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Sunday 6 May 2012

Holy Stupid Pundit

[Updates, two so far, at end of post]

Following the re-election of occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to City Hall, there has been the usual parade of those emulating the infamous 1992 “It’s The Sun Wot Won It” boast. And then there have been the pundits, one of whom has been so ready to put the boot in to Ken Livingstone that he has signally failed to engage brain first.

It's That Mood Again in London

Step forward the so-called “editor” of Telegraph blogs Damian Thompson, a singularly unappealing character who has waded into the issue of Livingstone and London’s Jewish community, claiming that the results from Barnet and Camden show that community taking its revenge on the Labour challenger for his remarks about “rich Jews” (which, minor detail this, he didn’t make).

Taking a Tweet from Paul Waugh, who also might have been better advised thinking beforehand, which suggests that reason for the removal of Brian Coleman, while the Mayoral vote went to Bozza, Thompson first thanks his own God for Livingstone’s departure from the scene, then says “It Woz The Jews Wot Did It”. See? They all live in Golders Green, Finchley and Hampstead! Ha ha ha ha ha!!

Then, Thompson includes speculation from Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, making the wider claim about the Jewish vote. That, too, is unwise: Pollard had been selective in his reporting of Livingstone’s meetings with Jewish London, and managed not to notice the one which resulted in several of the signatories to the “Miliband letter” backing Ken afterwards.

Moreover, Pollard’s side-kick Martin Bright had blatantly and openly pre-judged Livingstone, calling him “too old now. Out of touch and just a little potty”. And, had Thompson bothered to do any research, he would have known that London’s Jewish community does not all live in Barnet and Camden, but also in Stamford Hill, in the North East assembly constituency area.

And North East voted heavily for Ken over Boris. How Thompson missed the Hasidic and other Jewish communities there is mystifying: the wish for better transport links between Golders Green and Stamford Hill – to “sort out the 210 bus” – was a key issue. Thompson also missed the observation “Neither Ken nor the Jewish Chronicle have understood the complex issues around Jews and voting preferences”.

What Barnet and Camden was about, first and foremost, was not the Jewish vote, but a popular revolt against Brian Coleman, an increasingly eccentric, boorish and unpopular assembly member. Any analysis of the voting, as has been done by Big Smoke, along with a look at the local issues, shows why Coleman got voted out. But Damian Thompson was so keen to kick Ken, he couldn’t be bothered looking.

He thus ends up looking just plain stupid. No change there, then.

[UPDATE1 7 May 1045 hours: to no surprise at all, the Telegraph's so-called "London Editor" and supreme purveyor of dodgy journalism Andrew Gilligan has shown his support for Damian Thompson by repeating the "It's the Jewish vote wot won it" meme. Gilligan misses the Brian Coleman factor in Barnet and Camden and points to a swing towards Bozza, while earlier conceding that this happened in three other areas.

So three areas that swung towards Bozza but do not have significant Jewish populations are not explained or even considered, while the one that suits Gilligan is held to validate the "rich Jews" line that Livingstone never said. And, like Thompson, Gilligan ignores Stamford Hill and its presence in an area that voted heavily in favour of Ken. Beats sock-puppeting and keeps him off the streets, though. Mustn't grumble]

[UPDATE2 8 May 1850 hours: Damian Thompson has now waded into the case of nine men found guilty of being part of a child sexual exploitation ring in Rochdale. He accuses "the Left" of failure, and the Police of yielding to "political correctness", as the latter stressed that it was "not racially motivated" although those found guilty were from the Pakistani community.

What Thompson might have found useful before he went on the rant - on which the Telegraph has barred comments, which those who have seen the comments sewer of Telegraph blogs will not find surprising - would be articles like this one from his opposite numbers at the Guardian. There is plenty of exploitation by white males, just that they tend to do it alone. Mind how you go, Damian]

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