The Real Forums Old Skool
12th April 2002
BBC NewsLondon's mayor has been suspended from office for four weeks for comparing a Jewish journalist to a concentration camp guard. The Adjudication Panel for England ruled Ken Livingstone had brought his office into disrepute when he acted in an "unnecessarily insensitive" manner. The ban is due to begin on 1 March and the mayor's deputy Nicky Gavron will stand in for Mr Livingstone. The mayor said: "This decision strikes at the heart of democracy." He added: "Elected politicians should only be able to be removed by the voters or for breaking the law. "Three members of a body that no one has ever elected should not be allowed to overturn the votes of millions of Londoners." Mr Livingstone said he would announce what action he would be taking next week. The hearing followed a complaint from the Jewish Board of Deputies, which had not called for the mayor to be suspended over the comment he made to the Evening Standard's Oliver Finegold outside a public-funded party. The chairman of the panel, David Laverick, said it had decided on a ban because Mr Livingstone had failed to realise the seriousness of his outburst. He said: "The case tribunal accepts that this is not a situation when it would be appropriate to disqualify the mayor. 'Architect of own misfortune' "The case tribunal is, however, concerned that the mayor does seem to have failed, from the outset of this case, to have appreciated that his conduct was unacceptable, was a breach of the code (the GLA code of conduct) and did damage to the reputation of his office." Mr Laverick went on to say that the complaint should never have reached the board but did so because of Mr Livingstone's failure to apologise. In a statement, the Board of Deputies of British Jews said it regretted the guilty result, but said Mr Livingstone had been "the architect of his own misfortune" by failing to recognise the upset caused. It added it had never sought anything more than an apology and an acknowledgement that his words were inappropriate for the "elected representative of Londoners of all faiths and beliefs". 'Outrageous ruling' But Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron said the incident had been "blown out of all proportion" and described the decision as absurd. Association of London Government chairman Sir Robin Wales added the "outrageous ruling" would stall the mayor in his work to increase police numbers and prepare the city for the 2012 Olympics. Mr Livingstone has said he was expressing his honestly-held political view of Associated Newspapers, but he had not meant to offend the Jewish community. The Evening Standard's editor Veronica Wadley said that Mr Finegold had behaved impeccably when he was insulted and accused Mr Livingstone of being stubborn. The London Jewish Forum welcomed the ruling, with chairman Adrian Cohen calling for the mayor to create a strategy which would ensure London's Jews would be treated with respect. Conservative London Assembly Member Brian Coleman said Mr Livingstone had let Londoners down. All three called for the mayor to apologise. Baroness Hamwee, Liberal Democrat chair of the assembly, said she was "quite taken aback" by the length of the suspension. If an appeal fails, Mr Livingstone will be responsible for paying his own legal costs, estimated at £80,000.
What do you guys think of this,personally i think he should be removed from office for such comments.discuss!
Well, I don't know excately what was said but it seems a bit like the Danish newspaper incident to me (without the violence).
He didn't break the law, so he shouldn't be removed from office. I know that in the States such a comment would be political suicide, he would never be elected to any post again. Hopefully the same sort of thing will happen with this guy.
I heard the comments that he said. He was comparing the irritating journalist (whom he didn't know was Jewish as it was a phone conversation) to a Nazi camp guard. Someone put on BBC that it is a total waste of time and money and I completely agree and I don't particularly even like Livingstone. Another one of those think before you speak outbursts.
I wouldn't even put what he said on the same level as racism.
If I'm not mistaking then every western nation have laws such as this. Germany does, Sweden does... which country doesn't?
well, he represent the people, after making a comment like that, the people probably didn't want him representing them anymore because what he says and does reflects on them. I'm not saying it's right that he should be removed for a comment but, as a representative of the people he should hold his tounge
It's funny that they said he acted with "unnecessary insensitivity", but they probably don't realize that he probably actually acted with unintended "insensitiviy".
LocomotorIt's funny that they said he acted with "unnecessary insensitivity", but they probably don't realize that he probably actually acted with unintended "insensitiviy".
If I ever kill someone, wether I want it or not, it is still going to be a murder. I hope you saw the analogy
I did, but "insensitivy" is far from murder. But still, as the article said, three unelected officials shouldn't be able to overturn the desicion of millions of voters because of something as stupidly trivial as this.