Ken’s recent claim that the Tory Party was “riddled with” people “indulging in” homosexuality – and that some Labour MPs only got government jobs because they were gay – seems to have affected his support in the gay community.
Next Monday, the 12th, he was due to host a lavish fundraising drinks reception and dinner for gay Londoners at the Grand Connaught Rooms, with tickets ranging from £150 to £250 and tables from £1500 to £2500. As the publicity claims, “Ken Livingstone has always supported the gay community. Now it’s our turn to support him.”
Sadly, there don’t seem to have been enough supporters at these prices and the event has now had to be dramatically downsized to a “complementary drink” at a gay club in Soho – on the same night and at the same time – with tickets at just £10. (For £50 you can have your drink in an “exclusive themed bar booth.”)
You will still see Ken, though – it might be worth a tenner to ask him why he campaigned for the extremist-backed mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, who is currently trying to morally cleanse a gay pub, whose cabinet member for education shared a platform with an anti-gay campaign group, whose cabinet member for regeneration posted homophobic rhetoric on her social networking site and whose supporters shout animal noises at his gay opponents from the public gallery at council meetings.
The gay bash is not the only Ken fundraiser that has disappointed. As the Standard reported on Tuesday, the big man’s quadrennial fundraising art auction, held on Monday night, only raised £15,000 – down by 94 per cent on the equivalent event in 2008, which raised £230,000. To be fair, £195k of that was from a single Banksy artwork – but even without that, the average is well down. No doubt Ken will say it is because of the evil Tory ratchet on London’s suffering people – but it might be a straw in the political wind, too.