Thrilled to see that Ken Livingstone maintains his sure political touch! His new campaign slogan (“Yes We Ken”) instantly shoots the ex-King Newt to top place in the bulging league table of World’s Worst Barack Obama Comparisons. If you were young, new, the change, and – well – black, it might work, Ken. But you are a 64-year-old grandad who has been in full-time politics since 1971.
I’ve been searching Ken’s campaign website for further evidence of that elusive Obama magic. I found this little section puffing his work in the recent general election, which lists the candidates he supported with personal visits. Like Val Shawcross, twice (she lost), Gerry Ryan (another defeat, alas), Dawn Butler, twice (beaten), Tony McNulty (trounced), Karen Jennings, twice (another loser.)
Can you spot a pattern here? True, Ken did also visit Eltham, Tooting, Hampstead and Westminster North, where Labour held on. But in 9 of the 12 individual constituency visits he made (Hampstead included), the Labour candidate suffered well above-average swings against him or her. This despite a comparatively good showing by the party in London.
I shouldn’t think it was the presence of Kenbama on their high streets that drove those Labour voters into the hands of the opposition – but nor does he seem to be the great vote-magnet he imagines.
PS: Ken was kind enough to let me repeat some of these views on his LBC radio show at the weekend, where the balance of callers was, shall we say, against a Livingstone re-run.