Saturday, 3 May 2008
Beyond our Ken
Maybe it was the tear in the ear or the slight trembling in the voice. But as he stood there at the podium, Ken showed us that he was a class act all along.
It would have been so easy for him to blame it on Brown and stick the knife in as he left the stage. But he didn't. Instead, he took it like a man, shouldered all the blame and wished his successor all the best.
They say you only really miss something when it's gone. Well it's been just over an hour, and I think we've lost the greatest leader London has seen and ever will. A man who gave four decades of his life to the city he loves, who made London a bulwark against the worst excesses of Thatcherism, provided true leadership after 7/7 and played a pivotal role in securing the Olympics and Crossrail.
He could be his own worst enemy, ran against the official Labour candidate and his judgement over a few advisors could probably be called into question.
But he was a conviction politician - a true maverick who weathered the most prejudiced and sustained media onslaught with good grace and great dignity.
How ironic that yet again he's forced from the job he loves by another rabid right-wing Tory blond and sadder still to see the BNP claim an assembly seat. Ken made this city a fairer and more tolerant place. Let's hope that lives on as his legacy.
Still, if you want a smile, see Jon Craig make an arse of himself on Sky News after getting told off by City Hall officials for doing lives during the Mayoral speeches.
Bit of advice Jon, ask permission first.