Unsurprising news via Labour Uncut:
Most people will have seen this photo of Ken Livingstone, overcome by emotion, crying at the screening of his election broadcast.
At the time the explanation given to reporters was that Ken was moved by the genuine words of Londoners and the responsibility he felt to win the election for them.
Stirring stuff. Shame it was rubbish.
But worse than, Livingstone’s team have now admitted that the “ordinary Londoners” were in fact paid actors! All of them: “the mother”, “the boxer”, “the businessman”. Was the “obviously Jewish man” (cynically inserted to repair some bridges) even wearing his own clothes? Was he even Jewish? Who knows!
It was all a scam. A sham. A shambles. And shambolic.
Still, some on Ken’s team insist that at least the bawling part is genuine, but is that any better? As Labour Uncut say:
When looking again at Livingstone’s reaction, it’s hard to know which explanation is worse – that he forced himself to eke out some tears for political affectation, or that he was moved to tears listening to sweet words of flattery that he had practically written himself.
Was Ed Milliband in on the deception? My guess is not. But one then has to marvel at how far Livingstone’s team must be willing to go – to fake tears in an effort to extract the desired photo opportunity with the Labour Party leader, and to make a fool of the Labour Party leader’s natural human emotions.
And to do the same with the electorate.
The New Statesman (who else?) has rushed to Ken’s defence running a story saying they were not actors, but “street cast”… by a filming company.
This is a very weak defence. They were actors, if not professional ones. They were ‘cast’ and they read from a script (transparently so, in some cases). That makes them actors. It was not – and this is the point – a collage of spontaneous vox pops, of citizens speaking from the heart. It was lights, camera, action!
The obvious question is: where they paid for their time?
One of them was hand-picked we now know, rather than “street casted” – Joseph Stauber, an ex-LibDem councillor who defected to Labour in 2008, and the member of an “anti-Zionist” Haredi sect. His casting was too important to be left to the filming company.
No one can blame the director for not achieving the desired effect: it did end in tears.