Vanessa Feltz: Do you still maintain that they [Shah’s remarks] were not [antisemitic]?
Ken Livingstone: No. She’s a deep critic of Israel and its policies. Her remarks were over the top. But she’s not antisemitic. And I’ve been in the Labour party for 47 years. I’ve never heard anyone say anything antisemitic. I’ve heard a lot of criticism of Israel and its abuse of the Palestinians, but I’ve never heard someone be antisemitic.
Feltz: She [Shah] talked about relocating Israel to America. She talked about what Hitler did being legal. And she talked about the Jews rallying. And she used the words Jews, not Israelis or Israel. You didn’t find that to be antisemitic?
Livingstone: No. It’s completely over the top [but] it’s not antisemitic. Let’s remember, when Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism. [He then] went mad and ending up killing 6 million Jews. But the simple fact in all of this is that Naz made these comments at a time when there was another brutal Israeli attack on the Palestinians. And there is one stark fact that virtually no one in the British media ever reports: in almost all these conflicts the death toll is usually between 60 and 100 Palestinians killed for every Israeli. Now any other country doing that would be accused of war crimes, but it’s like we have a double standard about the policies of the Israeli government.
Feltz: You see some people will say there is a double standard operating in the Labour party. That’s that, really, a flagrant antisemitism, a deeply embedded systemic antisemitism, is hidden behind a mask of anti-Zionism or criticism of Israeli foreign policy. But that’s not what it really is. It is really, as John Rentoul, the political commentator said ... ‘These are long-term Jew haters, and they can use criticism of Israel as a cloak behind which to mask that sentiment?’
Livingstone: He’s lying. As I’ve said I’ve never heard anyone say anything antisemitic. But there has been a very well orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticises Israeli policy as antisemitic. I had to put up with 35 years of this, and then being denounced because back in 1981 we were campaigning to say the Labour party should recognise the Palestine Liberation Organisation. We were accused of antisemitism but then 12 years later the leader of the PLO is on the White House lawn, shaking hands with the prime minister of Israel.
Feltz: How could it be then that you would think that it is alright for Naz Shah to mention Hitler at all? If her comments were anti-Zionist, or anti-Israeli foreign policy, why would that be part of the argument? Why would Hitler’s name even come into it.
Livingstone: I don’t think she should have done that. As I said, she was over the top. But we need to step back and look at the anger there is at the sort of double standards. We have just had a decade of painful standards against Iran. We invaded Iraq because we thought they were going to get nuclear weapons, but Israel has had nuclear weapons for 40 years at least and there’s never any sanctions, never any complaint from anyone in the west. And it is these double standards that make people angry.
Feltz: What do you think over the top means? Over the top of what?
Livingstone: Basically to think of antisemitism and racism as exactly the same thing. And criticising the government of South Africa, which is pretty unpleasant and corrupt, doesn’t make me a racist, and it doesn’t make me antisemitic when I criticise the brutal mistreatment by the Israeli government. And let’s look at what someone who is Jewish actually said, something almost very similar to something Naz has just said: Albert Einstein. When the first leader of Likud, the governing party now in Israel, came to America he [Einstein] warned American politicians: “Don’t talk to this man, because he’s too similar to the fascists who fought in the second world war”. Now if Naz or myself had said that today we would be denounced as antisemitic, but that was Albert Einstein.
Feltz: Lord Levy says that Ken Livingstone, in saying that those things are not antisemitic, and I quote “must be living on another planet. Vanessa, will you ask him is he living on another planet and which one is it?”
Livingstone: After Jeremy [Corbyn] became leader I was having a chat with Michael [Lord Levy] and he said he’s very worried because one of his friends, who is Jewish, had come to him and said the election of Jeremy Corbyn is exactly the same to the rise in power of Adolf Hitler. So, frankly, there has been an attempt to smear Jeremy Corbyn, and his associates, as antisemitic from the moment he became leader. But the simple fact is we have the right to criticise what is one of the most brutal regimes that’s going in the way it treats its Palestinians.
It was more than 15 years ago and still some shops boycott the Sun - such was the calamitous effect of the Sun's front page claims that Liverpool fans urinated on police, pick-pocketed dead victims and prevented brave PCs giving the kiss of life to some of the victims at Hillsborough.
And although the editor at the time, Kelvin MacKenzie, later apologised, there will never be any room for the Sun in some Liverpudlian households ever again.
It all started on the Wednesday following the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989, when MacKenzie was about to make what he later described as a "fundamental mistake".
According to Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie in their definitive history Stick it Up Your Punter - the Rise and Fall of the Sun, MacKenzie spent an unusual amount of time deliberating over the fateful headline for that day's paper.
"MacKenzie then did an enormously uncharacteristic thing. He sat for fully half an hour thinking about the front page layout."
According to the book he pondered two headlines, one that was rejected reading "You Scum", and the one that was eventually used - and was to prove the biggest disaster for the paper's reputation and sales: "The Truth".
A team of about 18 journalists and photographers had been sent to cover the story, and although reporter Harry Arnold sought out MacKenzie to caution against reporting allegations as truth, MacKenzie pressed on.
Having decided to lay the blame on the fans' doorsteps, there was no stopping him.
Under the headline "The Truth" there were three subheadings:
Some fans picked pockets of victims
Some fans urinated on the brave cops
Some fans beat up PCs giving the kiss of life
The story read as follows: "Drunken Liverpool fans viciously attacked rescue workers as they tried to revive victims of the Hillsborough soccer disaster, it was revealed last night.
"Police officers, firemen and ambulance crew were punched, kicked and urinated upon by a hooligan element in the crowd.
"Some thugs rifled the pockets of injured fans as they were stretched out unconscious on the pitch.
"Sheffield MP Irvine Patnick revealed that in one shameful episode a gang of Liverpool fans noticed that the blouse of a girl trampled to death had risen above her breasts.
"As a policeman struggled in vain to revive her, the mob jeered: 'Throw her up here and we will **** her'"
The story went on: "One furious policeman who witnessed Saturday's carnage stormed: 'As we struggled in appalling conditions to save lives, fans standing further up the terrace were openly urinating on us and the bodies of the dead."
A 'high-ranking' police officer was quoted as saying: "The fans were just acting like animals. My men faced a double hell - the disaster and the fury of the fans who attacked us."
Kenny Dalglish, then Liverpool manager, later addressed the story in his autobiography:
"When the Sun came out with the story about Liverpool fans being drunk and unruly underneath a headline 'The Truth,' the reaction on Merseyside was one of complete outrage. Newsagents stopped stocking the Sun. People wouldn't mention its name. They were burning copies of it. Anyone representing the Sun was abused.
"Sun reporters and photographers would lie, telling people they worked for the Liverpool Post and Echo. There was a lot of harassment of them because of what had been written. The Star had gone a bit strong as well, but they apologised the next day. They knew the story had no foundation. Kelvin MacKenzie, the Sun's editor, even called me up.
"'How can we correct the situation?" he said.
"'You know that big headline - 'The Truth',' I replied. 'All you have to do is put 'We lied' in the same size. Then you might be all right.'
"Mackenzie said: 'I cannot do that.'
"'Well,' I replied, 'I cannot help you then.'
"That was it. I put the phone down. Merseysiders were outraged by the Sun. A great many still are."
It was four years later that the then publicity-averse Kelvin MacKenzie went public for the first time about the calamitous decision to call Liverpudlians liars and thieves who preyed off the dying and dead.
"I regret Hillsborough," he said. "It was a fundamental mistake. The mistake was I believed what an MP said. It was a Tory MP. If he had not said it and the chief superintendent had not agreed with it, we would not have gone with it," he told the Commons national heritage committee in January, 1993.
However, the Hillsborough survivors' group felt his words amounted to a less than sufficient apology. Owen Gibson @'The Guardian'
'Psychedelic Promos & Radio Spots' is an eight-volume series that includes hundreds of (very slightly) trippy radio commercials for shuttered music clubs, new records and movies, upcoming concerts and discontinued products from a half-century ago.
You'll also hear then-popular rock groups performing advertising jingles for cereals, soda, shoe stores, jeans, hot dogs and deodorants
Prince chose a benefit concert for the financially beleaguered Minnesota Dance Theater company as the first occasion anyone would hear the heart of Purple Rain: I Would Die 4 U, Computer Blue, Purple Rain, Let’s Go Crazy and Baby I’m a Star. Also in the 70-minute set: Delirious, Automatic, DMSR and Little Red Corvette from 1999, plus When You Were Mine from Dirty Mind, a cover of Joni Mitchell’s A Case of You, and the still unreleased Electric Intercourse. Three of those Purple Rain tracks came straight from that First Avenue performance, recorded from a mobile truck outside the club, with overdubs and edits added later
The version of Purple Rain aired that night was 13 minutes long, cut to eight for the LP. “My first reaction was, ‘Wow, this is almost a country song,’” drummer Bobby Z later told Spin magazine. It’s strange to hear the song sounding alone, without the audience singing along – they’ve never heard it before.
The show also marked the first appearance of Wendy Melvoin, replacing Dez Dickerson on guitar (“I was scared to death but I loved it,” she later said, describing it as her “make-or-break evening”). Thus was solidified the lineup of what became “the Revolution”, the band that would feature prominently in Prince’s coming film. Notwithstanding the murky sound and sweaty milieu, the concert captures Prince at his primping, purple peak Via
Ulrike Meinhof is without doubt one of the most famous female terrorists in history. She was a co-founder of the left wing German terrorist group the Red Army Faction (RAF) which also became known as the Baader-Meinhof gang after the two gang leaders despite the fact that Meinhof was not really a leader of the gang.
Ulrike was born on 7th October 1934 in Oldenburg, Germany, her father being a Doctor of Art History who became the head of the City of Jena’s museum when Ulrike was two years old. Both of her parents died of cancer, her father in 1940 and her mother in 1948. Ulrike and her older sister were then looked after by her mother’s former border Renate Riemack. Riemack was a committed socialist and his views were to have a big impact on the young and vulnerable Ulrike. In direct contrast to the ill educated Andreas Baader, Ulrike was well educated studying sociology, philosophy and German studies at Marburg. In 1957 she was studying at a University near Munster. Here she showed the radicalism that was to lead her to a path of violence, joining the Socialist Student Union and getting involved in anti rearmament protests and anti nuclear weapon protests. She also demonstrated her skill at article and report writing for the student newspapers which would be her future career.
She joined the outlawed German communist party in 1957 and was the editor of the left wing magazine Konkret from 1962 until 1964. During this time she married Klaus Rohl, the publisher of Konkret and gave birth to twins Regine and Bettina in 1962. In 1962 Ulrike had surgery to remove a brain tumour and some claim during the surgery her brain was damaged which lead to her future violent behaviour, a post mortem after her death did show that her brain had been damaged. The couple divorced in 1968 following a year of separation. Her writings were demonstrating a more radical view, and a move from protest to more violent methods. After writing an article about an arson attack she met up with Andreas Baader and his partner Gudrun Ensslin, it was meeting that was to directly lead to her becoming a terrorist and ultimately her death. By 1969 she was committed to the life of a terrorist / guerrilla to the extent that the airing of a short film she produced ‘Bambule’ was delayed (in fact it was finally aired in 1997). Her transition from journalist to terrorist was completed in May 1970 when she helped Baader escape prison via a library he was studying in. The resulting gun battle left 3 people wounded and Meinhof with a 10,000 DM bounty on her capture.
From 1970 to 1972 Meinhof took part in a wide variety of terrorist activities including bombings, robbery, kidnapping and shootings. She also continued to be a prolific writer producing many articles and doctrines for the RAF; these include the most famous “The concept of the Urban Guerrilla”. On 14th June 1972 following a tip off Ulrike Meinhof was arrested along with another member of the RAF, Gerhard Mueller. Like the other trials of the Baader-Meinhof gang, Ulrike’s trial was long and complex, after the first couple of years of hearings she was sentenced to 8 years while other charges were being considered. Two years into her 8 year sentence on 9th May 1976 Ulrike Meinhof was found hanged in her cell using a rope made from a towel. The official verdict was of suicide following her increasing isolation from other members of the gang who were imprisoned with her. Evidence indicates that they saw her as weak. Considering the suspicious manner of the deaths of the rest of the gang a year later it is not surprising that some claim Meinhof was in fact murdered by the German authorities, although this highly unlikely.
In a bizarre twist it was discovered that the brain of Ulrike had been removed for study before her burial six days after her death. Evidence shows that it was damaged during an earlier operation to remove a tumour. In 2002 the daughters of Ulrike Meinhof requested the brain be returned and buried with her and despite claims the brains had gone missing it was interred with her in December 2002. Ulrike Meinhof has become something of cult figure and is often given more credit and influence than she really had within the RAF. She was a contrasting figure to the violent , school drop out of Andreas Baader and fitted the classic profile of the well educated socialist reactionary that often were lured into terrorism due to their idealistic beliefs. She made a good focus for press attention and has had several quotes attributed to her including “Anti-Semitism is really a hatred of capitalism”, it was this comment which lead to some naming the RAF as ‘Hitler’s children” and on political action she is quoted as saying the much paraphrased quote “If one sets a car on fire, that is a criminal offence, if one sets hundreds of cars on fire , that is political action”.
Dugdale-Pointon, T. (20 August 2007), Ulrike Meinhof (1934-1976) Via
My new song genuinely came to me in a daydream whilst I was trying to tune-in my faulty DAB radio. I heard a snippet of news about this badly timed referendum on staying/leaving the EU and suddenly it hit me hard how much I’d miss it if the UK, true to it’s tradition of recreational vandalism managed inexplicably to kick itself out of this sophisticated European nightclub.
The club itself? Well it’s a very complex warren of a nightclub with many rooms playing very different songs. People rarely dance to the same tune but it’s the best night out. This song is basically just an attempt to make an emotional case for Mother Europe – this flawed, fantastic, potentially Utopian mega-club that I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in.
My initial idea was to record an undercover song that could be played to xenophobes as a regular love song. I had no inkling that I was going to be writing this particular song on that day but somehow or other that’s how things turned out so I went with it. In the end I didn’t want to sit on the fence so I called it “I Love EU”.
This song isn’t about definitive political policy detail but about the genuine friendship I’ve felt as a touring musician living in the EU – which, as a child of the 1970s, is all I’ve ever known.
In his autobiography, Tropical Truth, the Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso once wrote of his continued belief in the illusion of Brazil as a tropical beacon of inclusion even when he himself had been famously detained in solitary confinement then exiled by a military government for singing subversive psychedelic Yoruba-beat pop songs in green plastic trousers.
Equally it can be helpful despite of the real threat of an undemocratic corporate take over to continually imagine the parallel universe Europe of our wildest idealist dreams.
This very complex warren of a nightclub It’s still under construction and there’s some serious structural problems and some of the speakers have blown out but Connie Plank and Marlene Detricht are sorting it out as we speak. The bouncer is trying to keep people out but there’s a massive hall inside that could hold a lot of those people queuing. This weekend sees the Euro Classics Weekender grace it’s dance floors. Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder and Black Box are all playing. Abba, Brigitte Fontaine and Can and are on tomorrow. Sade, Stereolab, New Order and Technotronic play Sunday afternoon whilst Andy VOTEL and Mina Minerva are preparing a season of Baltic electro for next month. Picasso is on visuals. Ibiza is the outdoor section where the smokers and vapers seem to congregate.
Nobody in their right minds want to leave, but like any paradise there are flip sides.
Current management are trying to charge people for drinking the tap water – but it’s conceivable that the membership can arrange a take over in time and share it out. It seems to be worth it in the long term as when there was a bunch of separate clubs in town there used to be a lot of fights at closing time and now we can share the costs of the door security and the beer supplier.
Listen, don’t get me wrong – I’m just a romantic club singer but I can obviously see there’s lots to change about the lack of transparency and democracy of the current elitist EU night club. There are bullshit VIP rooms where our elected representatives are not let in. I’ve a lot of time for many of the arguments about leaving the current form of the EU for this reason but my personal hunch is that in the throes of this current colossal migrant crisis the Leave campaign as it is just provides a platform of hate for those who carry the burden of nostalgia for war and Empire. Whilst there is leadership in the case against TTIP and promising organisations like dIEM25 (who are campaigning for a Democratic Europe by 2025) in place it seems to me to be worth pursuing with this ambitious post war plan to rid the continent of war and fascism.
The arrogant, reckless British Prime Minister David Cameron set the June date for this referendum in the face of protests from the first ministers of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who are all in the middle of their own election cycles and in Wales’s case, with no thanks to the aforementioned Prime minister, facing a further catastrophic collapse of industry. When extreme governments like the current one are in power in Westminster, the EU seems like a comparative sanctuary of sanity. The largely progressive Celtic bloc have made alliances throughout Europe with other smaller nations that once were near suffocated by the monocultural outlook of the colonial era. From this perspective, which is true for me – the EU is also symbolic of liberation and co-operation.
Whilst we imagine and design the golden, democratic, ‘Welfare not Warfare’, left bank, parallel universe EU of the future, to jump from the EU club now I fear could only strengthen the worst xenophobic advocates of extreme free trade that would maintain and intensify Cameron’s Britain as the horrific cesspit for privateers, frackers, arms industry fairs and elitist monarchic oligarchs that it’s become and further undermine the welfare state, the environment and long term industry.
It will of course take a lot of work from diverse groups of journalists, activists, artists, workers and politicians from all over the continent to ensure that this isn’t enshrined as the pan-European norm. As a writer of dumb rhymes, for what it’s worth – this song is my meager contribution and with this forced referendum choice upon me today, personally I’d love my kids to continue to experience the full diversity of Europe that has helped enliven our community. The off-shore elites wont care if the majority can’t travel and work freely within Europe anymore. The problem for any golden age is to recognise itself. Time usually does the trick, unfortunately we’ve only got till June 23rd. I Love EU.
Please consider voting to stay in the EU on June 23rd and please vote out as many right wing climate change-denying nutters wherever you are in the forthcoming local and national elections on May 5th.
Maybe have a look at diem25.org.
Consider a postal vote if you’re overseas.
After a chance, encouraging conversation with Robin Turner where upon I happened to mention I had a positive number concerning the EU written, I immediately phoned Simon Jones from the Cymru Beats synth emporium and asked if I could come over and record it. Simon produced it – that initial session took about 4 hours. We finished it the day after. Simon took it to Donal Whelan at Hafod Mastering to finish it off. In the meantime Mark James Works made the incredible lyric video in a similar fever of urgency. Thanks to all at Turnstile, Caroline, and Dean at PPL for helping me fill in the forms that need filling and sorting things out to get the music out there in a hurry. Thanks to Dark Arts, Berlin for moisturising the unfamiliar skin of Facebook and occasionally some other futuristic medias on my behalf. Thanks to Super Furry Animals for putting up with me. Come and see us on tour!
Examines the Minneapolis music scene, combining clips from several music videos and interviews with fans, critics, and major recording artists from the Twin Cities.
Featuring: Prince, The Time, Morris Day, Jerome Benton, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Alexander O'Neal, The Jets, The Replacements & Husker Du