More about the soon-to-be-suspended Mayor
As an update to my last piece in Ephems with some new material that reinforces my earlier view of the matter, I have posted the following ‘comment’ on Tim Worstall’s sensible and balanced post about the affair of Our Ken, the Evening Standard and the Board of Deputies of British Jews:
Just want to register complete agreement about the utterly unacceptable and ill-judged ‘decision’ to suspend our capital city’s elected mayor. I have set out my views at greater length at http://tinyurl.com/z4hh8 and shan’t repeat them here, except to mention that the full text of the decision of the Adjudication Panel for England is available (pdf) at http://tinyurl.com/l262y, and a very sad and unconvincing read it is. The tribunal makes unsupported assertions about the supposed offensiveness and insensitivity of Ken Livingstone’s remarks to the Evening Standard reporter, without any sign of recognising or allowing for the circumstances of the encounter; priggishly rebukes the Mayor for setting out his legal arguments at length and for refusing to apologise for offending the reporter; accepts that the case should never have got as far as the Panel (thus implicitly acknowledging the essential triviality of the whole affair); but blames Livingstone for having let it do so, and proceeds to impose a swingeing penalty out of all proportion to the significance of the supposed offence as assessed by the Tribunal itself.
The tone of the whole document is that of an exceptionally prim housemaster at a minor public school. The Tribunal notes that the government has accepted that the paragraph of the Code of Conduct under which they have ‘convicted’ the mayor is unsatisfactory and that it needs to be amended in such a way as to remove from its scope the kind of conduct that has led to the complaint against the Mayor — meaning that if the proposed amendment had been made, there would have been no case for the Mayor to answer — but they clearly ignore the implication of that in deciding on the severity of the penalty they impose. If the High Court doesn’t allow the Mayor’s probable appeal on the grounds that the complaint against him was vexatious and frivolous, or at the worst substitute a token penalty such as the ‘reprimand’ recommended by the referring Standards Board, I shall really have to consider emigrating. That will show ’em!