The Feral Beast: Why Livingstone lost Labour's love

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The Independent Online

Ken Livingstone displeased Labour by supporting Lufur Rahman, a controversial candidate for mayor of Tower Hamlets. Rahman was sacked by Labour amid allegations of links to Muslim fundamentalists, but stood as an independent.

So why did Livingstone back him? Could it have had anything to do with Andrew Gilligan being the first to make the allegations against Rahman in a Channel 4 Dispatches film? Rahman's victory on Friday is one in the eye for Gilligan. He hasn't been able to count Ken among his fans since his days on The Evening Standard, which contributed to Ken's demise as mayor of London.

Mandelson on the cutting-room floor

A glimpse into Peter Mandelson's relationship with the Murdoch empire is revealed in Hannah Rothschild's new film, Mandelson: The Real PM? A highlight is when Mandy calls Times editor James Harding to administer a bollocking over an unflattering leading article. Now Rothschild tells me there was much more juicy footage, in particular of Mandy slagging off Rupert Murdoch, but sadly this ended up on the cutting-room floor. Mandy's memoir was published by Murdoch's HarperCollins, and massively trailed and serialised in The Times. Happily, he got his book out long before the film.

Rusbridger strikes an odd note

Guardian supremo Alan Rusbridger has signed a book deal with Jonathan Cape to write about his piano-playing exploits, called Ballade: Why Amateurs Should Attempt the Impossible. That should go some way to recouping the cost of his grand piano, for which he paid £30,000, and which he is rumoured to play au naturel. It should also take his mind off more tiresome matters, like why his newspaper is haemorrhaging all its cash. The words "Rome", "fiddle", and "burn" spring to mind.

Haynes has, like, debut difficulties

Cringe TV moment of the week was on Tuesday's Newsnight, when The Times's Defence editor, Deborah Haynes, discussed defence cuts with Sir Simon Jenkins and Jeremy Paxman. Clearly new to the format, Haynes appeared barely able to string a sentence together without inserting half a dozen likes and you-knows. We think this appearance was Haynes's debut as a pundit – and may be her last. But Sir Simon wasn't much more persuasive – at one point he suggested Britain put the £49bn defence budget to better use: "You could build the best arts centre in the world," he simpered.

No chip on Lawson's shoulder

Peter York was making mischief as host of last week's Editorial Intelligence awards champagne breakfast. Reading the shortlist for "Cultural commentator of the year," he described Mark Lawson as "the thinking woman's potato". Lo and behold, Lawson then won and came on stage. Mercifully, he was too dignified to swing for York, who has, in any case, probably faced worse.

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