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Snoop
February 24th, 2006, 10:38 AM
I thought it was odd that a mayor could get suspended like a sports figure or something. Nothing like teaching political correctness!

London mayor suspended from office over Nazi gibe


The Associated Press
Published February 24, 2006, 6:51 AM CST

LONDON -- Mayor Ken Livingstone was suspended from office for four weeks on Friday for bringing his office into disrepute by comparing a Jewish reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard.

"His treatment of the journalist was unnecessarily insensitive and offensive," said David Laverick, chairman of the Adjudication Panel for England, the disciplinary panel that ruled on the case. The suspension is effective March 1. Livingstone has the right to appeal the ruling.

Laverick said the panel objected to the fact that Livingstone refused to apologize.

"The mayor does seem to have failed, from the outset of this case, to have appreciated that his conduct was unacceptable," Laverick said.

Livingstone did not attend Friday's session to hear the ruling. The panel made no recommendation whether his pay should be suspended.

The mayor had told the panel that he had not meant to offend the Jewish community when he asked Evening Standard reporter Oliver Finegold whether he had been a "German war criminal."

Finegold, who had approached the mayor for comment after a reception for the gay and lesbian community in February, replied that he was Jewish.

Livingstone told the reporter he was "just like a concentration camp guard. You're just doing it because you're paid to, aren't you?"


Copyright 2006, The Associated Press

Pibs
February 24th, 2006, 12:19 PM
Livingstone is one of the biggest dicks either side of the Thames. Anything bad happening to him is a good thing happening.

The only good thing about him is I once got a raise at work, helped by the fact my boss found my joke gigglesome - the joke related to the 'congestion charge' for driving in London (introduced by you know who - having deliberately skewed the traffic lights for months beforehand in order to 'prove' the system 'worked'). Talking about how you know when you're in the charge zone I said "There's meant to be a big C written on the road. I believe it stands for "Livingstone".

You need to know Anglo-Saxon to geddit.


P.

FruitandNut
February 24th, 2006, 10:35 PM
Clearly Pibs is a great fan of this native Londoner! To be a bit fairer in summary our Ken can be a bit of a 'dick' at times, but he is muched loved by many Londoners for his commitment to the city. He is probably too left wing in his views for many (including on a lot of occasions, myself), but generally speaking I would be quite happy to buy a secondhand car off him.

I am slightly suprised that Pibs is quite so volatile in his opinion of Ken in view of the fact that he does 'suck up' to the Muslim community quite hard these days - probably fearing another 7-7 attack if he doesn't - I don't think it will make much difference to extremist Jihadis since he hasn't actually converted!
He was clearly caught off guard in making his 'concentration camp guard' comment, and I am disappointed that he didn't diffuse things quickly afterwards by apologising and admitting he had goofed.

Yeh, he has introduced road tolls for people driving into London, but then the morning and evening gridlocks had merged into an all-day one, so something clearly had to be done to 'encourage' more people into 'car sharing' and using public transport. Many Londoners do view things as having largely improved as a result.

Snoop
February 25th, 2006, 09:14 AM
Fruity - has anyone taken up a collection yet to pay his legal costs?

As far as tolls in the city - I was tolled to death in NYC. For the last 8 years, the only tolls I've paid in Michigan are $0. I can drive all the way to Chicago without a toll (there is a toll road also which may save some time). The last time I paid a toll was when I came back to NYC to visit - I couldn't wait to get out of there.

The whole point of "rush-hour tolls" is to relieve traffic congestion. In NYC, I can say that it created a whole new cash cow industry for the traffic dept.

FruitandNut
February 25th, 2006, 09:23 AM
Snoop - The legal/constitutional validity of a non-elected body suspending an elected mayor is likely to be challenged first. I don't suspect that Mr. Livingstone will pick up the tab whatever happens.

With regard to any 'whip around' for funds, I don't suspect they would get much joy in places like Golders Green - there is a very large Jewish community!!! Oi vey there are some big houses and big money there, but I think Ken will have to grovel a bit if he wants to fund raise there in the near future.

Taken from the Golders Green site on the wiki:

'Since 1907 Golders Green has been a very cosmopolitan place, and regarded by many as an extension of Hampstead. It is for its Jewish community that Golders Green is mostly famous. There were Jewish businesses and homes in Golders Green even by 1910, and by 1915 there were thought to be about 300 Jewish families living in Golders Green. By 1959 around a quarter of the population of the Borough of Hendon (which included Golders Green) was Jewish. In 1913 the first public service was held in West Heath Drive and in 1915 a meeting was held in the Ionic Cinema to establish a congregation, which had grown by September to 90 families. Dunstan Road synagogue, Golders Green, opened in 1922. Its most famous Rabbi has been Rabbi Sacks, the current Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.'

Pibs
February 25th, 2006, 09:29 AM
And a great many of them loathe the system, not least as it's destroyed their through-trade or costs them money every time they leave the premises.

The company I was working for performed few deliveries in London as it was mainly agriculture-based but they immediately noticed a drop in orders - people don't overly appreciate a 5 pound charge added to small items. Ironically they said they'd hunt around London and try to find them locally (*has image of increased traffic as people desperately try and avoid mail order products now they have ludicrous delivery charges..*)

Bottom line is few, if anyone anywhere, voted for the charge. Every single motorist anywhere in the UK has already paid (or is meant to) a hefty yearly or 6 monthly 'road fund tax". To then pay extra for using certain public roads is a kick in the teeth.

If Ken owned the road then he can charge for it but why the feck should I pay that twit and his imcompetent local council for driving on a public road?

If it were proven the money were actually going towards better public transport it could be swallowed - but no government could manage such a feat even if it tried. Corruption, kickbacks and general waste means they most you could expect is some new slogans and perhaps replacing the bins removed as an "anti-terror" measure.

The raw fact is the charge is NOT for any form of service, it is NOT for any form of facility (at least nothing not already paid for many times over) - it is purely highway robbery, taking money by force merely for travelling down the public highway.

He didn't even pretend it had any purpose other than punishing poorer people for driving in London, a "sin tax" for the sin of not being able to afford it and extra revenue for him if you can.

The fee, originally at 5 pounds (why do I presume it has already gone up?) is not high enough to really deter those who really need or want to travel - the real deterrent is their incompetence at charging, the fear of over-charging and the fear of not knowing you strayed over some line then being hammered with a penalty notice a few weeks later.

The guy's so left-wing he fell off but banning poor people from the nation's capital is a great improvement? I've nothing against road-charging IF you own the road. He doesn't.

One of my very first realisations as a nipper that politicians were a lying pile of filth, possibly my very first glimpse as a child that there is something illogical about trusting people to protect the people from the people, was a TV slot about road tax. The interviewer said something and in response the politician said:

"Well I think most people know that only a small fraction of the road fund license, or "car tax" is actually spent on the roads and transport system"

4 things struck me about that moment.

1. The audience reacted as though no, they did NOT realise that, as did the interviewer - yet no-one actually lynched the fecker.

2. After a raised eyebrow, the interviewer failed to give him the punch in the mouth he desperately deserved, even though he was right next to him.

3. Everyone just seemed to accept they had been ripped off for years - despite often hearing about how roads couldn't be repaired or upgraded because there wasn't enough cash - despite the fact that only something like 20% of the tax paid was spent on them.

4. This meant motorists were financing some other thing or things - without even knowing what.

You know the really sickenijng thing? I saw an almost indentical moment on TV, again regarding car tax, around 10 years later. And the dumb masses looked surprised again.

The first time was something I've never forgotten.


P.

Snoop
February 25th, 2006, 09:37 AM
"Well I think most people know that only a small fraction of the road fund license, or "car tax" is actually spent on the roads and transport system"
P.Pibs - you are correct - BUT - the revenues are part of the local budget. In the US, the feds provide "matching funds" so the revenues are needed to get those matching funds. I believe all of the matching funds must be spend on road construction and repair.

Snoop
February 28th, 2006, 01:40 PM
Reprieve!

Ken Livingstone's suspension frozen by judge
(Filed: 28/02/2006)
A High Court judge has frozen the order suspending London mayor Ken Livingstone from office, pending his appeal of the controversial ruling.
<!--MPU STOPPED BY MEDIA --><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=300 align=center border=0 hspace="0"><TBODY><TR><TD width=300><CENTER>http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/graphics/2006/02/28/uken.jpg</CENTER></TD></TR><TR><TD class=caption><CENTER>Mr Livingstone is appealing his suspension</CENTER></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
The mayor was due to begin his four-week suspension (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=5GFY50PJYNEHPQFIQMGCFFOAVCBQ UIV0?xml=/news/2006/02/25/nken25.xml) tomorrow for bringing his office into disrepute by comparing a Jewish reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard.
But a judge, sitting in private, ruled in an 11th hour decision that Mr Livingstone was entitled to have the suspension frozen pending his statutory appeal.
Mr Livingstone had strongly protested the suspension, and today accused the Board of Deputies of British Jews of making the original complaint only to try to "hush" him up over his views on the Middle East.
He claimed they wanted him to "tone down" his views on the Israeli government.
"For decades the charge of anti-Semitism has been used to try to suppress any meaningful debate about the policies of the Israeli government," he said.
"Londoners who may have seen George Clooney's recent film Goodnight And Good Luck will recognise the tactic of McCarthyism updated for a new age."
Last Friday, a three-man committee of the Adjudication Panel for England unanimously found Mr Livingstone guilty of being "unnecessarily insensitive and offensive" to Evening Standard reporter Oliver Finegold.
The mayor's legal team will argue at the appeal, expected to take place later in March, that the tribunal's decision breaches his Article 8 right to private life under the European Convention on Human Rights.
His lawyers will also contend it contravenes his right to freedom of expression under Article 10 and the four-week suspension is an "inappropriate" sanction.
Even before any further legal action, Mr Livingstone faces a hefty bill for legal costs which tops &#163;80,000.
But earlier today Mr Livingstone vowed to fight the case all the way to the House of Lords, if necessary, even though it could cost "hundreds of thousands of pounds" if he loses.

FruitandNut
February 28th, 2006, 06:10 PM
Regarding Ken's introduction of tolls, they were not introduced just to obtain revenues, they were also introduced to get people to car share and more particularly to use public transport.

London was getting totally gridlocked and parking was just getting silly. Many of the narrow older side streets were impossible to drive down because of cars, vans and trucks parked anywhere and everywhere. It was becoming a nightmare for the emergency services.

Pibs, gridlock is not good for commerce either. Short of a complete demolition of London Central and a rebuild heavily dedicated to traffic flow and parking (wall to wall highways and carparks), just what would be your solution???

Pibs
February 28th, 2006, 06:35 PM
I've already said, I have no problems with tolls for those who actually own the road - sell the roads!

Ensure those who live there get first refusal, even if they openly intend selling again at a profit. Their choice.

"Public ownership" always sucks. Always. Especially when you get charged for using it by people who have no valid claim to it.

The funsome bit is now you're gonna get all indignant and claim that if nasty evil capitalists owned the road they'd do something really evil, like charging you to use them? Best we give control to the government then, cos they'd never, ever, do such a thing..

Sheesh.


P.

FruitandNut
February 28th, 2006, 07:35 PM
I can envisage toll booths etc. everywhere charging differing amounts of loot. It would get ruddy expensive and lead to a modern version of the toll riots of the 18th century such as happened in places like Bristol:
http://www.brigstowe.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/bridge.htm
and the Rebecca Riots over in Wales.

Pibs
March 1st, 2006, 03:28 AM
Question - do you see toll booths in London?

If not, why not?


And the very fact that if pushed too far the people would riot could be a clue, you figure?


P.

CliveStaples
March 1st, 2006, 06:09 AM
Regarding Ken's introduction of tolls, they were not introduced just to obtain revenues, they were also introduced to get people to car share and more particularly to use public transport.

That's a rather malicious goal for a toll, I think.

I have been taught that tolls are useful in clearing up congestion by offering an incentive to conserve one's road time. Either you can pay the cost with dollars or with time spent in traffic jams.

Pibs
March 1st, 2006, 08:43 AM
Fruity, out of interest, if a private company were to introduce tolls to increase revenue and to reduce congestion, would this be a good thing?


P.

KevinBrowning
March 1st, 2006, 08:52 AM
The mayor had told the panel that he had not meant to offend the Jewish community when he asked Evening Standard reporter Oliver Finegold whether he had been a "German war criminal."

I find this hilarious. What prompted him to say this? What does this have to do with a gay and lesbian event? Seems very random, unless he just hates Jews.

Snoop
March 1st, 2006, 08:55 AM
I find this hilarious. What prompted him to say this? What does this have to do with a gay and lesbian event? Seems very random, unless he just hates Jews.Kevin - I'm as much in the dark as you are. I don't think his comments warranted a 4 week suspension (I'm still confused about how they can do something like that). If a Jew made those remarks, it would be understood as a joke in the heat of the moment. The gay event connection just baffles me. I'm sure Fruity will straighten this all out.