TWICE-ELECTED Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, a man as passionate about climate change now as he once was about congestion charges, is a firm believer in ‘not taking yourself too seriously’.
The outspoken self confessed ‘school drop out’ who rose to become leader of the former Greater London Council and who went on to help secure London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, was guest speaker at the Isle of Man Law Society’s annual dinner at the Palace Hotel where his audience included His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor Adam Wood and senior members of the Isle of Man government and judiciary.
There’s still something of the one-time lab technician who worked on cancer research about the man who introduced the Oyster card and made bus travel popular again in London.
He has retained much of his analytical approach to all things, from the importance of teamwork, which helped in the London 2012 bid, to calculating what amount of the world’s land mass will be above sea level by the end of the 21st century. (Not much, but the Isle of Man could well be one of the safer havens, he believes).
A campaigner for ‘getting people back into cities to live’ he said that central to town centre regeneration was ‘ensuring your energy sources are sustainable…and the closer they are to where they’re needed, the less will be wasted’.
He may be 67 and ‘retired’ but his enthusiasm and passion remain undimmed. He said: ‘Since I lost [to Boris Johnson in the 2012 contest for Mayor of London] I’ve reignited my interest in gardening. I’m losing weight for the first time in about 30 years and spend many hours helping my two disabled neighbours with their gardens. Helping them I can see, for example, a log pile I’ve stacked up that’s been all my own work; that’s something tangible created at the end of a working day. In all my years in politics, though, I hardly ever saw an end product to my labour.’
Isle of Man Law Society president Jason Stanley welcomed Mr Livingstone to the island while vice-president Kevin O’Riordan gave a speech of thanks. The evening ended with a collection for People in Need, the Isle of Man Law Society’s charity that makes donations for specific cases of urgent need to vulnerable members of the community. For more information about the Isle of Man Law Society visit www.iomlawsociety.co.im