UK Politics

Playing Softball with Ken Livingstone

This is the first question which was not asked:

Mr Livingstone, you have said:

“Palestinians don’t have jet fighters, they only have their bodies to use as weapons. In that unfair balance, that’s what people use.”

Do you draw a distinction between the deliberate targeting of civilians by terrorists and soldiers on the one hand, and attacks on military targets on the other.”

Ken Livingstone would have replied by saying that he “condemned all violence”.

This is the second question which was not asked:

Yusuf Al Qaradawi has said: “We must realize that the Israeli society is a military society – men and women. We cannot describe this society as civilian. We cannot say that the casualties were innocent civilians. They are not civilians or innocent.”

As the Mayor of London, you have previously hosted, welcomed and praised Al Qaradawi. In the light of his specific support for the killing of civilians, will you be doing so again?

The next question could then have been the one that was asked about equivocation on terrorism abroad feeding the belief that terrorism is acceptable in London.

Ken Livingstone would certainly have responded in a similar manner to the very soft questions which he was asked this morning. He is likely to have argued that Palestinian civilian casualties have been high. He is likely to have said that he would meet with anybody, even Israelis.

But I think he is unlikely to have endorsed the Qaradawi view that all Israelis are military targets.

These questions – had they been asked – would have left Ken Livingstone’s facade of reasonableness looking decidedly shabby. They should have been asked, but they were not. Ken Livingstone, the Teflon politician, was simply let off the hook and given another opportunity to present his grand “The West Alone Is To Blame” thesis.

(Listen to the interview with Ken Livingstone here)