Ken Livingstone’s resignation from the Labour Party marks the end of an era. From minor historical roles, such as helping establish Labour Briefing in Keith & Val Veness’ flat, to leading the GLC in the 1980s and returning as Mayor of London in the 2000s, Ken was a major force in London politics for four decades.
A trailblazer for anti-racism, women’s rights and gay rights, Ken also courageously supported peace talks with Irish republicans and campaigned for the Palestinians when few other frontline politicians dared go near these issues. Overall, his record is one of enormous positivity and he remains a giant in the history of the London labour movement.
Whatever the poor formulation of his words in the ‘Hitler supported Zionism’ imbroglio, Ken should have had more support from the labour movement and its left wing. Appeasing those who seek to portray Jeremy Corbyn and the wider Labour left as anti-semitic or soft on anti-semitism will only encourage more of these scurrilous attacks and weaken and confuse Corbyn supporters in the party.
Meanwhile, Ken is now free to campaign on the issues he chooses. Like the old Ken of the 1980s, he is still one step ahead of his enemies.