There are few in the UK who are not familiar with Ken Livingstone for all the wrong reasons. The newly relegated ex-Mayor of London has never found it hard to express himself candidly and, indeed, in a throughly un-PC way – an irony in itself given that he practically invented political correctness.
Ken has a penchant for offending whole swathes of humanity with one ill-conceived word: quite a feat, perhaps, but not really the done thing in the dipomatically charged political spotlight. At one point in his meandering political career Ken was called “the most odious man in politics” by The Sun, whilst he himself has variously described the US Ambassador as a “chiseling little crook” and a “car salesman”, hugged pro-Jihad Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, advocated dialogue with Sinn Fein, called Dubya Bush “corrupt” and caused (now characteristic) media furore after speculating the “concentration camp guard” background of a Jewish Evening Standard reporter. He’s a mouthy Robin Hood and many admire himfor it.
I recently came across a cutting detailing some of the Right Honourable Paul Keating’s colouful epithets. He makes Ken’s outbursts look like James Blunt lyrics. Absurdly un-PC, Keating knows how to enliven parliament in his own inimitable Aussie way. Here we go:
Stupid foul-mouthed grub, piece of criminal garbage, pig, sleazebag, scumbag, scum, sucker, perfumed gigolo, harlot, boxhead, alley cat, barnyard bully, stunned mullet, pansy, hare-brained hill-billy, corporate crook, loopy crim, half-baked crim, clown, bunyip aristocrat, mangy maggot, pissant, nong, vermin, dullard, clot, fop, rustbucket, thug, dimwit, gutless spiv, champion liar, fraud, cheat, ninny, dummy, dimwit liberal muck.
Surely, to the media’s chagrin, London got off lightly with Ken?