This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2601

Dr. Daniel Pipes To Debate London Mayor Livingstone- Clash Between the Civil and the Uncivilized

Mayor dubbed 'Odious Ken' after he compares Jewish reporter to concentration camp guard
December 16, 2006

Daniel Pipes To Debate London Mayor Livingstone - Clash Between The Civil And The Uncivilized

http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=rabinowitz121506.htm

By Beila Rabinowitz

December 15, 2006 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Known as "Red" Ken for his leftwing extremism, the London Mayor has invited Dr. Daniel Pipes to debate him at a conference billed as - "A World Civilisation or a Clash of Civilisations?"

The event is scheduled to take place on January 20th at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Center. The unusual confrontation is sponsored by the Mayor's office and is taxpayer funded. (1)

According the event brochure Livingstone envisions London as "a multicultural city...creating a new concept of world civilization that corresponds with a globalised world."

Dr. Pipes views the fault lines of the current conflict "not so much a clash of civilizations as a clash of civilizations v.s. barbarism." (2)

Livingstone, with his track record of ad hominem, anti-Semitic and physical attacks, appears to be engaging in a colossal act of hubris, hoping to best Dr. Pipes' dispassionate intellectualism with his own brand of ideologically bound, vocal excess.

This is not to diminish Livingstone's rhetorical skills which have been honed throughout his political career.

Last year Livingstone caused an uproar when he responded to a Jewish reporter's question by telling him "you are acting like a concentration camp guard..." He successfully turned back calls for him to resign in the wake of this outburst on the grounds that he made the remarks while leaving a private party.( 3)

In 2002 he was accused of pushing a man off a balcony and "manhandling" a pregnant woman, fleeing the scene before police arrived

According to the victim's account of the balcony toss, "Ken...was going ballistic...we were trying...to restrain him...the last memory I have is of Ken lunging toward me...I came to briefly in the ambulance..."

Despite accusations of having lied about the incident in a nine page statement he delivered before the 25 member London Assembly (a mayoral monitoring body) Livingstone ultimately emerged unscathed. (4)

In 2004 Livingstone stoked controversy when he invited radical Islamist cleric Yusuf Al-Qaradawi to London. A photograph shows him gazing adoringly at the sheik - who is known for issuing a fatwa sanctioning female suicide bombers and explaining why Muslims must wage jihad against the West. (5a)

When presented with the evidence of Al-Qaradawi's support of terrorism, Livingstone blasted the information "as coming from the Mossad." (5b)

Instead, the Mayor's office issued an official 50 page report portraying Al-Qaradawi as a moderate and defending his visit.(6)

Nothing demonstrates Red Ken's identification with radical Islam as well as his response to the London bombings which he blamed on the foreign policy of the UK, saving his outrage for the fact that the targets had been workers instead of "Prime Ministers and presidents." (7)

Livingstone's ability to blend support of Islamism into his own socialist ideology has earned him the adoration of his radical Muslim constituents. As evidence of this consider that at an "ask the Mayor" Q&A event last March an audience member who identified himself as a "member of the Central Mosque at Wembley (Note:secretary general)" gushed:

"I follow prophet Mohammed and then follow of Ken Livingstone, the most socialist person on this planet..." (8)

His remarks were greeted by applause.

The January debate should therefore prove raucous if not informative. Dr. Pipe's, whose scholarship on the Middle East is internationally renown should prove a difficult opponent for Livingstone, whose style of argumentation is limited by rigid Marxist constructs and strewn with personal invective. All of which might suggest that considering the London Mayor's wake of excess, the event may simply descend into bad political theatre.

Notes:

(1) http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/equalities/clash-conf.jsp

(2)

(3)

(4)http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2005-01/11/article05.shtml

(5a)

BBC NEWS | England | London | Mayor justifies cleric's welcome


http://www.news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4165691.stm

(5b)

PDF]

MAYOR LIVINGSTONE AND SHEIKH QARADAWI

File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
July 2004, Mayor Livingstone used Mayor's Question Time to answer. criticism of his enthusiastic embrace of Sheikh Qaradawi. The Mayor's. statement is at: ...
www.londoncommunitycoalition.org/qaradawi-coalitiondocument.pdf - Similar pages

(6)

Qaradawi report 2
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
and communities. A reply to the. dossier against the. Mayor's meeting with. Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi ... Qaradawi dossier bears no relation to reality. ...
www.london.gov.uk/news/docs/qaradawi_dossier.pdf - Similar pages

Greater London Authority - Press Release

The document comprehensively rebuts the charges against Dr al-Qaradawi made in a dossier circulated to London Assembly members in November last year. ...
www.london.gov.uk/view_press_release.jsp?releaseid=4744 - 11k - Cached - Similar pages
[ More results from www.london.gov.uk ]

(7)

(8)

http://www.london.gov.uk/stateoflondon/docs/sold-06-plenary-transcript.rtf AUDIENCE MEMBER 9: I am secretary general of Central Mosque Wembley. And I am talking about our neighbour Nisha Patel, my question is why did police come after the murder and not before the murder. My house was knocked at 2 o'clock in the morning and police asking me have I seen anything going on. So, I am suggesting to Ken Livingstone that there should be police before a crime is committed and not chasing after the crime. That was a pid:901waste of public money afterwards. I follow prophet Mohammed and then follower of Ken Livingstone, the most socialist person on this planet. {Applause}.

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MIM: Conference announcement

http://www.london.gov.uk/gla/events/jan-07.jsp

Conference: Clash of Civilisations

Date: 20th
Location: Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, SW1
Summary: This one-day conference will examine the idea that people's cultural and religious identity will be the main source of future world conflicts. Speakers include Mayor Ken Livingstone and Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, an American think-tank that promotes US interests in the Middle East. Read more about the conference: A World Civilisation or a Clash of Civilisations. http://www.london.gov.uk/mayor/equalities/clash-conf.jsp

Conference: A World Civilisation or a Clash of Civilisations

20 January 2007

The controversial ‘clash of civilisations' theory is the subject of a special one-day conference organised by the GLA on Saturday 20 January. The conference, called ‘A World Civilisation or a Clash of Civilisations', examines the idea that people's cultural and religious identity will be the main source of future world conflicts. This theory has been used by some commentators to push forward the highly contentious idea that conflict between the West and the Islamic world is inevitable. But this is a conclusion that many people strongly disagree with and the conference will dissect this point and establish whether it is any way valid. Scholars and policymakers will discuss the impact recent international events have had on London's communities and look at issues such as religious tolerance, human rights, diversity and British multiculturalism. Speakers include Mayor Ken Livingstone and Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, an American think-tank that promotes US interests in the Middle East. Admission to the conference is free, but you must register in advance - complete the online registration form, or call 020 7983 4838 or email conference@london.gov.uk. The conference will take place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, London SW1. Nearest Tube: Westminster. Find out how to get there by public transport using Transport for London's Journey Planner (opens in new window).

MIM: The list of participants in the one day conference.

# Doudou Diéne, UN Special Rapporteur on Racism and Xenophobia
# Professor Danny Dorling, specialist in Human Geography
# Tariq Ali, Writer
# Antony Lerman, Executive Director, Institute for Jewish Policy Research
# Alistair Crooke, Director, Conflicts Forum
# Dr. Abdul Bari, Secretary General, Muslim Council of Britain
# Bruce Kent, Peace Campaigner
# Andrés Izarra, Venezuela's TeleSur TV
# Maleiha Malik, Kings College London
# Susan Nathan, Writer
# Cristina Odone, Columnist
# Professor Tariq Ramadan, Senior Research fellow at St Antony's College (Oxford)
# Councillor Salma Yaqoob
# Doug Jewell, Liberty
# Denis Fernando, Lesbian and Gay Coalition Against Racism
# Soumaya Ghannoushi, Research Director IslamExpo
# Richard Hermer, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers
# Mejindarpal Kaur, Director, United Sikhs
# Kirsten Hearne, REGARD

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Mayor dogged by a night to forget

http://society.guardian.co.uk/governinglondon/story/0,,741314,00.html

Hope that claims of brawl would go away hit by new version of story

Kevin Maguire
Friday June 21, 2002
The Guardian

Casually dressed in a short-sleeved black shirt, London's first citizen chatted happily with guests at the 40th birthday party. Ken Livingstone, offered a glass of vodka on his arrival at the ground floor flat with pregnant partner Emma Beal, mingled freely and appeared to be enjoying himself. The bash in Tufnell Park, an up-and-coming district of north London, was thrown by Ms Beal's sister, Kate, who works in publishing for Faber and Faber, to celebrate her own 40th birthday. At about 11.30 that Saturday night, according to one account, the political charmer and witty star of the TV studio circuit felt tired, so retreated to the bedroom for a nap. When he got up just before 1am, Mr Livingstone was to become embroiled in a chain of events that, although disputed, leave the mayor of London fighting for his political life. The left-wing rebel who two years ago beat Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats to win comfortably as an independent, awoke to a nightmare. Accusations that he manhandled his girlfriend and was involved in a drunken scuffle that ended with a man being taken unconscious to hospital by ambulance after falling 15 feet into a basement first surfaced three weeks ago. The London Evening Standard, a title owned by Lord Rothermere's Associated Newspapers group, reported a "mystery" over how the injured man -

Robin Hedges, an art editor with the Standard's ES magazine - came to be hurt in the early hours of May 19 at the late-night party attended by the mayor. A Livingstone spin doctor described the version as "total crap" and in a statement bizarrely issued through the mayor's office, Mr Hedges seemed to contradict himself by insisting no one else was involved. The paper set out to get to the bottom of the mystery and, after interviewing guests, on Friday last week unearthed a witness living nearby who described seeing Mr Livingstone frogmarching Ms Beal from the party, after arguing over her smoking, before struggling with Mr Hedges.

There the story might have rested, an unedifying spectacle, hotly denied by the mayor, whose supporters insisted it was a smear in a paper with a history of being "anti-Ken" under the new editorship of a woman, Veronica Wadley, determined to turn it into a "mini Mail" by replicating the Daily Mail, her former berth. Mr Livingstone, however, facing mounting criticism, opted to defend his reputation and so upped the stakes on Wednesday by making a statement to the London Assembly denying the main points. Privately, he was advised not to do so by Trevor Phillips, Labour chairman of a body created to keep the mayor on a tight leash. But with the 25 members sitting in a horse shoe around him, Mr Livingstone read the nine prepared paragraphs.

Distorted


As a regular Ken baiter repeatedly shouted "GBH, GBH" in the public gallery, Mr Livingstone declared he never sued newspapers "no matter how scurrilous or inaccurate" the stories, as he launched an attack on "one of the most distorted articles I have ever seen about myself". The mayor identified three allegations that he insisted were untrue and which, he conceded, could be said to affect his role as mayor if proved. Mr Livingstone said he had never assaulted anyone and repeated the statement released by his office in Mr Hedges' name when the controversy first erupted in print. "The simple fact," said that statement, "is that I attended a 40th birthday party in Tufnell Park Road during which I had a fall and injured myself. It is false to suggest that anyone else was involved - it was an accident. It is highly misleading and unfair to imply anything else." But according to Mr Hedges in yesterday's Standard, Mr Livingstone was involved and Mr Hedges had been pressured into endorsing what he now maintains was an untrue statement by Ms Beal to protect Mr Livingstone.

At one point when he told Ms Beal he might press charges, Mr Hedges said Ms Beal told him that Mr Livingstone had said: "You may as well hold a gun to my head now." In his version of events published yesterday, Mr Hedges said Mr Livingstone was locked out of the flat after a scuffle with Ms Beal in the street because the mayor objected to his partner smoking. "After the front door was shut with Emma inside, I was left outside with Ken and one or two others," said Mr Hedges. Ken wanted to get back into the party. He was uncontrollable and went up to the door and was hammering on it. He was going ballistic, and we were trying to calm him down and restrain him. We were grabbing on to his arms and trying to hold him. The last memory I have is of Ken's arm lunging towards me. After that my next recollection was when I came to briefly in the ambulance." This version is supported by an earlier witness, Stuart Williams, who recalled seeing Mr Livingstone and Mr Hedges involved in the altercation from his window.

The second allegation picked out by Mr Livingstone - that he manhandled Ms Beal - was not specifically rebutted by Mr Livingstone. Instead, he quoted Nicola Harwin, director of Women's Aid. Ms Harwin, said Mr Livingstone, spoke to Ms Beal then said: "We [Women's Aid] directly verified ourselves that the allegations made about an alleged assault are without foundation." Additionally, he said, the organisation's views had been misrepresented by someone not authorised to speak on its behalf when the Standard claimed it had criticised the mayor.

Damaging
The paper said it quoted Rosemary Jackson, a "leading member" of the charity. But potentially more damaging is the latest testimony of Mr Hedges. He said in the interview with the paper that he was in the flat's sitting room when he heard a commotion in the hallway. "I heard Kate say 'Don't hit my sister'. Kate and others were just pushing Ken out of the door and shutting the door on him. Emma then followed outside to talk to him to calm him down. I and others followed. I saw that the scuffle was continuing on the street. Ken and Emma were scuffling and rowing. I later found out the row was about Emma smoking. "Because Emma is my closest friend I went out to check everything was all right. I was really worried about Emma and I just wanted to get her away from Ken. I shouted 'help' repeatedly because Ken was being out of control, and I felt I could not restrain him on my own."

The third point contested by Mr Livingstone was an allegation accusing him of "disappearing before the arrival of the police" following Mr Hedges' fall. "This charge has been levelled twice by the Standard and is also untrue. In fact I did not leave until after both the police and the London Ambulance Service had arrived," said the mayor. Mr Hedges was unconscious but Mr Williams insisted Livingstone did disappear. The ambulance service, initially told there had been a fight, notified the police, who attended but left without investigating when Kate Beal said it was an accident.

"Ken disappeared about five minutes before the police arrived. I'd heard a guy saying to him 'Come on, Ken, let's get out of here'," said Mr Williams. Mr Livingstone's office last night issued a copy of a one-paragraph letter sent to the Standard by three people Mr Hedges said knew what happened: the Beal sisters and Mike Furniss, Emma's former boyfriend who went to hospital with Mr Hedges. "The Evening Standard's story today has attributed a number of statements to us, none of which are true," the trio said. Getting to the bottom of that Saturday night-Sunday morning will not be easy, but on it hangs the credibility and the politicalprospects of Ken Livingstone.


21.06.2002: Livingstone faces new lying claims
21.06.2002: Who's who in party row
21.06.2002: Masterplan for 700,000 more people
20.06.2002: London needs private cash, admits Livingstone
06.06.2002: Livingstone accused over planning access
22.05.2002: Livingstone must move first, Labour NEC decides

Governing London
London assembly

------------------------------------------

http://society.guardian.co.uk/governinglondon/story/0,,741307,00.html

Livingstone faces new lying claims

Mayor denies brawl but will be questioned by GLA

Kevin Maguire and Patrick Wintour
Friday June 21, 2002

The Guardian

Ken Livingstone is to be called before an emergency meeting of the London Assembly over new allegations that he was involved in a drunken brawl which ended with a man being taken unconscious to hospital. The mayor of London will be questioned over accusations that he lied to the assembly on Wednesday when he gave his version of what happened in the early morning fracas after a 40th birthday party. The controversy threatens to undermine Mr Livingstone's mayorality and is thought to have virtually closed the door on his prospects of returning to the Labour party before he must stand again in the capital in 2004.

Trevor Phillips, Labour chairman of the 25-strong assembly, agreed to convene a special meeting next Wednesday or Thursday after the injured man issued an account wildly at odds with that of the mayor. "The purpose of the meeting is to consider the mayor's statement to the assembly on June 19 in the light of subsequent reports challenging the veracity of his explanation," said Mr Phillips. The assembly has the power to censure, though not unseat, the mayor should it decide he lied and could refer the case to the new Standards Board for England, a body created to improve town hall conduct with the power to investigate any evidence that an official has brought an authority into disrepute.

Such a move would be humiliating to Mr Livingstone, who on Wednesday read a nine-page statement to the assembly dismissing as "scurrilous" a series of lurid tales in London's Evening Standard detailing his alleged involvement in a confrontation that ended with another partygoer, Robin Hedges, falling 15 feet into a basement. As the political vultures circled, the mayor last night appealed to Londoners to choose between the Ken they had known on the television for the past 20 years and an account by Mr Hedges in the London Evening Standard, a newspaper he works for. Mr Hedges alleged that at the north London party around 1.30am on May 19, the mayor: · scuffled and rowed with his pregnant partner Emma Beal over her smoking · hammered on the front door after he was locked out of the party by frightened guests · knocked him [Mr Hedges] over a wall during a doorstep confrontation, causing him to fall 15 feet into the basement · fled the flat before the police arrived · had Mr Hedges put under enormous pressure by Ms Beal to initially agree a statement claiming that it was an accident.

Mr Livingstone said it was Mr Hedges who had been put under intense pressure from his employers to make his statement, adding that Mr Hedges had said at the weekend that he wanted legal advice to protect himself from being forced to make a statement by the Standard. Labour MPs suggested that the undignified episode had probably ended any chances of Mr Livingstone being readmitted into the Labour party in time to become its candidate at the next election in 2004.

Tony Banks, Labour MP for West Ham and a former ally of Mr Livingstone on the Greater London Council, said: "I don't want to talk about Ken's private life, but it would not be the first time that Ken has not told the complete truth. "Ken did not stand any chance before of being readmitted into the Labour party before the five-year disqualification was up, but I don't think this episode will help any further." Labour's national executive is due to discuss the rules for its mayoral selection at its meeting on July 23 with nominations for the candidacy due to close the following month. There has been pressure on the Labour leadership from some in the party to readmit Mr Livingstone early, despite strong resistance from senior cabinet figures. Mr Livingstone had already reduced his slim chances of early readmission by deciding again to take the government to court over the part-privatisation scheme for the London Underground. Stephen Pound, Ealing North Labour MP, said: "This is going to have severe repercussions. It will tarnish Ken's reputation as the plainest speaker in London. "The old Ken would have stood up and said 'it's a fair cop', or else that he didn't do anything. For him to wriggle like this is un-Kenlike. He has got to be completely upfront and open. There are questions here."

Eric Ollerenshaw, leader of the Tory group on the London Assembly, said: "It now seems that the statement the mayor gave to the London Assembly was inaccurate. "No one asked him to explain himself to the assembly but now he has, and that statmement has been seen to be inaccurate, there should be an emergency meeting of the assembly during which Livingstone should be given the opportunity to explain why he made the statement that he did to the assembly."


21.06.2002: Mayor dogged by a night to forget
21.06.2002: Who's who in party row

------------------------------------------------------

MIM: Livingstone's nine page account of a 'non' event to the London Assembly mayoral monitoring body was dismissed by them as lies.

The Mayor's office also found the need to issue a press release for an incident which the mayor claims' never happened'.

The victim says he was "pushed over a wall" which was part of an outside stairwell.

This indicates that it was a type of low balcony railing which is common in 'gallery type' apartment buildings.

Below the article is the Mayor's testimony to the London Assembly.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2066514.stm

Livingstone denies 'scuffle' claims
Ken Livingstone, London Mayor Livingstone brands claims as "outright lies"
London Mayor Ken Livingstone has denied pushing a man 15ft over a stairwell during a row at a late night party.

Mr Livingstone gave his full version of events for the first time during a special meeting called by the London Assembly to quiz him on the subject.

Mr Livingstone gave his full version of events for the first time during a special meeting called by the London Assembly to quiz him on the subject.

Mr Livingstone said that the victim, Robin Hedges, had earlier "jumped" on him, bringing him to the ground in the street as the mayor and his pregnant girlfriend, Emma Beal, left the party following a row.

Mr Hedges had been wrongly led to believe by other people at the party that an argument between Mr Livingstone and Ms Beal had "turned nasty", said the mayor.

Mr Livingstone said that following the attack, he made his way back to the party with Mr Hedges following him up the stairs outside the house.

Cigarette claim wrong

He said that there were lots of people on the stairs and, although he did not see Mr Hedges fall, he thought the injured man may have overbalanced as he climbed past people on the stairs.

Mr Livingstone was also quizzed about the issuing of a press statement on Mr Hedges' behalf by the mayor's office.

He said Ms Beal and Mr Hedges were close friends and spoke about whether to issue a statement once the story appeared.

Using the mayoral facilities to put out the statement was justified because the allegations could have brought the mayor's office into disrepute, he said.

Mr Livingstone said that there were no drugs at the party and that press reports that he was drunk were inaccurate.

He had three glasses of wine, then slept from 10pm to 1am. When he woke he was told his pregnant girlfriend had been smoking, which led to the two having an argument.

Mr Livingstone told the London Assembly that it turned out Ms Beal had not actually had a cigarette after all.

Newspaper advice

The mayor's main target in his statement and answering questions was the London Evening Standard, who first printed allegations about the party.

Mr Livingstone said his advice to Londoners was not to buy the newspaper, which later said it was standing by its story and rejected claims it was engaged in a political campaign against the mayor.

Eric Ollerenshaw, the leader of the Conservatives in the 25-member cross-party group, said the meeting was "about the trust and credibility of the mayor".

Mr Hedges, 35, who needed a brain scan after the fall, initially described the fall as an accident, but later told a newspaper the mayor had pushed him over the wall.

Mr Livingstone has consistently denied assaulting Mr Hedges, manhandling his pregnant girlfriend Emma Beal, and fleeing the scene before police arrived.

Ms Beal has also denied being manhandled by Mr Livingstone.

Mr Hedges has told police he did not want to make a criminal complaint about the matter.

Mr Livingstone said he would not be suing the Evening Standard for libel, or reporting it to the Press Complaints Commission because of bad experiences in the past with such action.

Instead he was happy for "Londoners to judge", he said, adding: "They're a jury and a pretty big one."

Baroness Hamwee, deputy chairwoman of the assembly, suggested the newspaper should consider referring the matter to Standards Board for England if it had evidence of misconduct by the mayor.

Trevor Phillips, the assembly's Labour chairman, told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme that move would be a way of getting to the bottom of the row.

If it was not referred "this is going to hang around like a bad smell for quite a long time and it is not just about Ken Livingstone, it is about the integrity of this whole institution"..

------------------------

MIM: Ken Livingstone's statement to the London Assemblyabout the incident which they dismissed as 'lies.'

Livingstone statement in full:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/2067839.stm

I went to a party where I had three glasses of wine. By 10pm I was feeling tired, as I often do at parties, and I slept until 1am.

I got up at 1am, I had two dances with Emma (Beal) and then somebody accused her of having smoked a cigarette and we had a row.

We went out into the street rather than have the row inside the house. After a minute or two we said "Well, let's go home". I mean, the party was effectively over for us.

We then went inside where Emma collected her bag and her coat and we went out again.

We walked around the corner. At the point where Emma was reaching into her bag to get her car keys Robin Hedges came running round the corner waving his arms, saying: "Help, help".

'He jumped on me'

He had been told by someone that I was attacking Emma or presumably a row had been enlarged as it passed from person to person in the party.

He then jumped on me, technically an assault, and brought me to the ground. He then continued to try and keep me there.

I struggled to get up. Emma went back into the house. Her sister Kate came out.

Lots of other people at the party came out and I struggled my way back to the house.

As I was going up the stairs several people were on the stairs. I got to the top of the stairs and I could still hear Robin shouting.

The fall

By this time he was still several feet behind me. He was either on the first step of those stairs or he was actually at the base of the stairs and was shouting.

As I looked back I clearly saw as he tried to get round the other people he was leaning over the edge of what is a very low wall.

turned, I can't remember if I knocked on the door knocker or rang the bell, and within seconds I heard a woman's voice saying "Someone has fallen over".

I did not see it. I was 180 degrees, my face was turned 180 degrees away from what happened and not the slightest doubt that he struggled to get up the stairs, struggling round people he overbalanced and fell.

I did not push him, nobody pushed him. It was an accident. This is exactly the sort of thing that can happen to anybody.

Robin was not motivated by malice. He had been led to believe that my argument with Emma had turned nasty and he rushed out to intervene to stop it.

'Unacceptable pressure'

Kate Beal, who came round the corner at the time he had jumped on me, will confirm that. Emma actually was standing there as he jumped on me.

I feel no malice towards Robin because he was motivated solely by desire to protect his oldest and closest friend.

It was a mistake on his part. He has suffered terribly from that, not just the physical pain, the cancelled holiday but I suspect unrelenting and totally unacceptable media pressure on someone who should be left to recover."

The position in all of this is that I suspect that incident should have occupied a paragraph in the Islington Gazette under a small headline 'Man falls at party'.

'Weasel words'

Londoners will ask themselves, as I am sure will the assembly, does that incident justify four full front pages of the Evening Standard, two double page spreads and several other articles which have been extremely free with the facts.

The weasel words of the Standard's libel lawyers inserted here and there with 'alleged' and so on doesn't hide the fact the Evening Standard set out to characterise this as my having pushed Robin Hedges over a wall.

The two basic sets of statements in the papers are from Stuart Williams, the next door neighbour, and Robin.

On their first account on the 31 May they refer to an anonymous neighbour who merely announces that he was awoken by the thud of someone falling.

There are only two flats where that could have happened.

The ground floor flat and the basement flat.

Sudden recall?

I am told by Kate Beal that the basement flat was unoccupied all weekend so we assume, therefore, that this is Mr Williams' first comment on the events and nothing in that would give me cause for concern.

Two weeks later Mr Williams, by this time named, has developed total recall of all conversations he heard even though he admits in an incident that lasted eight to ten minutes at most he went in and out of his bed three times.

Whether this would stand up in court and anyone who saw him on the TV would realise that his recall isn't quite as perfect as The Standard had made out.

Then we have the change between what Robin said to The Standard on the 31 May.

The statement he put out after he saw and after he had said to Emma 'I did not say these things', and then what he said on the 20 June after my statement to you.

'Out of character'

Once again, Robin who claimed to have been unconscious throughout most of this has also developed perfect recall.

I don't blame Robin and I don't blame Stuart Williams. I think both people have been put under relentless pressure, and we all know the game of journalists who will ask a question to which you may say 'no' or 'yes' and then they put into your mouth the actual question they have asked.

I feel that the conduct of The Standard in this event has been a disgrace.

It could have occurred to the editor Veronica Wadley when she first heard this story that it might be out of character.

In the 21 years that I have been in the focus of public attention and unrelenting media attention there has never been a single story linking me to violence or linking me to drunkenness.

Perhaps if Max Hastings had still been editor he may have paused and considered whether there shouldn't have been some more detailed investigation before they ran with this story.

Detection work

Having run with this story they have consistently tried to justify it.

We are told in the article on 14 June that the Evening Standard reporters had re-created the events of the evening.

Well re-created, I hope they never have to do any re-creation on anybody surgically because I have to say this.

On their first account of 31 May they describe Robin Hedges as falling 12ft over a wall. Two weeks later this has become 15ft over a wall.

Well the laws of physics will need to be re-written I felt. So, yesterday after lunchtime, in my own time, I got the train to Tufnell Park, I took my own tape measure and I measured this miraculous wall.

This wall that could be the eighth wonder of the world. It is 10ft tall.

Now I can understand a reporter may make a mistake of 10ft being two if you're not measuring it. But who took the decision in the Standard in that fortnight to change the height of the wall.

Press power

And if London's evening paper can't get the height of the wall accurate to within 50% why should we trust anything else they write.

If we are told by the editor of the Evening Standard that this is a careful reconstruction of events you would assume that on the simple basic physical facts that could be measured they might have actually gone and done it.

So I really do look forward to hearing later on in the later editions of the paper today about the miraculous event of this wall.

The truth is editors have more power than any cabinet minister. They have the power to besmirch a reputation and end a career.

Now that power should only be used with the greatest of restraint.

I think Londoners and the assembly have the right to say was that the case in this instance.

I believe Veronica Wadley was reckless with the facts and malicious with that power.

For five weeks we have had the Evening Standard trying to bring my mayoralty to an end, to ruin my reputation and hopefully, from their view-point, force me into resignation.

'Wrong' quotes

Fortunately for me Londoners decide who is to be Mayor not editors, otherwise I wouldn't have been in this position in the first place.

Finally I just want to say this, I think we need several answers.

Why is it The Evening Standard has still not printed the letter they received from Women's Aid when they carried a story saying Women's Aid had attacked me? and quoting somebody called Rosemary Jackson.

I have here the letter sent to the editor of The Evening Standard on June 20th from Nicola Harwin, the director of Women's Aid.

In it she says: "In fact Rosemary Jackson is a voluntary member of Luton Women's Aid, a local refugee service outside London, which is a member of Women's Aid national network of domestic violence service.

"She was telephoned by an Evening Standard reporter whose name was Sharon on the evening of Sunday 16th June.

"Rosemary has confirmed that she suggested the reporter should be contacting a London representative of Women's Aid rather than herself.

"Rosemary insists that she spoke only generally about how to tackle domestic violence and not in relation to any individual.

"Rosemary denies calling for the Mayor's resignation."

Key questions

Why hasn't the Evening Standard published that letter or any of the others I have referred to?

Why have they not published the letter they received from Kate and Emma and Mike Furness denying the words put in their mouth in the article quoting Robin Hedges.

I want also to have an undertaking from The Evening Standard that Robin is not going to be victimised from this.

He made a mistake. He wasn't malicious and I hope we are now not going to see him made a scapegoat as The Evening Standard story collapses.

Also given the hypocrisy of some journalists claiming their concern here is for Emma, I would like to say those photographers and cameramen who stayed outside my front door this morning to get a picture of her are harassing her and nobody who is pregnant should be subject to that.

I want them to stop pestering us. I left the house. I was happy to be photographed as I did so. I want them to leave Emma alone.

And finally, I would just like to thank Londoners because I got used to the fact that I don't worry what's in the paper.

'Unacceptable journalism'

I worry about what Londoners say to me and over the past five weeks increasingly as time has worn on it is Londoners who have stopped me on the Tube and on the street to tell me they don't believe what they read in The Standard and I have their support and I thank them for that.

It has been very important in getting through a difficult period. I also say this to Veronica Wadley: This is not acceptable journalism and until we can have a proper answer from Veronica Wadley on how this story grew in the telling.

The reality is I don't believe, I won't believe what I read in The Standard and I simply warn Londoners now: Don't believe anything you read about my policies or my private life in this paper until it's got a new editor.

The Evening Standard has alleged that GLA officials put pressure on Mr Hedges to make his original statement.

This is entirely untrue. At no time have I or any GLA official spoken to Mr Hedges since the evening of the accident.

Misuse of resources?

Emma Beal did speak to Mr Hedges in her capacity as one of his oldest and best friends and they agreed a statement after a series of conversations made from Emma Beal's personal mobile phone.

Simon Fletcher was present for part of one of these phone calls but not any of the others.

The statement that was agreed with Robin was given to me by Emma.

I contacted my chief of staff and told him to give it to the GLA press office for release.

It has been suggested by the Evening Standard that even thought they asked the GLA press office for my response the GLA press office releasing this statement was a misuse of GLA resources. This is not the case.

It was a lawful and proper use of the press office to release Mr Hedge's statement because it was relevant to an allegation which if true could be said to bring the Mayoralty into disrepute.

This has been confirmed by the GLA legal team and leading counsel.

I have taken legal advice on this from leading counsel.

I have been advised that there is nothing unlawful and the Greater London Authority disclosing information in its possession which related to allegations which, if true, might be said to bring the office of mayor into disrepute.

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MIM: Four years after the 'balcony toss' Livingstone showed his vindicativeness to the Evening Standard newspaper which had publicised the story, by insulting one of their reporters who is Jewish. The Mayor compared Oliver Feingold to a concentration camp guard. Charges were filed and Livingstone sucessfully appealed against a suspension and a hefty fine.

City Journal
Red Ken, the Odious
The latest controversy surrounding London's left-wing mayor reflects discredit on British society.
Theodore Dalrymple
9 March 2006

http://www.city-journal.org/html/eon2006-03-09td.html

As London mayor "Red Ken" Livingstone emerged from a party to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the first open acknowledgement by a serving Member of Parliament (Chris Smith) of his homosexuality, a reporter for London's only evening newspaper, the Evening Standard, approached. In the past, the paper has treated the left-wing mayor rudely. The following distinctly sub-Johnsonian dialogue took place:

Reporter: Mr. Livingstone, Evening Standard. How did tonight go?

Livingstone: How awful for you. Have you thought of having treatment?

Reporter: How did tonight go?

Livingstone: Have you thought of having treatment?

Reporter: Was it a good party? What does it mean for you?

Livingstone: What did you do before? Were you a German war criminal?

Reporter: No, I'm Jewish, I wasn't a German war criminal and I'm actually quite offended by that. So, how did tonight go?

Livingstone: Ah right, well you might be [Jewish] but you are just like a concentration camp guard, you are doing it just because you are paid to, aren't you?

Reporter: Great, I have you on record for that. So, how was tonight?

Livingstone: It's nothing to do with you because your paper is a load of scumbags and reactionary bigots.

Reporter: I'm a journalist and I'm doing my job. I'm only asking for a comment.

Livingstone: Well, work for a paper that doesn't have a record of supporting fascism. [The Evening Standard's owner, Associated Newspapers, was well disposed toward Hitler for a time in the 1930s.]

With great maladroitness, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Britain's most important Jewish organization, formally complained about Livingstone, who had refused to apologize for his outburst, to the Adjudication Panel, an entity that the Blair government has set up to hear complaints about various abuses by local government representatives and to punish them if its deems it appropriate. The panel rejected Livingstone's claims that the reporter, Oliver Finegold, swore at him first, and suspended the mayor from his government duties for a month. The panel ruled that Livingstone had behaved in a way incompatible with the dignity of his office, and that he should have apologized. The suspension has itself wound up suspended, following a legal challenge by Livingstone.

Unfortunately—but predictably—Livingstone has used the controversy successfully to present himself as a martyr for democracy, removed from an elected post by an unelected panel (to whose operation, however, he had never objected before). He suggested that the board sought to silence him on the question of Israel, of whose government he has been an unrelenting critic. The charge of anti-Semitism also circled the mayor, though his remarks, while deeply offensive and surpassingly stupid, were not actually anti-Semitic. He did not say, for example, that it would be a good thing to have worked as concentration camp guard. On the other hand, he has openly and even proudly consorted with a Muslim cleric who has called for the killing of Jews.

In the wake of the affair of the Danish cartoons, Muslims have seized upon the episode as an example of double standards. A Muslim correspondent for the Guardian, Britain's most influential liberal newspaper, angrily noted that when one Jew felt offense, the offender met with punishment, but when millions of Muslims were offended, the offenders did not. The sheer intellectual sloppiness of his analogy was second only to that of Livingstone himself in the original dialogue. But no one could mistake either the correspondent's anger or what literary theorists doubtless would call the subtext of his complaint: that Britain was in the grip of a Jewish cabal.

The real significance of the affair is this: only in a frivolous and debased country could a man as inarticulate, rude, and uncouth as Livingstone be considered fit for public office of any kind, let alone an important public office. The fact that he won election by popular vote only makes matters worse—far worse.


This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2601