KEN LIVINGSTONE: A LEOPARD DOESN’T CHANGE ITS SPOTS WITHOUT A REASON
While Ken Livingstone’s arguments were entirely plausible and even convincing, as one would expect from a man whose uncanny power of persuasion is key to his considerable following, he is guilty of the sin of omission ( Please, let’s move on from the ‘Ken and the Jews’ dramas, March 30).
His absence of any contrition, or indeed any reference to his invitation to Sheikh Yusuf al-qaradawi to City Hall while London mayor, is surely no coincidence and deafening in its silence. Neither a leopard or a Livingstone changes its spots. His article simply confirms this. Sorry Ken, you will have to do better than that. Jack Lynes. Albury Drive, Pinner, HA5
Livingstone is too narrow in his analysis that Jews will not vote Labour through being too rich. I write as one who has been a party member and canvassed enthusiastically with Tony Benn. The key arbiter is not wealth, but faith in the wisdom and judgement of those we choose as leaders.
Sometime after the woeful “Nazi concentration camp” journalist simile, I contacted him, suggesting that the comparison cheapened the memory of those who had died in the camps and indeed those who survived. His reply was resolute and unapologetic. The issue is not whether his pronouncements are perceived as pro or anti-jewish, but whether they indicate statesmanlike intellect and sensibilities. I fear not. Prof Daniel M Altmann Cyprus Avenue, Barnet, N3
I read with interest Martin Bright’s article discussing how Livingstone targets those voters whom he feels are more likely to vote for him while disregarding those groups with whom he feels he has no chance ( Analysis, March 30). Regarding his latest U-turn, I wonder whether he’d have appeared so conciliatory had this not been an election year.
I’m no “rich Jew” but I’d gladly pay a large sum to watch him justify his “concentration camp guard” jibe to Oliver Finegold in 2005, to my father who survived Auschwitz but lost most of his family in the Holocaust.
Livingstone is a serial offender when it comes to remarks and actions guaranteed to upset the Jewish population and like London buses, I’m sure there will be another along very soon. Eli Perl firstname.lastname@example.org
Why would anyone trust Ken’s word? He promised not to stand against the official Labour candidate but did. He said that taking Routemasters off the road would be madness, then did so. He promised not to increase the Congestion Charge, then did. Perhaps he cannot help himself. Dishonesty can be compulsive.
His apologia is worthless. Labour had an obvious candidate. Oona King, of mixed race and mixed religion parentage, and a talent and charm to go with it, would probably have guaranteed a Labour win. Now they are fighting with flawed and damaged goods. Barry Hyman email@example.com
I don’t know who is the more foolish — those who seek an apology from Livingstone or those who believe it. Jeremy Havardi firstname.lastname@example.org
Reading Livingstone’s piece, one could be excused for believing that the Jews have no greater friend than Ken stalking the corridors of power. It brings to my mind the words of Neville Chamberlain: “Politicians don’t have permanent friends or permanent enemies — they have permanent interests”. Let’s see how long Ken remains our best pal. Michoel Witkowski Kings Drive, Edgware, HA8
Livingstone’s attitude to Jews is similar to that of an abusive spouse. Sorry. Didn’t mean it. Well, at least not until the next time. Roberta Tish Lucien Road, London, SW17
His expressions of admiration for our community do not ring true. I believe these comments are simply a cynical ploy to reduce likely electoral damage.
His attempt to distance himself from his previous remarks about Jews and Israel is unconvincing; he made them, he meant them. His previous track record on these issues speaks volumes. I hope that on May 3, your readers will vote wisely and help consign Livingstone to well-deserved political oblivion. Keith Laurence Lincoln Avenue, London, N14