Oona King

Sunday, 20 January 2013 15:30

I couldn't resist Dancing on Ice

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'If you ever see me dancing on TV," Oona King wrote in her diaries, published after the former Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow lost her seat in the 2005 general election's bloodiest battle, "I can only apologise in advance." In that first year out of work, she turned down offers to appear on I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here and host her own chat show. The only reality TV programme she "secretly yearned to do," she writes, was Dancing On Ice. Her long-suffering husband joked he would divorce her if she did it. Everyone else said it would "irrevocably ruin" her career.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012 00:00

Oona King talks about adoption

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As she welcomes a third baby, Oona King talks to Rosamund Urwin about motherhood, the struggles of adoption and why she’ll be voting for her old opponent in the mayoral election

Oona King’s local pub in Mile End could scarcely have more appropriate reading material on its loo doors: a list of memorable lines and gaffes from Boris and Ken. Among them is Johnson’s bizarre quip “Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts”, and the quote that has come back to haunt Livingstone: “These rich b******s just don’t get it. No one should be allowed to vote in a British election, let alone sit in Parliament, unless they pay their full share of tax.”

Friday, 15 June 2012 15:38

Mayoral Election: A new politics for London

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Two weeks from now, Labour will have a new leader. Yet his – and it's usually always "his" – biggest electoral test before winning a general election will be winning London in 2012, and using that as a springboard to beat this Tory government – a government that is shameless about hitting the poorest hardest.

Labour members and trade unionists have to decide who can best beat Boris Johnson – Ken Livingstone or myself? Who can best win back the voters Labour lost in outer London, in parliamentary seats like Enfield North and Brent Central? Equally important, it's about who best represents the future for the Labour party, and who can inspire a new generation of Labour party members to join our movement.

Friday, 15 June 2012 00:00

Book review: Obama's Dreams from my Father

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As Obama fights for re-election this year, I thought it might be a good time to dig out my review of his book

Whatever else people expect from a politician, it’s not usually a beautifully written personal memoir steeped in honesty. Barack Obama has produced one, possibly because he wrote it when he was 33, long before realising any political ambitions. In essence, this is the search for his lost father who left when Obama was two, and whom he met only once, when he was 10. When Obama was 21 he received a phone call from Kenya telling him his father had died in a car crash. “I felt no pain,” Obama wrote after the call, “only the vague sense of an opportunity lost.”

She was ditched as an MP in 2005 and told her IVF treatment had failed. But, as she bids to beat Ken Livingstone as Labour's London mayoral candidate, Oona King says that hardship has made her stronger than ever. 

Oona King is often asked why she is returning to the political fray to run for mayor of London after the humiliation of being ousted from one of Labour's safest seats five years ago. It was a campaign she described as "one of the dirtiest" ever fought. Her fall from power came after a vicious battle with George Galloway and his anti-war party Respect, which targeted her because she voted in favour of the Iraq war. Given that 39.2% of voters in her Bethnal Green and Bow constituency in east London were Muslim, her pro-war stance was arguably political suicide.

Friday, 28 May 2010 10:57

Speech: London Mayoral campaign launch 2010

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The launch speech from Oona's campaign to become Labour's mayoral candidate, Haverstock School, 26 May 2010

I’m delighted to be back here in the area I grew up, and at Haverstock, my old school. Today is the beginning of a journey that I hope will take me from Haverstock to City Hall. But I’d also like to talk a bit about the journey’s you’ll take, and the journey’s you’ll make in your lives.

If you took a helicopter and flew from Epping forest to the South Downs, from Rainham Marshes to Richmond park, what would you see? You’d see a citadel stretching in every direction, containing fantastic landmarks, a river running through it and big green parks.

White supremacy is so last century. These days it's on-trend to be a mixed-race supremacist . Unlike the British National Party, mixed-race people can now point to scientifically credible research that highlights the various biological advantages of their ethnicity.

And that's not to mention the anecdotal evidence pointing to sports stars and celebrities such as Lewis Hamilton, Theo Walcott and Leona Lewis as representing the new ideal of physical beauty.

But is this just a media fad, sparked by the election of the world's most famous mixed-race person as President of the United States? And now that mixed-race people are our fastest growing ethnic group, what does it mean for Britain's uneasy relationship with race?

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