LABOUR sent three big bods to Camden Town earlier: Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and Ken Livingstone. They were talking to businesses in the area and young job seekers. Unusually for these type of press jobs, the politicians didn’t breeze in, get their pictures taken at the table tennis table and breeze on out again. They stayed for a couple of hours. If they are going to take the Miliband/Balls recovery roadshow everywhere in the UK, as they suggested, and hang around for this long every time, they should, I calculate, just be about back in time for the next general election. Quite commendable, set your watches now.
At the end of the session, a young man stopped Ken and told him that his mother wanted to see him cracking jokes again on Have I Got News For You? ‘She wanted me to tell you that she really liked you on there’, he said. Given the oft-heard assessment that Boris Johnson, Ken’s successor at City Hall and serial election rival, is good on jokey TV panel shows and not much else somebody quipped afterwards that this compliment had been a case of mistaken identity.
But Livingstone has been on there as well, hey Glenda Jackson used to go on and tell funnies. Check YouTube. Ken promised: ‘Whenever they ask me I always go on. I never turn them down. I love it. I love it. It’s good fun.’
It’s not that he says yes to everything, however. He explained that he would never have done I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here – like Lib Dem mayoral candidate Brian Paddick. And then listed a series of other shows for which he says he has been approached but which he politely declined.
“I turned down Celebrity Big Brother, Celebrity Wife Swap, Strictly Come Dancing,” Ken explained. “The only one I wanted to do was Who Do You Think You Are? [BBC’s family tree show] but they decided to drop it because I’m running for office. Not that that stopped them doing Boris. It would be interesting. My grandfather on my father’s side disappeared without trace when my dad was 14, so we had no idea what happened to him.”
Shame, judging by the current series, the Beeb looks like they blew the budget on Richard Madeley. Ken will have to wait.