I vaguely recall a time some twenty years ago when I was attacked at school. The details are a little hazy in my mind, but what is clear was that I provoked them, again I totally forget what it was about although I think it was something mild where I taunted someone, got attacked by this guy and some of his mates and we were both punished. They for attacking me, me for provoking them.
And quite right too. So where does this fit in with Ken Livingstone?
Well, first of all I think his comments towards Oliver Finegold were stupid, immoral, arrogant, brutally insensitive, crass and just plain wrong. He then compounded this by refusing to apologise, either on the night in question, nor in the following days. I can understand why he refused to apologise to the Mail Group of Newspapers, but all the same he should have done so because it was the right thing to do.
Now then, whilst reading their Daily Mail and/or Evening Standard in the last few days, the average reader may be forgiven for thinking that was that. But like most things, there are two sides to every story.
According to Ken Livingstone, the 'Evening Standard' had been baiting him for weeks on end, writing unfair and unkind articles, and making his life a misery. One of their journalists doorsteps him in the early hours after a party when he is tired, and may have had a bit to drink, and bingo!
I find this all too plausible and easy to believe for the simple fact that these newspapers (esp the 'Daily Mail') specialise in attacking their pet hates in a personal, vicious, unkind and vindictive fashion. It is for this main reason and that alone that many in the Labour Party, and indeed anyone who is not a Conservative, loathe and despise the Daily Mail. Not because it is a pro-Conservative newspaper. There are conservative commentators (and journalists) who are a bit more gracious towards their targets.
Perhaps those who are quick to condemn Livingstone and Livingstone alone, or are regular 'Daily Mail' and 'Evening Standard' readers, should bear in mind the following facts, courtesy of Wikipedia, from which I have snipped the following:
1) "When Kitchener died the Mail reported it as a great stroke of luck for the British Empire. The paper then campaigned against Asquith, and Asquith resigned on 5 December 1916. "
2) "In 1924 the Daily Mail published the forged Zinoviev Letter which indicated that British Communists were planning violent Revolution. It was widely believed that this was a significant factor in the defeat of Ramsay MacDonald's Labour Party in the 1924 general election, held four days later."
It gets better
3) "For a time in the early 1930s Rothermere and the Mail were sympathetic to some degree with Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists. Rothermere wrote an article, Hurrah for the Blackshirts, in January 1934, in which he praised Mosley for his "sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine", though after the violence of the 1934 Olympia meeting involving the BUF the Mail withdrew its support.
The paper also published articles lamenting the number of German Jews entering Britain as refugees after the rise of Nazism."
4) "Rothermere and the Mail supported Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement, particularly during the events leading up to the Munich Agreement. However, after the Nazi invasion of Prague in 1939, the Mail changed position and urged Chamberlain to prepare for war, not least, perhaps, because on account of its stance it had been threatened with closure by the British Government. Up to this point, The Daily Mail had been the only British newspaper to consistently support the German National Socialist Party.
Rothermere and the Mail supported Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement, particularly during the events leading up to the Munich Agreement. However, after the Nazi invasion of Prague in 1939, the Mail changed position and urged Chamberlain to prepare for war, not least, perhaps, because on account of its stance it had been threatened with closure by the British Government. Up to this point, The Daily Mail had been the only British newspaper to consistently support the German National Socialist Party."
5) "Another common criticism of the Mail is its treatment of asylum seekers. Several opponents (including London Mayor Ken Livingstone in a well-publicised argument) have claimed that the newspaper panders to racism in this respect.
Opponents of the paper on these grounds cite its editorial stance in the 1930s, when the Daily Mail ran inflammatory articles about Jewish immigrants, serialised The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and briefly supported the British Union of Fascists"
Now admittedly, the 'Mail' has been at the forefront of one or two important campaigns, such as the Stephen Lawrence case. It also attacks the BNP and all of this is to their credit and they should be praised for this. However, they don't distinguish themselves as far away as possible from dangerously right-wing policies, and their general manner in the way they attack people and institutions is despicable. Too many times these newspapers get away with such behaviour and too many times those who are disgusted are not critical enough. Unless the 'Mail' changes it's attitude (and I am not asking for a change from being a Conservative newspaper, I am asking for a change of heart and behaviour) and publicly apologises for it's past mistakes, then there ought to be a more outspoken and critical view of the newspaper as there is towards the tobacco industry.