Ken Livingstone: I want to clean up politics

Ken's campaign: the positivity shines through

Another sublime comic moment from the Kenster this evening. He’s issued an “open letter” solemnly declaring that the campaign has become “dark and negative” and demanding that the candidates “raise the tone and spirit of this election.”

What can this mean? Is Ken pulling out of the race?  Less than twelve hours before, older readers will remember, he’d been telling a straightforward lie that Boris did the same as him and avoided tax by channelling his earnings through a personal company.

In the spirit of positive campaigning, Ken has also:

– compared Boris to Hitler;

– compared Boris’s chief of staff to a Serbian mass-murderer;

– said that Boris should be poisoned;

– asked whether George Osborne should be hanged;

– launched two major advertising campaigns depicting Boris as a criminal;

– blamed him for the riots;

– said Boris “wished for” higher unemployment;

– attacked him as a “part-time mayor;

– attacked him as a “campaigner for the 1 per cent;”

– said he has “betrayed Outer London;”

– described the Tory party as “riddled with” people “indulging in” homosexuality;

– said Jews would not vote Labour because they are rich;

– told literally dozens of lies about Boris’s policies, including that they have led to rising crime, falling Tube reliability and declining police numbers; and

– arranged for Boris to be chased by a man dressed as a giant chicken.

All this has been part of a campaign described by Livingstone as “very positive” and designed to “restore faith in politics.”

Ken’s actual problem, of course, with negative campaigning is that it hasn’t worked for him – presumably because the voters see it in the same light as his promise to give everyone free gold jewellery and an annual holiday at Center Parks cut fares. Nobody trusts you, Ken. Nobody believes what you say. And this sudden, transparently hypocritical concern for clean campaigning will only chip further away at your credibility.

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