Livingstone’s latest remarks about Jews are noteworthy, not just because of their precise content, but (perhaps particularly) because he made these comments knowing full well the angry response earlier similar observations elicited.
Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight programme on Tuesday night, he said: “People vote according to their income. Now that can change – it might be a generation before people catch up.
“If we were talking 50 years ago, the Roman Catholic community, the Irish community in Britain, the Jewish community was solidly Labour. Still the Irish Catholic community is pretty still solidly Labour because it is not terribly rich.
“As the Jewish community got richer, it moved over to voting for Mrs Thatcher as they did in Finchley.”
Livingstone clearly doesn’t care that in fact one reason some Jewish (and non-Jewish) Londoners stopped supporting Labour had nothing to do with their income – it was because they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Ken. Here’s a reminder of Jonathan Freedland’s response.
The case against Ken Livingstone is not that he is some crude racist. It is rather that, when it comes to this one group of Londoners and their predicaments, their hopes and anxieties, he simply doesn’t care. Consistently warm to some communities – this week he went to Finsbury Park mosque, quoted Muhammad’s final sermon and expressed the hope that as mayor he would educate Londoners in the teachings of Islam – he doesn’t care what hurt he causes Jews. He shows Jews, says one Labour parliamentarian, a “hard heart”.
I agree with Milton Keynes Labour PPC Andrew Pakes:
A period of silence & reflection from Ken Livingstone on all matters Jewish would be appropriate