Would Livingstone have suggested celebrating the Diamond Jubilee with the pageant along the River Thames?
Yet the tussle with the politically correct element in City Hall continues. The fact there was a Labour government during the first half of Boris's first term inevitably caused friction over appointments, and also explains some of the outcomes.
For instance, Ruth Mackenzie, a former Labour special adviser, was appointed Director of the Cultural Olympiad in January 2010 against the wishes of the Mayor. Events planned for its London 2012 Festival include the following taking place at the Hackney Empire on July 8: "Ha Ha Hackney: Homo of Comedy. Gay Extravaganza 2012! Britain's top LGBT comics pay tribute and celebrate over half a century of Gaiety." Another evening is headlined "Ha Ha Hackney, Maggie, Maggie, Maggie". Sometimes it feels as if the Left is stuck in a timewarp of 1980s interest group politics.
As an aside, there is comedy to be had in perusing the Cultural Olympiad's website. Did you know that the Olympics has a "Food Vision"? And that since 2008, as part of the Olympiad, "Over 169,000 people have attended more than 8,300 workshops"? The Left loves workshops.
One survivor from this interest group heyday is Black History Month. This was a Livingstone wheeze dating back to the Greater London Council in 1987. It is the arrangement where each October many schools set aside chunks of their curriculum for "black history". Some of its adherents suggest Black History Month should be specifically for black pupils. The way this might be implemented in a classroom shows this does not bear much consideration. Anyway, the notion of compartmentalising history into black and white is absurd. When Christopher Columbus undertook his adventures in the Caribbean islands was he making black history or white history? William Wilberforce was responsible for the abolition of slavery in the British Empire — the Bill was passed in August 1833, a month after his death. Thirty years later President Lincoln freed the slaves in the United States. But neither Wilberforce or Lincoln are eligible to be taught in "black history". There is something slightly obnoxious about overemphasising racial differences to schoolchildren, however the subject is taught. In 2010, Boris agreed to spend £1 million on the Black Cultural Archives centre in Lambeth. And the funding from the GLA for Black History Month has been reduced but not scrapped.
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