Livingstone, we presume…

By SallyB2 Last edited 138 months ago
Livingstone, we presume…

For only Ken Livingstone has the right blend of schmaltz and gravitas to deliver yesterday’s ground-breaking apology for London’s involvement in the slave trade.

Generally speaking, Londonist is a little cynical when it comes to apologists. The national apology is the grandest theatrical gesture of politics, and the ultimate in political correctitude for those in thrall to politicians. And we reckon it has to top baby-kissing and hospital-bedside-visiting for ensuring a swift ratings boost for anyone in the public eye. Bill Clinton became known for apologising for anything and everything (gee, Mr. Dinosaur…it really wasn’t our fault but hey, we’re sorry), but even in Britain in recent years a certain recently retired PM had become a dab hand at assuming that distant and slightly watery look when addressing the sins of our fathers.

But this is different. The issue of slavery is not an event long buried in the past. It still exists and its legacy is indelibly stamped on not only our economy, but the on the history of black peoples, not to mention the constitution of the United States. It is one of the rank uglinesses of the human story, and yesterday’s inaugural Day of Remembrance will hopefully serve as an annual reprimand.

Furthermore, one may accuse Mayor Livingstone of many things, but lack of sincerity most certainly isn’t one of them.

Picture courtesy of samthesham’s flickr stream.

Last Updated 24 August 2007