Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ken is going nowhere - yet

Mayor Ken Livingstone's suspension from office has been overturned. Back in February 2006, the Adjuducation Panel for England issued him with a four-week suspension for bringing his office into disrepute. This arose from an episode in which a possibly drunk Livingstone was characteristically odious to a newspaper reporter.

Anyway, Livingstone appealed, and a judge has today quashed the suspension. This decision is nothing to do with the impropriety or otherwise of Livingstone's conduct. That matter is still to be decided on appeal.

It is however right that the suspension be quashed. Ken Livingstone was (albeit inexplicably) voted into office by Londoners, and it is only they who can decide when to remove him. It is totally wrong that an unelected and unaccountable body, such as the Adjuducation Panel for England, should have the power to prevent an elected official from fulfilling his mandate. This goes against the basic principles of representative democracy. It is therefore heartening that this abuse of power has been checked.

That notwithstanding, every time he opens his mouth, Ken Livingstone brings his office into disrepute. Whatever the outcome of the appeal, I only hope Londoners will be wiser next time.
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Anonymous Ellee said...

I've never heard of this panel. I'm not a fan of Ken, but he is a remarkable survivor and I love the way he rubs Blair's nose the wrong way. Hopefully, Ken won't be around very much longer. Let's hope Londoners see sense.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Bel said...

I also hadn't heard of the panel until they handed down their judgement. Neither, I suppose, had many Londoners. The increase in the powers of all these bodies is worrying. Any system that unwarrantedly removes power from the people is worrying.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous MoragTheMindbender said...

Ken lives around the corner from Family Mindbender and Son of Morag (11 years old) recently said "Why does that man always look so miserable?" As a driver who suffers from Forgetting-to-Pay-the-Congestion-Charge-itis (yes I have it on text but I mess that up too) I want him brought down. I don't care why. Hollering at strangers, putting rubbish in his recycling bin - he's going down :(

11:06 PM  
Blogger Bel said...

Son of Morag is displaying a lot more wisdom than the mad men and women who voted Livingstone in twice in a row. Pity he won't be old enough to vote at the next elections.

11:39 PM  
Blogger John East said...

Isn't there a body now that stops local councillors voting on any issue in which they have a "vested" interest, whether declared or not?

I seem to remember reading recently that if an independant councillor is elected on the back of a local issue, lets say as an example something like the emptying of bins fourtnightly instead of weekly, then he or she can be prevented from exercising their democratic mandate. This will include speaking in debates as well as voting on the issue, simply because they have expressed an interest in, and campaigned on, a particular issue.

Damn, I wish I could remember more the details of the body I've described. I wonder how many more quangos like this one and Kens' panel are lurking in the bushes waiting to spring to the defence of our elected dictators should the need arise.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Monty said...

I cannot stand Ken Livingstone or his politics, but I too share the view that it is wrong that an unaccountable body can suspend a democratically elected Mayor from office in the way they attempted.

I prefer to see this as a victory for the office of Mayor of London, rather than Livingstone personally.

** On a separate note, Bel, would you be kind enough to drop me an email at your convenience? I have a favour to ask... Thanks!

1:32 PM  

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