I was most amused earlier this year to see Ken Livingstone demanding free Tube travel for the royal wedding to “make the day go smoothly.” (No doubt this was partly to divert attention from the then threat by his ASLEF paymasters to make the day go very unsmoothly indeed.) This morning, Ken once again took up the cudgels for Kate and Wills, asking for the suspension of Tube engineering works in honour of “one of the biggest occasions for the capital in a generation.” (In fact, there are virtually no Tube engineering works at all on the wedding day – but we’ll let that pass.)
Let’s remind ourselves what Ken really thinks about the monarchy, shall we? It was, he wrote in 1996 (for that well-known organ of progressive thought, The Sun), “our most sordid soap-opera,” the result of “1100 years of inbreeding,” populated by “not very bright…airheads in high heels” with “Fergie’s HIV tests and Di’s military maneouvres on full public display.” Tasteful, I think you’ll agree.
And Ken’s thoughts on the happy groom whose day he wants to smooth? “It is in the interest of the Royals to end the monarchy,” he wrote. “We must abolish the monarchy. Let us hope it is in time to save Prince William from the same screwed-up life.”
In politics, it’s always best to be true to what you think. That was, of course, supposed to be Ken’s USP. Now, however, worried about the dislike with which he is viewed by the white working class, he has thumbed clumsily through the populist playbook.
I don’t actually think anyone cares what Ken thinks about the royals. But people can spot a phony.