Ken Livingstone fans revisit the failed ‘Tory Toffs’ tactic

Posted on October 10, 2011

Boris Johnson spoke at a Lambeth & Southwark Conservatives event last night in Lambeth Town Hall, rallying the troops in advance of next year’s GLA and London Mayoral election. In a retro return to the old days, a gaggle of Labour and Trade Union activists picketed the event, heckling guests as they arrived and making a minor nuisance of themselves.

It wasn’t just the sight of lefty pickets at Tory events that was a blast from the past, though – Ken Livingstone’s camp appear to be revisiting the “Tory Toffs” attack strategy that ultimately doomed Labour in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election. The organisers told protesters:

We would ask that formal dress be worn; bring your champagne flutes and martini glasses in the hope someone will provide some drink, and join us in trying to ensure that everyone may eat cake.

For those who don’t recall, this was exactly the approach that Labour took in Crewe and Nantwich in 2008 – Labour supporters turned up dressed in top hats to pursue an explicit class war strategy that they seemed convinced would work. It didn’t – the Conservatives got a 17% swing to take the seat, in part because voters were turned off by the stench of class warfare and the politics of envy. Even the Guardian described the toff attacks as “patronising, old-fashioned and divisive”.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that people who support Ken Livingstone are quite keen on things that are “patronising, old-fashioned and divisive”, given that you could plausibly put the phrase on Ken’s business card, but it doesn’t bode well for his election prospects. Particularly given that his old ally Lee Jasper was back in the thick of things, too, promoting the event on Twitter.

So here they are in all their glory, the politics-of-envy, class warriors who Ken apparently hopes will hand him the keys to the capital. I suspect the Boris campaign will be hoping they are wheeled out on a regular basis right up to polling day – as Crewe showed us, the more they do this, the more they will deter voters:



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Categories: Local Government, Opinion, Politics


25 Responses

  1. Art Vandeley:

    That’s the worst tuxedo ever.

    11.10.2011 12:29 Reply

    • Cyberpixie:

      Double-breasted jackets = bit of a belly and trying to disguise the fact. Badly.

      11.10.2011 13:10 Reply

  2. John Wilkin:

    Note the ready made bow tie. No genuine Sloane would be seen dead in one

    11.10.2011 13:09 Reply

  3. Josh:

    Presumably I can picket a Labour Party event wearing a cloth cap and ragged trousers and not expect to be flamed for promoting snobbery and disdain against the working classes.

    11.10.2011 14:24 Reply

  4. Sophie:

    Oh that poor woman.
    Even deluded socialist women deserve a decent evening gown that is not made of Crimplene.
    Crimplene – the 1970’s material for 1970’s thinking.

    11.10.2011 14:40 Reply

    • Jabba the Cat:

      Hate to rain on your parade, but that looks like chiffon to me…

      12.10.2011 20:23 Reply

      • Cyberpixie:

        Looks a bit stained, too. It’s the sort of dress you keep away from naked flames.

        13.10.2011 12:33 Reply

  5. Bottom of the Barrel:

    Ken & friends: please stop scraping.

    11.10.2011 14:54 Reply

  6. I.M. Golightly:

    I agree that “Ken Livingstone’s camp”…

    Other funny thing about C&N was that the TrotLiebour scum were reputed to be going on about toffs in Bentleys – which just happen to be made in… Crewe! :-)

    Lastly, the chavs in the photo still look like chavs. No class, what!

    11.10.2011 15:03 Reply

  7. davidc:

    the labour party also forgot that crewe is (was) tha home of rolls royce and bentley a matter of very great pride to everyone in the area irrespective of political views

    11.10.2011 15:26 Reply

  8. Disco Biscuit:

    “We would ask that formal dress be worn; bring your champagne flutes and martini glasses”
    So Ken’s supporters own evening wear and proper glassware. Who are the toffs now?

    11.10.2011 15:28 Reply

    • Charles:

      “bring your champagne flutes and martini glasses”

      I don’t own either, does that mean I’m not a true conservative?

      11.10.2011 15:59 Reply

  9. Disco Biscuit:

    Would also point out that a winged collar is NEVER worn with a dinner jacket.

    11.10.2011 15:30 Reply

    • Ben:

      TWADDLE. Wearing a soft fold down collar with a DJ is an American fashion originated in the late 1930s Besides he’s not wearing a wing collar but a floppy non-detachable immitation.

      11.10.2011 15:56 Reply

      • Owain:

        That’s also quite clearly a clip-on bowtie

        11.10.2011 17:31 Reply

  10. Rh-:

    “Even deluded socialist women deserve a decent evening gown that is not made of Crimplene.”

    do you know how many crimples it takes to make an evening dress?! that frock is mass murder (and pretty cr@p)!

    11.10.2011 18:23 Reply

  11. Bonzo:

    A man’s shoes tell you all you need to know about him…

    11.10.2011 21:34 Reply

  12. Bonzo:

    You call tell all you need to know about a man from his shoes….

    11.10.2011 21:40 Reply

  13. Matt:

    Hope she was licensed for her street collection. And shouldn’t that blond person have worn something to cover her considerable poitrine?

    11.10.2011 22:31 Reply

  14. Penfold:

    I thought Lee “Grasper” Jasper had been sent to Siberia and excised from all contact.
    We shouldn’t be surprised at Ken’s tactics he has employed them for decades. Never mind if he loses to Boris, again, he can always do as he did in 1981 and stage a coup and displace the elected winner.

    12.10.2011 11:22 Reply

  15. Ben:

    158% council rise under Ken. Now that’s what I call progressive.

    20.10.2011 10:59 Reply

  16. HANDS OFF OUR CAPITAL KEN | gossiptory:

    […] All this comes as Ken forces people to amend their travel plans, publishes photos of Boris’s family home and retrys old failed election tactics. […]

    23.11.2011 18:00 Reply

  17. HANDS OFF OUR CAPITAL KEN – gossiptory:

    […] All this comes as Ken forces people to amend their travel plans, publishes photos of Boris’s family home and retrys old failed election tactics. […]

    23.11.2011 19:32 Reply

  18. Ken Livingstone’s “positive” campaign. | Boris Backer.:

    […] that Boris should be ashamed of. And, while on the subject of politics-of-envy, there was that time that Ken’s supporters were all sent off to a Boris event to loiter around outside dressed as […]

    07.02.2012 23:00 Reply

  19. Ken Livingstone’s “very positive” campaign. | Boris Backer.:

    […] that Boris should be ashamed of. And, while on the subject of politics-of-envy, there was that time that Ken’s supporters were all sent off to a Boris event to loiter around outside dressed as […]

    07.02.2012 23:00 Reply

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