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Ex-Mayor Livingstone

Mayor gets bent out of shape over Cuba

The Mayor’s huge media operation has got itself into a lather today over the Evening Standard’s claim that he is going to spend £2 million on celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution in 2009. His press release is really funny, take this quote:

With regard to environmental issues one thing that is very striking is that everywhere you go the Cubans have installed energy saving light bulbs.

In Cuba there is no free press and political parties other than the communist party are banned and the Mayor notices that they have a lot of energy saving lightbulbs. Talk about condemned by your own mouth.

If Livingstone ever talked about the cost of his pet projects then people would have no scope to make up their own estimates. Doh!

One reply on “Mayor gets bent out of shape over Cuba”

The Mayor was still bent out of shape on Friday publishing the long statement below on his website. It is all very well accusing the Standard of making figures up but note that the Mayor does not give the slightest clue as to what all of this might cost.

The Evening Standard today published a letter from the Mayor of London repudiating the Standard’s invention of the cost of a possible Cuban cultural festival – but changed its content so that the Standard’s fabrication was hidden from readers.

The Evening Standard reported yesterday (28th December) that the Mayor of London intends to hold a festival celebrating Cuban culture in 2009. Its report claims that such an event could cost “up to £2million” and carries an editorial claiming “this is £2million that could be better spent elsewhere.” The Evening Standard has in fact entirely made up this figure of £2million.

The Standard was offered a statement correcting this story in time for its later editions but did not publish it. The statement was posted on the Greater London Authority’s website to ensure that balance was available to Standard readers.

In a letter sent to the Standard the mayor wrote:

‘In your article (‘Ken plans party to celebrate 50 years for Castro’ 28th December) it is claimed that a possible future event of Cuban culture in the run up to the Olympic games would cost “up to £2 million”. This was compounded by an editorial claiming “this is £2 million that could be better spent elsewhere.”

‘This figure has been entirely invented by the Evening Standard. It is typical of a pattern of fabrication by the paper, such as a recent claim that bus ridership had fallen when it had risen by nearly two million a day.

‘In the run up to Olympic Games in 2012 it is planned to invite countries participating in the games to stage events in London – some will doubtless be very large as with the US or France and some will be small. Cuba, as a leading Olympic country, will naturally be one of the countries asked to participate. Any Cuban festival will be part of this invitation and will be staged primarily through sponsorship and their own expense.’

The Standard has now printed a version of this letter but changed the meaning of the mayor’s comments, changing ‘This figure has been entirely invented by the Evening Standard’ to the more innocuous ‘This figure is not correct.’ This changed the meaning from something that was invented to something that was merely not correct and therefore may have appeared by accident, obscuring the Standard’s role in producing the figure in the first place. At no point was this change in meaning discussed or agreed with the sender of the letter.

Ken Livingstone said: ‘The Standard has gone from fabricating stories to fabricating its letters page. The Standard was caught out inventing a cost which they then denounced in their editorial, and they have now changed the meaning of a letter on their letters page in a way that obscures their own inventions.’

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