It’s always interesting to view how British politicians are perceived by the foreign press, and doubly so in the case of a colourful character like Ken Livingstone.
Several American papers have picked up on aspects of our Good Mayor’s doings this week. Not however, his clearance by the Greater London Authority’s standards committee on charges of anti-semitism, nor even his attempts to get the US ambassador to cough up the congestion charge dosh.
It wasn’t even the enigmatic headline Ken Livingstone wires up old folk. (Don’t even ask, just read it if you really, really, have to.)
No. What our Yankee cousins are interested in is that old story about Ken culling the Trafalgar Square pigeons. A plan with which he has already – as the: NY times Points out:
been somewhat successful, reducing the population to about 1,800, from 4,000 by, among other things, closing down the last official pigeon-food-vending business, employing a pigeon-scaring falcon and making pigeon-feeding illegal in the square.
The starlingist bastard. But wait, what’s this?
Under an unusual agreement, a pigeon-advocacy group has been allowed to scatter corn in a corner of the square for 10 minutes at 7:30 every morning, then leave.
Aww, and I bet you thought Brian Haw was the only nutter we made allowances for here didn’t you?
But this very week, because of what the mayor’s office calls “rogue feeding by a radical splinter group that has sneakily been providing food some afternoons”, the mayor is cancelling even that program.
Can it really be…. Is it possible that these are……Pigeon-liberation “Splitters”?
Hang on. I may have to revise my opinion about Americans not understanding irony. I don’t think this article is about pigeons at all. It is quite obviously some bored CIA hack writing about the current state of the British Left.
The splitters are apparently called “Save the Trafalgar Square pigeons” (the STSP for short,) and have a surreal line in reasoning which equals anything you will find at Marxism 2006. Shelagh Moorhouse, a member of the group, reveals their overwhelming and unanswerable first point in the defence of the persecuted birds :
I’ve yet to see a pigeon drop a used condom into the fountain
Smelling the laurels of victory (and no doubt adopting that curious pose which makes George Galloway look so much like a constipated Mussolini) she follows up with:
If a film were to be made of the London pigeon wars, the tagline would read, “This time, it’s personal.
Spielberg please take note…..
According to another member of the group; Colin Jerolmack, who is working on (get this) “a doctoral thesis about pigeon-human interaction in urban areas: In truth, London’s policy is part of an anti-pigeon trend in cities around the world”
Yes, knock me down with a feather, I’m afraid it can only be called McCarthyism with wings.
What does the soberly responsible ruling GLA have to say for themselves on this most important of issues?
The agreement was reasonable and we tried to keep it in line, but it’s just gotten out of control,” said an official at the Greater London Authority
I really can’t see anyone in City hall saying “Gotten” (unless Bob Kiley answered the phone by mistake) but never mind, onwards.…
We’ve been negotiating with the pigeon people all these years — they’re decent enough folk — but for people who think they are pigeon lovers, they’ve done an awful lot of damage.
Similarities with elements of the British left are surely now dancing in front of our eyes whilst singing “capitalism boring” to the tune of “tubthumping”. But here comes the clincher:
“The real fight is among themselves,” the official continued, comparing the apparent discord within the pigeon group to the picayune disagreements between the Judean People’s Front, the People’s Front of Judea, and the Judean Popular People’s Front in the film “Monty Python’s Life of Brian.”
Bullseye! (a Benji-ism!)
If all that wasn’t enough, Angie Bray, a Conservative member of the London Assembly then goes and gives a stereotypical Tory view of leftists:
Individually, pigeons can be very attractive, but en masse they are incredibly unhygienic, dirty vermin
But I forget myself, what of the tyrant Livingstone?
My feeling is that he has a bird phobia, Ms. Moorhouse said of the mayor. “Somebody who knows him told me that at the mention of the word ‘pigeon,’ he goes hysterical.” (anybody who sees him on the tube today may like to try whispering “squab” in Ken’s ear – have a camera ready.)
He’s one of those people who is anti-cruelty-to-animals, but he’s not an animal person,” retorts the GLA flunkey. “When a little dog comes up, he doesn’t go, ‘Coochie-coochie-coo.’ He thinks dogs are dogs and cats are cats and pigeons are pigeons, and that we don’t make concessions for pigeons — pigeons make concessions for us.
Further evidence of the Mayors residual Marxist scientism if you ask me, although I don’t doubt that the thought of Ken Livingstone advancing towards any sentient creature uttering “coochie-coochie-coo” is certainly the stuff of many people’s nightmares.
Anyway. US press, play the game. Many British lefties may not understand basic humour (let alone irony) and most have an awful lot of trouble with any figurative language more complicated than “Bushitler” – but some of us see right through your attacks.
Yanqui Imperialists, leave our pigeons alone and go play with your Eagles.