Ken Livingstone to work for Hugo Chavez

This piece in The Independent is short enough to quote in full:

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone has agreed to help Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez improve urban planning.

While he was in office Mr Livingstone made a deal with Mr Chavez to exchange cheap Venezuelan fuel for British buses for London’s advice to mayoral candidates in Caracas.

But the current mayor Boris Johnson cancelled the deal when he came to office.

Mr Livingstone said he will personally advise officials and candidates to ensure that the country gets the “advice that we promised”.

A spokesman for the Mayor of London, said: “Boris Johnson made it clear during his election campaign that he did not want to be on the payroll of Hugo Chavez and did not believe a poor South American country should be subsidising one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

“He has kept that promise to the people of London. Ken Livingstone is free, as a private individual, to offer his advice and services to whomever he wants.”

Of course, the last time Mr Livingstone made the news was only a couple of weeks ago, that time on the generosity of the Chinese government:

When Livingstone and his Trotskyist cronies were given a multi-million pound payoff from city hall I wondered how much they would be giving away to good causes. As it happens it’s Livingstone and his aide John Ross who have been reviving charity – from the Chinese government.

As Andrew Gilligan reports in today’s Evening Standard these champions of the working person stayed at a £1,100 a night hotel in Beijing and were given VIP seats for the opening ceremony. No wonder he told the Today programme that the Chinese regime was not a police state and was going in the right direction on human rights. Tell that to HIV Aids campiagner Hu Jia.

Apparently, the Chinese invited Livingstone because they saw him as someone “who might have some influence in the future”. Senior Labour figures closely involved with the ill-fated Livingstone campaign are now tearing out their hair out at the former mayor’s increasingly unpredictable behaviour since he lost the election. The sooner the Labour Party finds a decent candidate for 2012 the better.


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