Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Against Ken at Londonist

Your humble Devil has a short article up at the Londonist, about why Ken Livingstone was—and would be—a shit Mayor. Over the course of a little less than 700 words, I tried to cover all of the lying, corruption, waste and incompetence demonstrated by this vicious little shit.

Alas, the article had to be cut slightly; believe me, I could have written double the mount and still not have covered everything—even in the most cursory manner.

I shall, I think, expand that small start here at The Kitchen over the next couple of weeks: much as I dislike the man—and, believe me, I do—even I was shocked at his mendacity, venality and inability.

For balance, yesterday Londonist published a similar article about why Boris was a twat.

And you can find some of my views on him and, specifically, the booze ban on London transport here and here...

UPDATE: I believe that my reply to some of the commenters over at Londonist makes a number of simple but salient points about libertarianism (since that is what said commenters picked up on).
I admit that both I and BorisWatch could have simply pointed out that they are both politicians and are, obviously, both liars. However, I thought that I would attempt to provide some articles backing up the assertion.

@jaypeedee: "What's your problem with Unions?" Quite simply, the support given to them by government. They should not be able to distort the democratic process through massive amounts of funding (and the same applies to corporates) but, most importantly, it should not be illegal to sack striking workers.

@Chenobble: "Libertarians hate democracy..." No, we just don't worship democracy. The main point is that democracy is not the point of it all—freedom is. Democracy has been, so far, the best way of ensuring freedom for the longest time (until the next bloody revolution), but it is not an end in itself.

"They call it the 'tyranny of the majority'..." Because it is. The majority get to elect politicians—who, by the very nature of democratic re-election processes, will pander to that larger group of people—and so happily oppress the minority to do so. If you don't believe me, simply look at how politicians are oppressing the rich through vastly higher tax rates (clue: there are very few rich people, and lots of less rich people).

"Libertarians also hate anything that gets in the way of free market enterprise [...] unions are seen as an impediment to the free market because they stop business fully exploiting their employees." No. Unions—when not backed by government laws—are an entirely legitimate way for workers to rebalance power. It is the intervention of government—on both sides (corporate and union)—which makes them both enemies of the free market.

@David Levy: "There can be no question but that Ken supports cheaper fares..." He may well support cheaper fares: my point (delivered with evidence) was that he has—despite his "support" or his marketing—failed, consistently, to deliver them.

"... interesting you don't compare his fare increases with those under Johnson." My brief was to write about why Ken is deeply unsuitable, not why Boris is; this article has been shortened from it's original 700+ words as it is (and I could easily have written double the amount and still not touched on all of the corruption under Ken's rule).

In any case, why do you think that fares are going up 7%? Because the Tube drivers have demanded pay increases of not far less than that, plus energy is becoming massively expensive.

The first happens because the unions wish it so, and Ken is a supporter of those same unions; all other things being equal, he cannot support the interests of both the unions and the people of London.

The second is happening because of successive governments' policies on energy consumption, i.e. to tax it heavily (for a variety of reasons).



Being on foreign turf, so to speak, I decided to keep my tone—especially on the last two points—relatively neutral: after all, I do not expect Londonist people to be political anoraks...


farmland investing said...

Red-Ken was a massive ideological twat. Boris is far from perfect, but he's better than Ken and can be at least mildly entertaining sometimes.

JuliaM said...

Wow, a real blast from the past reading the comments to those two posts. Some much-missed commenters there...

john in cheshire said...

Hasn't Mr Livingstone recently advised that a banker should be hanged each day until they come to their senses. I would argue that what's good for the goose is good for the newt-lover.

Anonymous said...

"Unions—when not backed by government laws—are an entirely legitimate way for workers to rebalance power."

Really? Why? When corporates conspire to increase product prices we are prepared to imprison those responsible. Why should labour be different?

Anonymous said...

Because you can just sack all the workers and hire new ones for cheaper. Corporatism is not capitalism. If big companies which have an effective monopoly are ripping off the entire population, that is a different matter.

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