“Racist, Islamophobe, Fascist, Spy!”

Let me see if I can get the accusations from Ken Livingstone straight about the Standard‘s investigation into why public money ended up in companies and charities controlled by the friends of Lee Jasper, his adviser on equality and policing.
Like everyone else, Jasper is innocent until proved guilty. If we were demanding that he be punished without due process or damned without evidence, Livingstone would have every right to complain. Instead he choose to bring Lord (Herman) Ouseley, Richard Taylor, father of Damilola Taylor and other black leaders to the Mayoral press conference to denounce the Standard as “racist”. You had to listen very carefully to notice that during his bloodcurdling condemnation of a newspaper “hate campaign” against London’s blacks, Livingstone did concede that, yes, well, auditors would be checking to see if the story was true.
Innocent readers will wonder why Livingstone had to bring racism into it. Either the funds were used for their intended purpose or not. As Lord Ouseley and Livingstone’s other guests hadn’t audited the books, their opinions were beside the point. Surely the argument is about accountancy not bigotry.
Such naïve thoughts take no account of how Livingstone fights. He can’t see a belt without hitting below it.
Today he denounces the Standard as “racist” for applying the same criteria to black organisations as any other organisation. A few weeks back it wasn’t race but religion as he denounced newspapers that criticised the Holocaust deniers in the Iranian regime and a BBC investigation into the links between the totalitarian right and his allies on the Muslim Council of Britain as “Islamophobic”. Before that he said that Trevor Phillips would “soon be joining the BNP,” a revolting insult against the black chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality that was provoked by Phillips’ failure to agree with the crude multiculturalism of the Mayor and his allies.
The pattern of wild assertion against real and imagined enemies has been there from the start. Early in his career, Livingstone formed an alliance with a Trotskyist sect called the Workers Revolutionary Party. It’s remembered now for having Vanessa and Corin Redgrave among its cultists, when it should be known as the nastiest organisation on the late 20th century Left. The WRP spied on Iraqi dissidents for Saddam Hussein and took money from Colonel Gaddafi. Its primary purpose, however, was to worship the sect’s leader: Gerry Healy, a squat little Hitler – and a rapist to boot. In 1985, 26 women members came forward and accused him of ‘cruel and systematic debauchery’ on party premises.
Only the Redgraves and Healy’s most adoring fans stuck by him after that. Tellingly, Livingstone was among them. At Healy’s funeral in 1990, he dismissed the abused women as conspirators. Their testimony was a part of a “sustained and deliberate decision by MI5 to smash the organisation”.
Then as now it wasn’t enough to argue with those who disagreed with him. Criticisms can never be legitimate. There always has to be a scandalous motive. In 1990, those who upset his allies were the pawns of a dark plot by the security services. In 2007 they are racists or Islamophobes. The years pass, but his frenzy never fades.