Friday, July 08, 2005

Leadership under attack

The full text of Ken Livingstone's wonderful speech is here. These are the best bits:
This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at presidents or prime ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. ...

That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith, it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee that the city of London is the greatest in the world because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by the cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I'm proud to be the Mayor of that city.

[T]o those who came to London today to take life. ... you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.

I have always been ambivalent about Ken, although I have voted for him for Mayor, as both a Labour Party and anti-Labour Party candidate. I think he has made some terrible political decisions in the past, and his statements on foreign policy are often dodgy. I have been critical of him on this site for flirting with anti-semites (see here and here).

But I believe he genuinely loves humans - not just humanity in general - which sets him apart from other leftist demagogues, like George Galloway for example. And above all he loves the people of his city, London.


Gene says:

In my frustration at "leftists" who profess to understand the mass murderers of Israeli civilians, I have pointed out that poor and working-class Israelis who depend on buses are more likely to be targeted than those who can afford cars. The Ken Livingstones of the world, who never seemed to notice that fact in their defense of the Palestinian "national struggle," will perhaps have a different perspective now.

Perhaps also Livingstone will begin to grasp why so many of us were enraged last year by his warm welcome and strident defense of the odious Sheikh al-Qaradawi, who has justified suicide murders of Israelis on the grounds that there are no innocent Israeli civilians-- including, presumably, weeks-old babies.

There is, at least, room for hope.


We don't forget, Ken - by Stephen Pollard
Daniel's Counter Blog: The Suicide Bombs within Britain's Liberal Elite

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