There could not have been a greater contrast on a personal and political level between the outgoing Conservative leader of the GLC Sir Horace Cutler and incoming Labour leader Ken Livingstone. I’d almost liken Cutler to a royalist and Livingstone to a roundhead.
Cutler had the demeanour of a cheerful Victorian cad and villain. Livingstone was the earnest supporter of oppressed minorities. So when the two faced off on TV, there would be no overlap of views or areas of compromise.
County Hall on the South Bank in London is now a hotel, aquarium, some kind of horror show, a Japanese restaurant and a McDonalds – oh, and a ticket office for the London Eye. It was once the city hall for London – where the Greater London Council (GLC) was based.
Back in the early 1980s, the GLC was led by a much younger Ken Livingstone. He used to plaster the current unemployment figure across the top of the building. As it pretty much faced on to the Houses of Parliament, on the river bank opposite, Margaret Thatcher couldn’t exactly miss it.
But Thatcher got her revenge – by abolishing the GLC.