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Comments

Matt Davis

We have let Livingstone get away with murder for far too long and it is about time that we started to bite him hard. I know that our GLA mambers have tried their best but they seem to have had little back up and are constrained from launching an all out attack by the way both the GLA and Mayor operate.Oh and also can we call an immediate halt to the "Ken" nomenclature, it makes him sound all cuddly which is wrong and we shouldn't be helping to perpetrate that particular myth. We ought to be referring to him as Mayor Livingstone or just Ken Livingstone, although my preferred address for him would be Ex-Mayor Livingstone personally.

Denis Cooper

Labour politicians were allowed to get away with the so-called "Big Conversation", which was only intended to help them refine their election manifesto according the original announcement made by Blair at the party conference, and the Tories signally failed to question who was paying for it. They will blur the line between public and party resources whenever they can. Maybe the deafening silence from the Tories meant that they would like to do the same.

Anoneumouse

The Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations (CMARs) are aimed at protecting the interests of consumers and traders from misleading or unacceptable comparative advertising.

The OFT's role is mainly to support and reinforce the controls exercised by other bodies where they have been unable to take effective action. It is expected that in most cases the OFT will step in only when these bodies have been unable to deal adequately with a complaint and where it is in the public interest that an advertisement is stopped. But there are rare instances where we would want to act without referring the matter to other bodies first.

what is a misleading advertisment?

Chad

Why must Ken go? Let's be honest, most people in London are quite happy with him.

We may not agree with his politics, but it's hard to find people who don't think that Ken is clearly pro-London.

The lack of complaints probably just relects the general contentment with Ken.

Creating a problem that doesn't exist for party political reasons is bound to backfire and fall flat.

David

Also note the 'news' paper that gets sent to Londoners at their expense saying what a gret job Ken is doing.

Phil Taylor

This stuff costs millions

I have been chasing the Mayor and his minions to admit how much they are spending on this rubbish. Here are three examples:

  • The silly brand awareness campaign being run by TfL recently is costing £2.6 million (see post). It took three e-mails to get them to give up the whole story.
  • The highly political promise by the Mayor to provide Safer Neighbourhood Teams across London in the run to the local elections was accompanied by £300K of spending by the Met on newspaper ads (see post). It took the Met 33 days and a reminder to respond to my enquiry.
  • The Mayor's freesheet The Londoner will cost £2,857,488 in the current financial year (see post). This is not the whole story though as this budget is net cost not gross cost. Every issue carries 4 pages of full page display ads from bodies in the GLA family. They have no choice about these ads and in effect it means that the Londoner costs more like £4-5 million. I wrote asking for a breakdown of last year's figures over a moth ago and am still awaiting a reply.

The Mayor and his bodies are utterly cynical about using public money to promote themselves. Across the GLA and its bodies we are talking £100s of millions.

Nigel C

There are strict rules on using public money to advocate a particular point of view. Public bodies are only allowed to inform not campaign.
Have any rules been broken?

Stephen Alley

Yes, I completely agree. This is ridiculous, taxpayers money wasted on 30 second adverts on primetime TV telling us we should love the tube.

Why not spend it on the tube itself.

Laughing Cavalier

Livingstone has been abusing the system by using taxpayers's money for political purposes and funding cronies since the days of the old GLC. What is more he has been getting away with it and has been the inspiration for NuLabour to do the same in Government.

The inability to tell the difference between Party and State is a classic symptom of fascism and is why NuLabour's corrupt practises are so dangerous.

Denis Cooper

Well, exactly, Laughing Cavalier, but why has it taken so long for the opposition parties to start objecting? For the same reason that there is now an emerging consensus that they should be funded by legalised theft from the taxpayer?

Editor

Matt Davis, 12.57am: "Oh and also can we call an immediate halt to the "Ken" nomenclature, it makes him sound all cuddly which is wrong and we shouldn't be helping to perpetrate that particular myth. We ought to be referring to him as Mayor Livingstone or just Ken Livingstone, although my preferred address for him would be Ex-Mayor Livingstone personally."

You are right Matt. I'm changing it now.

Justin Hinchcliffe

Our GLA members are a spineless bunch - it's unbelievable at how lazy and incompent they are: we need sharp people to stand up to Livingstone and Labour.

TimB

Of course the Left see nothing wrong with this. Here's what Neal Lawson wrote in the Guardian:

"One politician who gets the potential populism of the state is Ken Livingstone. London is currently plastered with billboards which honour the role of the state. Through them he makes the connection between paying the congestion charge and the improved public transport we get back and, by implication, the role of the London state in making the capital a place you can move around in. Championing the state hasn't made Ken unpopular. Quite the reverse."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1824425,00.html

Graeme Archer

I agree with Matt's point - he's Livingstone, not "Ken". I hate hearing Tories talk about "Ken" like he's some sort of cuddly mate. His cheeky chappy persona is one of his weapons. If he looked like he acts we'd have a much easier job.

Loathsome man. Mr Gay-friendly who's also huggingly friendly with foreigners who would execute gays. Go figure.

C-Charge adverts. I'm guilty of not getting worked up enough so thanks for this post. The wonderful Mr Keith has a good thought experiment to offer people who think 5quid to 8quid is "ok" for driving into central London -- would you be so relaxed if they put your income tax up by 40%+ overnight?

Jon White

At last someone is waking up to this dreadful misuse of public (well actually the poor s-d's who pay London Council Tax) money. I cannot believe that we have let Mayor Livingstone get away with this for so long without raising a whisper. The above post saying that our GLA members are spineless wimps is spot on.

However, no-one moaned about the 'I'm backing the bid' campaign - equally political, equally funded by the tax payer, and equally useless.

David Sergeant

It's all very well moaning at the GLC Tories but everybody falls for it. Yesterday's Telegraph had an "article" by Livingstone saying the Tories support Labour's energy policy and then goes on to say he is different with his "policy" a repeat of what the Tories said about three months ago. No one in the Telegraph seemed to be aware they are supporting Livingstone.

I say "seemed", sometimes I think the paper cannot be just plain incompetent. (A few days ago even Terresa May felt obliged to point out that some anti-Tory burbling in a leader wasn't true.)

RodS

We are awash with propaganda in the most unlikely places. My village is organising a Flower Festival in conjunction with the Heritage Open Days Scheme initiated by the Civic Trust.

It turns out that this is Englands contribution to the European Heritage Days project heavily funded by the Council of Europe.

The central aim of these Heritage Days is " to increase public awareness of the importance of heritage, and to AWAKEN the interest of young Europeans in their COMMON history "

Reality has left the building !!

Alex

There are similar posters on the way to East Croydon Station. Also there have been adverts in the Evening Standard recently.

But my question is: why now? We are two years from the elections; so is this a sign of things to come until the election? Or has Ken decided to use taxpayers' money to wade into the tory mayoral primary and make the C Charge a major issue (knowing that Angie Bray is dead set against it)?

Or is it simply that Ken is expecting some bad figures on congestion from TfL?

Keith Bedson

The Thatcher government spent millions advertising the privatisations of the 1980s. The cynical part of me always led me to believe the adverts were an attempt to convince us all how good the Tory government was. "Tell Sid [that Mrs Thatcher is giving away free money in the shape of British Gas Shares]".

Serf

The Thatcher government spent millions advertising the privatisations of the 1980s. The cynical part of me always led me to believe the adverts were an attempt to convince us all how good the Tory government was.

The difference being of course that the adverts were a crucial part of the whole privatisation process.

What Caudillo Ken is doing would be similar to the Thatcher government advertising how successful a privatisation had been.

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