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Ken Livingstone has shown he is unfit to be London's Mayor

By Tim Montgomerie
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Labour's leader and deputy, Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman (whose own Peckham constituency has been affected by the disturbances) are also returning from holiday. They need to get a grip on some elements of their party. We've already had Chris Williamson, Labour MP for Derby North, blaming the Tories' "disastrous policies" for these riots. Another left-wing Labour MP, John McDonnell MP lost control last night too:

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Worst of all though has been Ken Livingstone. Yesterday he said that “the economic stagnation and cuts imposed by the Tory Government inevitably create social division.”*

Screen shot 2011-08-09 at 05.52.34 Mr Livingstone is no ordinary Labour figure. He's Labour's candidate for Mayor and he's making excuses for the criminality we are seeing on the streets of the city he seeks to lead.

For the third year running the state is spending more than 50% of British national income.

How big does the state have to get to satisfy the left?

How much do we have to borrow from China, sending £40 million of interest payments overseas every day, to satisfy their hunger for an ever bigger state?

How many more taxes need to be levied on exhausted mums and dads so they are always out at work, unable to be the kind of parents and neighbours they would prefer to be?

The idea that cuts are to blame for last night is preposterous. Yesterday Nick de Bois talked of yobs using Golf GTIs to move from trouble spot to trouble spot. The Left can dismiss him as an eyewitness if they like. He's a Tory MP, after all. But a BBC reporter at the start of this morning's Today programme said he was an eyewitness to people in large, expensive cars going to looted electronic shops to collect stolen flat screen TVs. This is criminality, plain and simple.

Mr Livingstone also said that the rioters "feel no-one at the top of society, in government or City Hall, cares about them or speaks for them.” Is the man living on the same planet as the rest of us?

The vast majority of law-abiding Londoners are the ones who feel no-one cares for them. They are watching police officers taunted by rioters and doing little in return. On Sky News a retired Met Commander said that police constables don't take tough action against rioters because they fear legal repurcussions for strong policing more than they fear anything else.

Youths on London's streets don't fear the police. They don't believe that there's any strong likelihood that their actions will have consequences. That's the problem in Britain. Whether it's crime, drug abuse, abandonment of your children or an unwillingness to work, fecklessness has no consequences and the ordinary taxpayer picks up the ever growing bill.

* Source: The Express.