Ken Livingstone’s London. Red, Red, and very very missed

Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone, The only truly successful left-wing British politician of modern times

……is an English politician who served as the Leader of the Greater London Council (GLC) from 1981 until the council was abolished in 1986, and as Mayor of London from the creation of the office in 2000 until 2008. He also served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Brent East from 1987 to 2001

Born in Lambeth, South London, to a working-class family, Livingstone joined Labour in 1968 Ken went on to become the head of the GLC.

The GLC began as an effort to rationalise London-wide planning, London in the 1950s could be a grim place. Large swathes of residential streets remained derelict after being bombed out during the war and the houses still standing were often squalid and overcrowded. Thick fog hung over the city and roads were dirty and dangerous…….

The GLC under Ken Livingstone was an an administration that successfully enacted a historically unprecedented radical program of successful and popular socialist policies, including massive investment in job creation, reducing public transport fares, the declaration of London as a nuclear free zone, saving over a million pounds annually spent on utterly cometic and pointless defence plans nik e hiding under a table before the bomb went off).

Arguing that politics had long been the near-exclusive preserve of white middle-aged men, the GLC began an attempt to open itself to representations from other groups, principally from women, the working-class, ethnic minorities and homosexuals but also from children and the elderly.

They initiated a raft of
measures to improve the lives of minorities within London,  this included funding for groups such as London Gay Teenage Group, English Collective of Prostitutes, Women Against Rape, Lesbian Line, A Woman’s Place, and Rights of Women, and the Ethnic Minorities Committee.

Understanding the clear evidence that the Metropolitan Police was an institutionally racist organisation, he appointed Paul Boateng to head the Police Committee and monitor the force’s activities.
[100]  the police he remarked are highly political organisation, noting that when canvasing police flats at election time, you find that they are either Conservatives who think of Thatcher as a bit of a pinko or they are National Front.”[100]

An outspoken republican he politely refused an invitation to Diana and Charles Windsor’s wedding and the list of righteous achievements simply goes on and on, and of course 

Just as today our overwhelming right wing press rabidly attacked such egalitarian policies, snowflake like and steeped in patriarchal white privilege they moaned that such policies only served “fringe” interests, and also like today their criticisms often exhibited overt racist, homophobic and sexist sentiment…


The GLC ended after an extended and fierce face-off between perhaps two of the most popular and divisive figures in British politics: Margaret Thatcher and Ken Livingstone, with Thatcher shamelessly abolishing the London’s Council she simply could not defeat by democratic means, with it’s formers headquarters, county hall still facing parliament from the south bank as an irony free monument to her neoliberal policies, the building now a Macdonalds,  a tourist trap aquarium and of course a hotel for the fifty rich.


This list of adventures and landmark achievements goes on and on, including two tenures as London mayor (the first time as an independent winning against Tony (call me Maggie) Blaire’s official labour candidate, he as been Characterised as “the only truly successful left-wing British politician of modern times, and today Ken Joins David Ellis and me Simon Tyszko on Isotopica live on resonance 104.4 FM.


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