Some might say he should have known better than to give the interview at all.
But in fact, Ken Livingstone told Adam Boulton he has been turning down invitations to be interviewed on the subject of Jewish voters and the anti-Semitism claims that led to his suspension as a member of the Labour Party.
And he only spoke the following words on Sky News after Mr Boulton said, “Speaking to some of your former Labour colleagues in Barnet, they were specifically blaming you for the loss.” That’s a tacit reference to the row sparked by Mr Livingstone’s words in 2016.
But he acquitted himself very well:
Ken Livingstone has no regrets over his comments on "Hitler and the Zionists" – which led to him being suspended from the Labour Party pic.twitter.com/H1rAvDYObQ
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 4, 2018
Every word of the above exchange is accurate.
But it seems certain people did not like it at all.
Chloe Chaplain and Martin Coulter at the Evening Standard disliked it so much, they wrote an article about it and headlined it Ken Livingstone sparks outrage after repeatedly bringing up Hitler in yet another live TV interview.
Did they not realise that he had been asked?
The article featured tweets from people who had been similarly incensed, including Adam Langleben, who was ousted from his Barnet council seat but remains a member of the Jewish Labour Movement’s national executive. He wrote: “Why the hell is Ken Livingstone on @SkyNews trying to explain the Barnet result????
Chuck him out.”
I can answer that very easily: He was on Sky News because that programme’s editors asked him. As for the demand to “chuck him out” – why? What has he said that is inaccurate?
I notice that Mr Langleben said nothing about the content of the interview – or of Mr Livingstone’s previous comments. It would be interesting to know what historical inaccuracy he has uncovered that would justify Mr Livingstone’s expulsion from the Labour Party.
Or doesn’t Labour do accuracy these days, when considering allegations of anti-Semitism? After the verdict on Marc Wadsworth, I could easily believe that!
Tulip Siddiq was also quoted: “Please please get this irrelevant man off my TV screen.” Why is he irrelevant? No reason. Why does she want him silenced? No reason.
Former LabourList editor, now largely irrelevant himself, Mark Ferguson tweeted: “6 (six) years ago I campaigned in Barnet and saw Jews and non-Jews alike turn away from Ken Livingstone because of his behaviour (whilst voting for other Labour candidates).”
Visit his Twitter page and you’ll see someone has asked: “what behaviour of Ken’s was this, specifically?”
And this is the problem with all the censure of Mr Livingstone, in a nutshell. That’s why, to Mr Livingstone’s critics, I say:
It’s no good saying his words are unacceptable if you can’t tell us why.
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