Speaking at his pre-election rally on Monday night, Ken Livingstone told the assembled crowd that he’d always been jealous of Mayors of New York because they get to run the hospitals.
Ken ‘Magpie’ Livingstone had struck again, borrowing policy ideas from anyone prepared to put them in the public domain.
I didn’t bother reporting Ken’s rally earlier in the week because it was, to be blunt, pretty unexciting for those of us not inside the Labour or Livingstone tents.
A crowd had gathered in a tunnel under Waterloo Station where the speakers had to compete with the noise of the the trains. It probably sounded a lot like the Blitz.
The tunnel itself was dark, dingy, cold and WiFi-less – much like the 70’s London I grew up in.
As I managed to tweet at the time, it’s not the sort of venue I’d pick for launching a vision for a modern London.
Today’s Standard reports Ken has repeated his desire to take over the NHS.
All converts to the cause of NHS devolution are welcome, but Ken’s own conversion seems to be very recent. My memory conjures up images of him pulling faces when I’ve raised it in the past and I can’t recall him advocating the idea before.
Does he have wider support within Labour for this? It certainly lacks the full support of at least one potential Labour Mayoral hopeful.
To a cynic, this new aspiration merely looks like Ken trying to scoop up some electoral advantage from Labour’s failure to stop the coalition’s NHS reforms.