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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Londoners, don't vote for Ken! (reason no. 953)

Very much a last minute job, this. Blame moving house, changing my religion etc. Plus I really thought that someone in the MSM would have a long enough memory to pick up on this one. In fact someone had done, only three years ago and thus before Colonel Gaddafi declared war on the Libyan people. It's a much. much more pertinent story today, so here it is for the record.

Once upon a time there was an exceptionally repellent totalitarian sect called the Workers Revolutionary Party. Being not only exceptionally repellent but also unusually well-funded, it was able to put out a daily paper, the Newsline. Party members were expected to devote 25 hours a day to selling this product. On a good day they would come across somebody prepared to part with money for it.

In the early Eighties it evidently dawned on the WRP that the Newsline was not reaching the masses, so they decided to try to broaden their influence by launching a "Labour" paper. And so the Labour Herald was born, a classic front organization. As well as having "Labour" in its name, it was to be fronted by a Labour editor - and no less a figure than the Leader of the Greater London Council was waiting in the wings.

Here's a sample of the paper's content. Anti-Semitic? I'm sure Ken would no more think so now than he did then.

And now I'll let Keith Dovkants of the Eve Stennit tell the rest of the story:-

'The paper was printed by a firm based in Runcorn, Cheshire, which also printed News Line and publications sponsored by the Libyan government.

'When Private Eye ran a piece claiming Ken Livingstone, then leader of the GLC, was editing a paper financed by the Libyans he successfully sued for libel. It has to be remembered that at that time Gaddafi was encouraging the assassination of his political opponents abroad and wiping them out at home. In 1984 his thugs fired on demonstrators outside the Libyan embassy in St James's Square, killing WPC Yvonne Fletcher.

'Although no one doubts Gaddafi was subsidising News Line and Labour Herald there is absolutely no evidence Ken knew about it. But he did support the WRP when it published an extraordinary anti-Jewish rant in News Line.

'On 20 March 1983, BBC2 ran an investigation on its Money Programme. Its central thesis was that the WRP's newspaper, Ken's Labour Herald and other publications were being funded by Gaddafi. Looking at the transcript today one sees a thorough, rather measured, piece of journalism. The response was quite different.

'Under the heading The Zionist Connection, News Line published an editorial denouncing the Money Programme's investigation. It blamed a "powerful Zionist connection" that ran through the Labour Left, Mrs Thatcher's government, to the BBC. It cited the placing of Stuart Young, a director of the Jewish Chronicle, as chairman of the corporation and the appointment of his brother, David Young, to head the Manpower Services Commission. The Jewish Chronicle, the editorial noted, gave "support and advance publicity" to the Money Programme.

'On the day of its hysterical editorial News Line ran a piece in which Ken suggested the Money Programme report was indeed the work of Zionists. In the same piece he blamed "smears" against him on agents working for Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin's government.'

So when confronted with the facts Ken preferred to endorse the WRP's theory that the Money Programme was in the grip of a Zionist conspiracy (we all know how much Zionists like their money, don't we?) rather than acknowledge that he had unwittingly taken a bloodstained tyrant's money.

Has Ken ever retracted this position? His Wikipedia entry passes over this strand of his career in silence. It wouldn't be the only case where "Sorry" has been the hardest word for him. Employing Lee Jasper still isn't a cause for regret, it seems. Sorry, but Ken's not fit to be Mayor.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Christians rejoice?

I was going to start this post by observing that I do not expect to read a more inane reaction to the killing of Osama bin Laden than Cristina Odone's attempt to construct a (im-)moral equivalence between Americans celebrating the demise of the bearded one and the "Arab street" rejoicing over 9/11. That, however, was before Rowan Williams's PR man George Pitcher popped up singing from the same hymnbook*. My cup runneth over, and I think it is Mr Pitcher who must be awarded the palm, if only for his inspired use of the term "rednecks".

Well, George Pitcher is in the deepest and truest sense not my problem any more. As for Cristina Odone, however, I am emboldened to suggest that after less than a fortnight as a Catholic I already have a better grasp of Catholic moral theology than she has.

It is right to celebrate the success of a just endeavour and wrong to celebrate the success of an unjust endeavour. As simple as that. And when I say "right" I don't mean just "permissible". We ought to be thankful that Osama has been put out of the way of masterminding the taking of innocent lives, thankful to those whose professionalism, doggedness and courage has brought about this end. Why, Ms Odone, should anyone risk their neck for the sake of your freedom if the most you can manage when they triumph is a "yes, Osama bin Laden’s death is a good thing" from between gritted teeth?

But surely, you may now be saying, our Cristina has the Vatican on her side? Thus Fr Federico Lombardi:-

“Osama bin Laden – as we all know – was gravely responsible for promoting division and hatred between peoples, causing the end of countless innocent lives, and of exploiting religions to this end.

“Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of each and every one of us before God and before man, and hopes and commits himself so that no event be an opportunity for further growth of hatred, but for peace.”

And quite right, too. Note, for one thing, the first of these two sentences, and see if you can find its equivalent in either GP's or CO's posts; compare the forthright attribution of guilt with George Pitcher's portrayal of Osama as a man denied a fair trial. Note also the absence of direct condemnation of anyone other than Osama himself, and again compare and contrast. Note next that the Vatican can never forget the exigencies of diplomacy when it chooses its words. Fr Lombardi will have been keenly aware that there are Christians in Pakistan.

And note above all a crucial distinction. It is the termination of the man's evil deeds which is just cause for rejoicing, not the termination of his life. However just, the fighting of a war is a poor substitute for the repentance of the aggressor. That's a distinction which, I dare say, many patriotic Americans are failing to draw today, but the faux pacifist liberals sitting in judgment over them in North London aren't doing any better. Two sides of the same coin, in fact.

*That will, of course, be the one from which which the inappropriately militaristic "Onward Christian soldiers" has been expunged in favour of "Onward Christian pilgrims".