Ken chickens out in public – but is Jasper still advising him in private?Posted on April 4, 2011
You read it here first that Ken Livingstone would be sharing a platform with Lee Jasper at the TUC rally next week. Since I broke the story it’s been followed up by Andrew Gilligan, and the Evening Standard – and now Ken has backed out of the event, citing “family commitments” that he apparently didn’t know about last week.
There seems to be more to find out here – this looks very much like an attempt by Ken to rehabilitate Jasper by re-establishing a public relationship with him. The question is, did their relationship ever stop in private?
Jasper has taken up the case of Smiley Culture – the 80s popstar who recently killed himself during a police drugs raid – as his latest publicity vehicle political issue. On 5th April the Standard reported:
Mr Jasper, who quit as one of Mr Livingstone’s closest aides after allegations over his conduct, warned that the black community was at “boiling point” over the incident.
On 26th April The Sun reported on the Smiley Culture case:
Ex London Mayor Ken Livingstone said the black community is at “boiling point” over his death.
Spot any similarities?
Jasper was Ken’s race and policing advisor for 8 years – is he still advising him behind the scenes? I just put in a call to Joe Derrett, Ken’s media guy, who denies outright that Jasper is part of the Ken campaign team. As for whether he’s giving informal advice, it’s the uncertain press officer’s standard answer: “not as far as I know”.
Funny, Ken and Lee must just be so likeminded after their years together that they use the same words when giving comments to the papers…