A hilarious defence today of Ken Livingstone’s decision to take thousands of pounds from the Iranian dictatorship to present a show on its official propaganda channel, Press TV, which has been attracting a certain amount of flak.
One Labour-supporting blogger – who knows a thing or two about propaganda – has deployed the killer argument that the great man’s decision is less bad because… err… I work for Press TV.
There are, alas, some problems with this line of reasoning:
1. I am not a candidate for public office.
2. This may be the first time in history that one of Ken Livingstone’s groupies has cited me as a moral arbiter.
3. I do not work for Press TV. I gave up (apart from two one-off shows last May) thirteen months ago – not all that long, indeed, after Ken started. It began as a perfectly reasonable operation – and to the end, my show was always allowed to host anti-regime voices – but the channel as a whole increasingly became a government mouthpiece. Not that this has cut any ice with Ken…
Unlike me, Ken refuses to give up his show. On the BBC’s London news, where this was the lead story last night, he said: “Press TV is one of the few TV channels anywhere in the West that fairly presents the Palestinian case.” He also claimed: “The important thing to remember about Press TV is that it is a British company, wholly owned in Britain, that makes and sells programmes to Iran and to other places.” This is totally untrue. Press TV is a television channel based in Iran and owned by the Iranian state. (Watch the BBC item here.)
Among Ken’s programmes was one publicising a book called Zionist Israel and Apartheid South Africa. He has also done a show about “the invention of the Jewish people”. Ken has always had a bit of a problem with Jews – they’ll be so relieved to know that they’re still in his thoughts! And as for the rest of us, Ken’s gig is just what we need to set at rest our concerns about his links with Muslim extremists.
Money from the Tube strikers! Money from the Iranians! And he’s still taking both! One wonders – does Ken actually want to commit political suicide?