Don’t judge him by what he says judge him by what he does. Livingstone has made a lot of enemies over his political career, one of whom is Andrew Gilligan, you may remember Livingston’e bizarre rant on BBC London when accused Gilligan of being responsible for Dr David Kelly‘s death.
Well a quick life lesson is not to fall out with investigative journalists if you have a whole graveyard of skeletons in your closet. He has already highlighted the huge gulf between Livingston’e rhetoric on fares and his history of whacking them up post election and yesterday he exposed one of the most shameless examples of hypocrisy that I’ve seen in quite some time.
Back in 2009 Ken Livingstone said
“These rich bastards just don’t get it… No one should be allowed to vote in a British election, let alone sit in our Parliament, unless they are paying their full share of tax.
“Cameron’s problem is too many of his team have become super rich by exploiting every tax fiddle. Given he is surrounded by so many millionaires in the shadow cabinet it’s not surprising their tax policies aim to reward the rich and screw the rest of us…
“If Brown wants to get re-elected he should promise to sweep away all the tax scams and everybody should pay tax at the same rate on their earnings and all other income.”
One such “tax scam” is self employed people taking income as dividends, taxed a corporation tax levels, rather than as income taxed at income tax levels. Just for the record I don’t have a problem with that at all, it is a well established part of taking the risk of starting and running a small company, it’s Livingstone who claims that people doing it are “bastards”.
The problem is that is exactly what Ken Livingstone was doing at that very point in time. In 2009 he earned £232,000 which was routed through a company which he and his wife where the only shareholders. This enables him to take this money as dividends at 21% tax rather than as income, the bulk of which would have been at 50% tax.
As I say nothing illegal in what he has done, just shockingly hypocritical.