last week, propped up in the public gallery to give heart to his dismayed followers, much as the leader's corpse was strapped to his horse at the end of the Hollywood epic, El Cid.

Almost two months after the election, Labour don't even understand that they lost, let alone why it happened and what they should do about it.


sjm said...

Oh dear, why am I not surprised that Livingstone can't let go? He is just like so many other MPs who, having lost their seat, hang about Westminster, and in some sad cases, drink themselves to death.

An ex-MP I know is still hashing over the 'might-have-been' and 'if only..'scenarios, many years after losing decisively.

Give up, take a breath, get a life, Livingstone!

Roger Evans said...

Only fair to point out that Ken was entirely sober when I took the picture, just before 10:00am, so your judgement is overly harsh, SJM.

However the syndrome of politicians unable to let go is well proven with examples at all levels in all parties. Even people in non political jobs they love can succumb.

And in this respect I do feel for Ken. Losing an election is very hard, even my own experience of losing Cann Hall ward in Leytonstone in 2002 wasn't pleasant, and it's not as if I even had a remote chance of winning. This must be much worse.

No, at least Ken is coming round to accepting the result - unlike the flat earthers in the London Labour party who spend hours in committee complaining about how "it's just not fair."

sjm said...

I wasn't suggesting Livingstone was sloshed at the time of your picture.