Playing into the hands of the media who love to run ‘gaffe’ stories Ken Livingstone has heaped praise on the Cuban regime telling journalists:
“What’s amazing here is you’ve got a country that’s suffered an illegal economic blockade by the United States for almost half a century and yet it’s been able to give its people the best standard of health care, brilliant education.”
“And to do this in the teeth of an almost economic war I think is a tribute to Fidel Castro and his government.”
To enquiries asking if we’d seen the news of the Mayor’s visit we replied that it was a non-story which could be summed us as:
‘Mayor of city hosting Olympics visits event sponsored by the International Olympic Committee’
and that the media were only making a fuss over the visit because of the prospects if offered for cheap and easy copy – it’s a sad and disappointing state affairs but the traditional media only pay the office of Mayor of London any attention when they can run a ‘gaffe’ story.
With his comments Livingstone has ensured the papers get their cheap copy and again we’re left to wonder why the man is so happy to feed the beast which repeatedly savages him.
The Independent newspaper quotes Michael Moore, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, as saying: “Once again the people of London will be surprised that their Mayor finds time to interfere in foreign policy matters when his focus should be on the affairs of London.”
It’s unclear where Mr Moore, a Scottish MP, draws the experience, knowledge or mandate to speak on behalf of Londoners or seek to question the Mayor’s actions. That important job falls to the London Assembly, a body on which his own party has failed to win a single directly elected seat and on which it has so far failed to place a single member of London’s sizeable ethnic minorities.
Mr Moore would better spend his efforts lecturing the Liberal Democrats in London on effective representation than seeking to speak on behalf of people he doesn’t represent.
Meanwhile Angie Bray, Leader of the Conservative group on the London Assembly, says: “We all have our heroes. If Ken Livingstone wants to chase them across the globe that is fine, but he should be doing it in his own time with his own money.”
It’s hard to argue with that sentiment.
PS: There’s a related forum discussion here