The Left

Livingstoniana

There’s an article here by Marc Wadsworth which gives some more background on Ken Livingstone’s Socialist Action clique:

I know the Socialist Action (SA) members who who were appointed by Livingstone to £120,000-plus key posts at City Hall, because they once worked closely with me in the Labour Party and Anti-Racist Alliance (ARA) before they created a divisive split in the ARA. Let me reveal them to you, starting with SA’s leader, John Ross and his deputy Redmond O’Neill:

John Ross – Director of Economic and Business Policy. A specialist in international economic relations including the Chinese and Russian economies, he has been Livingstone’s political guru for more than 20 years. Ross is responsible for the Mayor’s economic policy, in charge of relations with businesses in London and of economic negotiations between the Mayor and national government. He is also responsible for liaison with international companies and international economic relations. Livingstone’s Socialist Economic Bulletin was his brainchild.

Redmond O’Neill – Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Public Affairs and Transport for the Greater London Authority. He is responsible for transport policy and relations with central government, local government in London, London’s diverse communities, including the trade unions, major events in London, public consultation, market research and communication, including the publication of the Mayor’s newsletter, which is circulated to every household in the capital. Former ARA Executive Committee member, who was in charge of SA while Ross was in Russia for several years.

Simon Fletcher – Chief of Staff. He runs every aspect of the Mayor’s office and was proud to tell The Guardian that he does not sneeze without Livingstone’s say so. Like other SA members employed by the Mayor, Fletcher, who was the research assistant when Livingstone was MP for Brent East, in London, has been directly appointed. Nevertheless, in April 2002, when Livingstone went on a long holiday in Australia, Fletcher was effectively in charge of City Hall. The normal procedure would have been to put the Mayor’s elected deputy, Nicky Gavron, in control. Former ARA volunteer worker.

Anne Kane – Highly-paid consultant equalities adviser. She has been hired to write reports for the Mayor on Women in London’s Economy and a Discrimination Law Review. She has worked for women’s rights, anti-racism, lesbian and gay rights and the civil rights of disabled people campaigns. Kane researched the material used by Lee Jasper (see below) to smear the government’s Equalities and Human Rights Commission chief Trevor Phillips on Livingstone’s orders. She was my former full-time assistant secretary at the ARA who was fired for gross misconduct after she was discovered moonlighting for SA during office hours.

As a footnote, and as might be expected, Ken Livingstone’s Muslim Brotherhood/British Muslim Initiative allies are now gunning for Martin Bright. They have pubished a clumsy and rather lacklustre hatchet job which makes the following points:

– Martin Bright once wrote an article about the multiple literary influences on the writers of the Quran which betrayed “neo-orientalist” thinking
– Martin Bright is middle class
– Martin Bright was wrong to criticise the MCB’s links to Jamaat-i-Islami
– Martin Bright was wrong to criticise the MCB’s attempts to veto expressions of muslim culture which were insufficiently “mindful of the teachings of Islam”.

The conclusion is as follows:

As far as one can discern, Martin Bright remains the Svengali at Eland House. A discerning public has now worked out his binary world-view: progressive, secular British Islam vs literalist, politically conscious Islam; democratic Israel vs fascist Palestinians; rendition is OK but Shariah law a no-go; acquiescent Sufi Muslim Council vs assertive Muslim Council of Britain. Bright is a neo-Con partisan who will continue to struggle with his self-created dragons, but the most appropriate way for shutting him up is by Muslims in Britain, through their London co-religionists, ensuring that enlightened and truly progressive political leaders like Ken Livingstone remain in office.

Uh huh.

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