"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Thursday, 19 March 2009

'Red' Ken a Hypocrite? Sounds Plausible...

Former Mayor of London 'Red' Ken Livingstone was blasted yesterday after forgetting to pay his train fare and being let off a potential £20 fine.

On some services you are required to buy a ticket before boarding the train and retain it for inspection, as well as to pass through the station barriers at the other end.

The First Great Western service which Mr Livingstone used to get from London Paddington Station to Slough has such a policy.

This would all be quite insignificant but for one thing; when Livingstone was mayor, he insisted on a zero-tolerance policy on fare-dodgers, declaring 'free-loaders will not be tolerated'.

It was one of the few things he would actually allow a zero-tolerance policy on, fearing any crackdowns on violent crime and wider stop-and-search powers to combat knife crime would 'discriminate against certain communities'.

After alighting the train, Livingstone admitted his offence to a member of the railway staff at the ticket barriers, claiming it was a mistake. They then let him off with paying the single fare for the journey, £7.50.

A witness who objected that Livingstone was being given special treatment because he was well known was laughed at by the staff member, who said: 'Come on, he doesn't have a job now, does he.'

Whilst mayor, Livingstone praised the arrest of several fare-dodgers, even in cases where it seemed a genuine mistake may have been made.

This incident may seem amusing, but any ordinary member of the public would have been fined. I certainly expect nothing from Ken, an odious individual and a 'Champagne Socialist' if ever there was one, but some attempt not to be a complete hypocrite would be nice.

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