Monday 29 September 2008

'If Boris dropped dead tomorrow, I'd run.'

'Has Johnson any politics? No. We thought he did, and that was based on a collection of crazed neocon rubbish he wrote for the Telegraph.' The truth, according to Ken Livingstone, is far worse.

'What's apparent now is that Boris only believes that people like Boris should run the earth. There's no political position he's not prepared to surrender in order to stay powerful. And that makes him very dangerous. In a situation where the far right, for example, could deliver him power, he'd have no hesitation in pandering to them.'

I meet Ken Livingstone in his new office - a window table in a Hampstead branch of Costa Coffee - and he is more than keen to chat. And not just about Boris. We talk about economics, about China and India and the organisation of gender-roles before metalworking developed. Ken talks and talks and his kind blue eyes twinkle and I feel faintly like I'm about to be invited to attend wizard school. And speaking of school -

'I'm writing my autobiography at present, and I've just got to the part where I'm about seventeen. It's horrendous stuff. I remember always being the weedy kid at school, always coming in on the mile run second last, just in front of the fat one. My sports teachers all seemed to be rehabilitated Nazi war criminals who believed that humiliation was a good way to make us improve. It wasn't.'

Ken may be writing his memoirs, but the constant calls from his PA and pile of complex charts balanced on the tiny table doesn't look very much like retirement to me. For more on Livingstone's comeback plans and projects for the activist left, read the full interview in Red Pepper very shortly.


As I write, stock markets are falling all over themselves like City boys outside Spearmint Rhinos at 3 am, and the USA seems to have fucked us all over quite royally by a 23-vote margin. Let me express my sincerest hope that you and I still have jobs in the morning.


  1. I suspect my job will still be there in the morning, and for at least a couple of months to come. Redundancies bring large numbers of people to the pub [/gallows humour]

  2. Comrade,

    Are you ready for what's going on - and by that I mean "what's going wrong" - in The City?

    There's a world to take charge of, you know.

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