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Diary

Andrew Saint: Goodbye to the Routemaster, 26 January 2006

... of single operation were inexorable. One by one, Routemaster garages and routes got converted. Ken Livingstone, touting for the bus vote in 2000, pledged to bring back the conductor, but instead introduced ‘bendy buses’, peddled as friendly for the disabled and people with small children. In reality, he had few options. Over the years, chances to ...

A Bloody Stupid Idea

James Butler: Landlord’s Paradise, 6 May 2021

Red Metropolis: Socialism and the Government of London 
by Owen Hatherley.
Repeater, 264 pp., £10.99, November 2020, 978 1 913462 20 8
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... It contained seven miles of corridors, 28 restaurants and even a Masonic temple – which Ken Livingstone rapidly gave over to his women’s unit when he took over the leadership of the GLC in 1981. (The site is now a tourist-clogged nightmare, having been sold at less than its value to a Japanese leisure firm in the early 1990s.) As one heads ...

2000 AD

Anne Sofer, 2 August 1984

The British General Election of 1983 
by David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 388 pp., £25, May 1984, 0 333 34578 9
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Militant 
by Michael Crick.
Faber, 242 pp., £3.95, June 1984, 0 571 13256 1
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... is doing her best to stoke the fires of revolutionary fervour, though whether the great appeal of Ken Livingstone in his current role as defender of democracy will survive his transformation into guerrilla leader on the barricades (that production to open in London next spring) is very doubtful. The Butler and Kavanagh book has no cheerier message for ...

Cheap Fares and the Rule of Law

Paul Sieghart, 18 February 1982

... as illegal. The thing that most outraged the critics – and especially the GLC’s leader, Mr Ken Livingstone – was that London’s electors were promised this scheme at the hustings, and duly voted into power the party that put it forward. So the Labour councillors saw it as part of their bargain with the voters, which they were bound – at least ...

Untouchable?

David Runciman: The Tory State?, 8 September 2016

... Labour candidate, Frank Dobson, finished a distant third. But the fact that the runaway winner was Ken Livingstone, who stood as an independent but was in effect the alternative Labour candidate (and became the official Labour candidate in 2004), shows the extent of the party’s hold on every aspect of British politics. One mark of a one-party state is ...

Diary

James Meek: Bobos for Boris?, 26 April 2012

... strut like a mariner gripping the rigging. The next day new buses, authorised by the then mayor Ken Livingstone, ran the route. They were nicknamed ‘bendy buses’, after the concertina joint in the middle that enabled them to twist their 18-metre length around corners. On paper they were an improvement on the Routemaster. They had more space for ...

The Raging Peloton

Iain Sinclair: Boris Bikes, 20 January 2011

... and chapel. The bicycle being as much a symbol of caste as the ankh of an Egyptian priest. Ken Livingstone, for strategic reasons, supported the cult with Marxist rigour. His cadres in the boroughs were obliged to mount up: it was part of the job description. In Hackney, the propaganda office for the encouragement of cycling consisted of around 30 ...

Diary

R.W. Johnson: Kinnock must go, 10 December 1987

... facts here. It is much the same with the GLC. Ms Wainwright assumes throughout that the Livingstone regime was a major political success, winning large numbers of converts for its brand of radical socialism. It is a pity she, and Ken Livingstone for that matter, didn’t bother to study how Herbert Morrison ...

Diary

Conor Gearty: Various Forms of Sleaze, 24 November 1994

... CND and (more frequently, more satisfyingly) real people – General Galtieri, Arthur Scargill, Ken Livingstone, Gerry Adams, Colonel Gaddafi, even (though they were beginning to scrape the barrel) President Delors. Peter Preston may not be in quite this league, more a domestic Jean-Luc Dehaene, but at least he is unequivocally an enemy. So, too, are ...

October!

John Lloyd, 21 October 1993

... parties, some of them extreme, some of them not. For some politicians and commentators, such as Ken Livingstone or Bukharin’s American biographer Steven Cohen, these developments confirm the view that Yeltsin is a dangerous man incapable of compromising with a Parliament whose legitimacy was at least comparable to his own and which was, in the ...

Staggering on

Stephen Howe, 23 May 1996

The ‘New Statesman’: Portrait of a Political Weekly, 1913-31 
by Adrian Smith.
Cass, 340 pp., £30, February 1996, 0 7146 4645 8
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... per cent Liberal Democrat supporters. Readers were more likely to admire Tony Benn, Robin Cook and Ken Livingstone – in that order, with Benn getting more than twice as many votes as anyone else – than Tony Blair. If the new editorial team wants the paper to reach a wider audience, it will have to find a new constituency, or rather create ...

Pallas

R.W. Johnson, 7 July 1988

The Enchanted Glass: Britain and Its Monarchy 
by Tom Nairn.
Radius, 402 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 09 172960 2
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... the media about how Fergie had smiled and ‘that smile was worth all the rest of it!’ Or Ken Livingstone, after a brief handshake with the Queen: ‘I have always thought that the Queen is a very nice person indeed. Today confirmed that view.’ As Nairn points out, our Ken ‘had no basis whatever for this ...

Garret’s Crusade

Roy Foster, 21 January 1982

... gay liberation find favour: homosexuals in IRA-controlled areas run the risk of knee-capping. If Ken Livingstone knew more about the movements he endorses, he would find himself squaring circles as frantically as the Provos themselves. Nonetheless, the package is accepted wholesale by the woolly would-be-Left, who believe that, because the IRA use ...

The Dynamitards

John Horgan, 19 January 1984

Political Violence in Ireland: Government and Resistance since 1848 
by Charles Townshend.
Oxford, 445 pp., £22.50, December 1983, 0 19 821753 6
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... and some kind of an agreed solution. The suspicion was further fuelled by a visit to Dublin by Mr Ken Livingstone, who told a large and enthusiastic audience that as Ireland was now effectively tied in to Nato, and as the costs of Northern Ireland were becoming increasingly unattractive to Mrs Thatcher’s Government, withdrawal was on the cards. Mr ...

Diary

Clive James, 10 January 1983

... An act which no true Christian can condone. So ends the news-flash from the battle zone. Ken Livingstone has failed to uninvite The IRA to meet the GLC. The Fleet Street hacks with ill-concealed delight Pour hot lead on his inhumanity. I like his gall but question his eyesight. When looking at his newts what does he see? You’d think that his ...

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