OPINION: Ken’s strength is his subliminal presence

I can never work out why we do it, trailing all over the country for at best a few minutes exposure of our views on late-night TV audience participation programmes with a juvenile crash, bang, wallop line in analysis.

I can never work out why we do it, trailing all over the country

for at best a few minutes exposure of our views on late-night TV

audience participation programmes with a juvenile crash, bang, wallop

line in analysis.



It can’t be the money. It is derisory when you think of all the hours

you spend sitting in a car ploughing up and down assorted motorways. Of

course, political parties feel they must have someone fighting their

corner, so politicians have a reasonable excuse: duty. But people like

me? The best explanation I can offer you is publicity - you have to keep

yourself in the public eye - and vanity.



There are some compensations. Occasionally they shove you in the back of

a car with a companionable fellow panellist. That is how I made the

acquaintance of Ken Livingstone who has defected from the Labour Party

after it had rigged him out of the candidature for the London mayoralty

to stand as an independent. Of course, he felt my old boss Margaret

Thatcher deserved boiling in oil, but he also admired her. She did what

she said she was going to do. Ken liked that. So, as a matter of fact

did another old boss, Tony Benn. I got the impression that if Ken got

another chance to exercise power, he would like to garner the same

reputation for the Left.



We haven’t yet had much indication of what precisely he would do, apart

from launch a London bond to finance the revitalisation of the Tube

instead of privatising it, and make a nuisance of himself. In any case,

his powers are very limited. But we can be sure he would be in the

pockets of the unions, in debt to the loony Left and pander as

expensively as possible to every minority you can find in the Great Wen.

He would also be a tremendous card, a flamboyant, cheeky chappie.

Whether he would be good for London is entirely another matter. But that

is for you to judge.



What interests me is how Mr Livingstone has pulled off such a PR coup as

to make himself appealing even to Tories, given the history of his

monumental mismanagement of the Greater London Council before Margaret

Thatcher chopped him by killing the authority. The truth is he hasn’t

done much at all except keep himself provocatively, roguishly in the

public eye and allow everyone else to make their mistakes - Labour by

ensuring its poodle, Frank Dobson represented their cause, thereby

creating a sympathy vote for Ken; the Tories permitting Jeffrey Archer

to eliminate himself and Steve Norris to benefit; and the Liberals by

producing Candidate Who?



So, if Ken becomes Mayor of London, he will initiate a new PR fashion:

the celebrity’s art of masterly inactivity. He will also launch a

thousand headlines: how to keep your head while everyone else around you

is losing theirs. And he’ll always be on the telly.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in