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Ken Livingstone
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    (June 17, 1945- )
    Born in London, United Kingdom
    Leader of the Greater London Council (1981-86)
    Member of Parliament for Brent East (1987-2001)
    Mayor of London (2000-08)
    Wrote 'If Voting Changed Anything, They'd Abolish It' (1987) and 'You Can't Say That' (2012)
    He clashed constantly with the more centrist wing of the Labour Party, with Tony Blair calling him one of the leftists who 'almost knocked Labour over the edge of the cliff into extinction' during the 80s.
    He said the British occupation of Ireland (and later, Northern Ireland) had been 'more destructive than the Holocaust.' (1983)
    He supported left-wing dictators like Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega and Hugo Chavez.
    He said the London police were so far right they 'think of Thatcher as a bit of a pinko.'
    He appeared in commercials promoting cheese for the National Dairy Council (1989).
    He called George W. Bush 'the greatest threat to life on the planet.' (2003)
    He was accused of anti-semitism after he told Oliver Finegold, a Jewish reporter for 'The Evening Standard,' that he was acting 'just like a concentration camp guard.' (2006)
    All five of his kids were born out of wedlock. (Although he did marry the mother of two of them in 2009.)
    He has been described as an excellent public speaker, possessing a knack for stumping opponents with a 'mischievous sense of humor.'
    When he initially became head of the Greater London Council, the conservative newspaper 'The Sun' assigned a squad of reporters to dig up dirt on him; they were unable to come up with anything more scandalous than his fondness for breeding newts.
    He successfully sued 'Private Eye' for libel after the magazine claimed he received funds from Muammar Gaddafi.
    His comments on Northern Ireland resulted in his being attacked in the street by the Friends of Ulster and in a pub by a group of skinheads.
    He quipped about being in Parliament, 'It's like working in the National History Museum, except not all of the exhibits are stuffed.'
    He was widely recognized for improving the status of minority groups in London.
    He was remarkably successful at keeping his family out of the public eye, noting 'I expect that my private life is not in the public domain and I'm rude to any journalist who turns up at home.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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