Anorak News | The Missing Link

The Missing Link

by | 7th, April 2006

‘WE have cracked it. Two seemingly unrelated stories have merged to present a picture of what might be going on with Ken Livingstone and evolution.

A newt by any other name

Know first that London’s mayor is facing the prospect of a third investigation into his conduct.

Back in February, a disciplinary tribunal of the Adjudication Panel for England found that in comparing a Jewish reporter to a Nazi concentration camp guard Livingstone had been “unnecessarily insensitive and offensive”. He was suspended from office. But Livingstone managed to win an appeal, and now a high court hearing will decide if he should be suspended from office or continue on his way, concentration camp guards – Jewish or otherwise – permitting.

The mayor could now face another investigation into his conduct for telling the Reuben brothers to “go back to Iran and try their luck with the ayatollahs’. David and Simon Rueben are involved in the development of East London for the 2012 Olympics. They say they have never met the mayor. They are also – and get his for a coincidence – Jewish. They are not Iranian at all. Reuben, eh – who would have thought it?

And then there is the third problem. Livingstone’s great plan is to make the middle of London a no go area for car drivers. But his £8 congestion charge – which makes it easier for captains of industry, ladies who lunch and anyone else who can afford the cost (let alone the parking fees) to get about town faster – is not universally liked.

And it’s not only disliked by those drivers forced out of the cars and onto the polluting, stinking, overpriced public transport system. US ambassador to London, Robert Tuttle, hasn’t paid the fee. Of that, Livingstone says: “It would actually be quite nice if the American ambassador in Britain could pay the charge that everybody else is paying and not actually try and skive out of it like some chiselling little crook.’

So that’s Ken. The second part is that scientists on Ellesmere Island, in Arctic Canada, have found the fossilised remains of a creature that appears to provide the missing link between fins and limbs.

Prof Neil Shubin, of the University of Chicago, says Tiktaalik, the name given to this odd creature, “blurs the boundary between fish and land-living animals, both in terms of its anatomy and its way of life”. He adds: ‘This animal is both fish and tetrapod; we jokingly call it a fishapod.’

And we jokingly call it Ken. Like this prehistoric curiosity, Ken is a missing link, a kind of half-way house between the sludgy, grey soup of local politics and the thrusting future of a city’s figurehead.

Like Tiktaalik, Ken has big primitive jaws liable to snap and stubby legs that don’t carry him very far. He’s like one of his beloved newts, only less so. Ken’s an adenoidal Tiktaalik, eking out a living in the shallows.’

Posted: 7th, April 2006 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink