Reconsider voting for Ken says Bright

martin_brightIn his New Statesman blog Martin Bright offers his justifications for presenting an anti-Livingstone “documentary” for Channel 4 which can only aid Tory candidate Boris Johnson’s campaign to replace Ken as London mayor.

Regular readers of Islamophobia Watch will be aware of Bright’s politics. He accuses a section of the Left of forming an alliance with “fascism” ( i.e. with representative Muslims organisations like the MCB or the British Muslim Initiative) and to combat this he advocates an alternative alliance between the “real Left” (i.e. people like himself and Nick Cohen) and the Islamophobic hard Right. So a de facto bloc with Boris Johnson is much what you would expect from Bright.

However, it’s only towards the end of Bright’s blog post that we get to the meat of his argument against the current mayor. Bright writes:

“Livingstone was widely criticised when he invited the Egyptian radical scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi to London in 2004. Peter Tatchell, the veteran human rights activist, was one of those who objected to the visit. His words should be food for thought for everyone considering voting for Livingstone this year: ‘I’ve been a very strong supporter of Ken Livingstone for nearly 30 years … I think overall he has been a good mayor for London but I do think there are a number of issues where he’s made some monumental misjudgements. When I questioned the rationale and the ethics of inviting Yusuf al-Qaradawi to London, the relationship with Ken Livingstone suddenly changed … Ken took the view that because I didn’t agree with him inviting to London someone who is anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic and who justifies terrorist suicide bombings, because I opposed that, I was an Islamophobe’.”

Bright tells us piously that “I could think of nothing worse than to support Johnson”. However, in an election where the only possible alternative to Livingstone is Johnson, people intending to vote for Livingstone should reconsider doing so, according to Bright, on the grounds that Ken welcomed a leading scholar of Islam to City Hall.

Unlike Bright, his co-thinker Nick Cohen at least has the honesty to present that argument clearly and openly.

Update:  See “Martin Bright’s mythical dragons”, Salaam Blogs, 18 January 2008