Channel 4 tv - Dispatches 8pm Monday 21st Jan 2008 - examining Ken Livingstone's record in office

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Channel 4 tv - is to broadcast a Dispatches documentary, tomorrow at 8pm Monday 21st Jan 2009

These seems set to examine some of Ken Livingstone's record of peculiar policies, broken promises and cronyism. It is also set to look at the Greater London Assembly, which should act as a check and balance on whoever occupies the office of Mayor of London, but which has failed to do so effectively.

Interestingly, the investigative reporter this time, is not from a "right wing" publication like the Evening Standard , but from a "left wing" one, the New Statesman magazine.

See the New Statesman political editor Martin Bright's blog article My questions for Ken


But in the course of my research I came across a blizzard of stories that do not show the mayor in an entirely good light. These include some already in the public domain, such as the cost of foreign trips and the "embassies" set up by the mayor abroad, details of the oil deal with Venezuela's leader, Hugo Chávez, and questions over spending by the London Development Agency. Other stories, including one concerning a campaign against Trevor Phillips, now chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, organised from within City Hall, raise concerns. There are also the curious actions of Livingstone's inner circle of advisers and their idiosyncratic politics. And, inevitably, we looked at the congestion charge.

Perhaps most importantly we examined the office of mayor itself: whether it is institutionally robust and whether any incumbent in the post would be held fully accountable.

Even before it has been transmitted, this tv programme has provoked some Sunday Newspaper articles, and taxpayer funded public relations spin from the Mayor's spin doctors, who appear to be working overtime, regarding the serious allegation that the political appointees and the other appartachiki who are paid to be politically neutral civil servants, were actively campaigning for Livingstone, including fund raising, using GLA / Mayoral offices and equipment , during working hours.

The Sunday Times:

The Observer:

If even left wing, Labour supporting, journalists are starting to question Livingstone's dubious record, will that translate into seeing him lose the May election ?

2 Comments

The main source for tonight's edition of Dispatches is Atma Singh, a former employee of the Greater London Authority, who was removed from his job for failure to meet a request for assistance from the Mayor's Office from the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Squad, for failure to inform the Mayor's Office that such a request for assistant from the anti-terrorism police had been made, for failure to contact the Mayor's Office during the terrorist attacks on London on 7 July and 21 July 2005, and further matters: http://www.london.gov.uk/view_press_release.jsp?releaseid=15354

With regard to the reports from certain newspapers which you have linked to, it should be pointed out that the GLA does not politically vet potential or existing employees, nor carry records regarding their political views, and it would indeed be unlawful and a breach of employment and human rights for it to do so.

The only important, and lawful, criteria regarding the record of Greater London Authority staff is to be found in policies that have been successfully delivered.

Details of the work of the senior GLA staff, that have directly contributed to making London a more successful city, can be found here: http://www.london.gov.uk/view_press_release.jsp?releaseid=15355

@ GLA Spokesperson - apologies for not publishing your comment earlier - it was flagged as spam

Having watched the programme, it is clear that there is far more dubious and sleazy behaviour surrounding the Livingstone clique mentioned in it than just Atma Singh's allegations.

With regard to the reports from certain newspapers which you have linked to, it should be pointed out that the GLA does not politically vet potential or existing employees, nor carry records regarding their political views, and it would indeed be unlawful and a breach of employment and human rights for it to do so.

So you have never discriminated against or harassed members of, say, the BNP ?

What about the topic of the our later blog article

Mayor's Office appears to threaten a whistleblower with an illegal tax payer funded GLA political "investigation" of her past life

Was that you who threatened such a reprehensible and illegal action against a whistleblower ?

The only important, and lawful, criteria regarding the record of Greater London Authority staff is to be found in policies that have been successfully delivered.

Rubbish !

What about criteria like "value for money" or policies that actually work as originally promised, not ones which have been merely "delivered" ?

What about the loss of freedom and liberty which the function creep of Livingstone backed transport policies have had as a side effect ?

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