There should be little surprise that the Labour campaign for the London Mayoralty is experiencing such a hard time in the polls. One need only look at the onslaught from a less than fair and balanced media – plus the more rabid elements of the blogosphere – to see the tide of falsehood and misinformation that is washing over voters on an all too regular basis.
Ken Livingstone’s suggestion that more powers should be devolved from central Government is a case in point. This was gleefully seized upon by the Standard’s Peter Dominiczak (that Yorkshire Post training coming to the fore) who slanted this to read “Ken Livingstone’s Independent Republic of London”. See – it’s a republic! That’s like all those dodgy places that are foreign!!
So piling in behind the Standard’s less than unbiased “City Hall correspondent” comes the paper’s pundit Melanie McDonagh to liken the idea to the Ealing comedy Passport To Pimlico. She asserts that Ken wants to have his own “city state” and throws in just slightly loaded words such as “megalomania”. But this is as nothing to the warped spin coming out of Andrew Gilligan.
The Telegraph’s so-called “London editor”, for which read Groveller and cheerleader in chief for occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, has surpassed himself in reporting Livingstone’s visit to – shock horror – a mosque. That means Muslims. While there, he pledged to educate the wider electorate about the teachings of The Prophet. That means the Qur’an.
So the idea that people could become better informed on a subject on which so many pundits pontificate – and far too often do so in an uninformed and pejorative manner – goes from being a sensible way of helping Londoners to understand each other into something deeply worrying. Yes, in the hands of Gilligan, this is transformed into Ken wanting London to become “A beacon of Islam”.
This is reinforced by the likes of the flannelled fool Henry Cole, tame gofer to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, who has at least twice asserted that the Labour campaign is “funded by the Iranian state”. While he is merrily and characteristically smearing away, Bozza gets a press release on road upgrades spun by the Standard as a personal triumph.
And when Bozza makes his own pitch for devolution, this time on education, the ridicule piled on Livingstone fails to materialise. The Standard is struck dumb. The occupants of the blogosphere’s cheaper seats are looking elsewhere. Gilligan is whistling so loudly to keep his spirits up that he can’t hear. This is all so very convenient, but it’s also a teensy bit blatant.
It’s all so very 2008. So one wonders why Labour hasn’t seen it coming.