Livingstone's Statement

It's a powerful defense of free speech. Money quote:

"Most Londoners will be surprised to discover that the person they chose to elect by a substantial majority last summer can be removed from office and banned from public life for five years for breaching the subsection of The Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) (England) Order 2001 which says that councillors 'must treat others with respect'.

It has always been my view that respect has to be earned.

To quote Andrew Alexander writing in the Daily Mail last week, 'Freedom of speech, if it means what it says, involves the right to irritate, annoy, dismay and shock anyone who listens. The only sensible limitations should be on speech which leads to violence, affray or disorder'."

It's simply appalling that this 2001 law is on the books. I had no idea. But given Tony Blair's instinct for squelching individual freedom whenever he sees an opportunity, I guess it's not surprising.