Sunday, 1 May 2016

Ken Livingstone and Social Media Catharsis

It's been a long few days of tedium on the old social networks over the Ken situation...so I thought I'd add to it.

You're welcome.

Just be grateful I didn't call this an open letter.

Anyway, I've been seeing a fair few posts linking to articles showing the background that proves Ken was 'right' and factually correct, so there.

If I may.

I used to have a line manager who, upon discovering that I was learning Japanese, would lean on my desk every lunch time and talk to me about Japanese war rape. And their awful treatment of prisoners of war. "So much rape" he would say as he munched a sandwich and leered down at me.

Nobody thought that was fine and dandy when I posted about it on facebook.

Nobody reminded me that it was factually correct so chill yeah?

But it was. It was perfectly factually correct. And therefore he was well within his rights yes?

No.

If I had gone to HR he would have been in trouble because it is a fucked up thing to talk about in a professional context. It is inflammatory and heavy handed and most of all pointless.

Rattling off factual examples, bringing along a history book, or an effing Oxford historian for that matter; none of that would have helped his case.

It would have been judged inappropriate and wrong and he would have got reprimanded.

Ken was shut down for "bringing the party into disrepute" which he undoubtedly did. Arguing the toss over the ins and outs of his actual comments, their technical correctness and whether or not that makes them anti-semitic misses that point. His behaviour was piss poor. Even people defending him on factual grounds have said that.

And be honest, if Cameron had said it, the internet would be awash with memes of him dressed as Hitler fucking a pig. Or unfunny newsthump articles entitled Mein Cam. And Canary pieces calling for his head. Oh and don't forget the 38 degrees petitions. Dozens of them.

I honestly can't envisage a fact finding expedition to seek out the document signed by German Zionists for the purposes of leaping to his defence.

Ken was defending someone who had made dodgy comments. Talking about moving Israel is dodgy ground because if denying Israel a right to exist is anti-semitic, you are entering that area of debate. No defence was needed. Shah admitted fault. Corbyn did what he had to do. The matter was closed. To defend the indefensible is bad enough, to do so by invoking Hitler is awful and frankly dumb.

Nick Griffin tweeted his agreement yesterday. And someone phoned LBC to stick up for Ken. Their opening gambit when they did this was "Firstly, I reject Judaism, it's a hideous religion" This debate is usually confined to the far right and if the far right are crawling out from under their rocks to join in on this one, then it must be a serious grey area.

To top it all off, a Sky reporter asked him on Saturday what point he was trying to make and he said "I can't remember"

Oh well, glad it was important enough to fill the headlines in the week running up to the elections. Whilst blaming the Blairites and saying Wes Streeting is dragging the story out...during your fifth media interview on the matter. Ignoring the fact that you defied and undermined your leader's decision to suspend Shah by publicly insisting she was right after the fact. Doing him more damage than any moderate rival. With friends like Ken, who needs enemies?

Maybe next time there's a debate on say, improving race relations, he could quote stats about black people committing more knife crime. Yes, it would derail the debate and put people's backs up, but the stats would be solid. And that's all that matters. Not context, not intent, not phrasing and not timing. Just facts. Who needs nuance and intelligence? Not Ken. And clearly not some of the people rushing to defend him at all costs.

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