Ed Miliband struggled to reach ‘the journalistic community’ at his big speech and press conference today. ‘Where’s Sky, ah there, Mark isn’t it?’, asked Ed. ‘Alistair’ came the reply. Not content with this faux pas, Miliband failed to recognize the BBC’s Nick Robinson and managed to slight Channel Four’s pompous political editor Gary Gibbon. And there was some discussion in Fleet Street’s watering holes afterwards about whether Ed had called a Tim ‘Jim’.
The Labour leader was clearly distracted. In the course of relating an anecdote about US politics, Miliband used the term ‘congressmen’. Mr Steerpike nodded sagely — knowing the meaning of this innocuous noun — but Miliband, who is always keen to be ‘right on’ and ever so politically correct, evidently thought he’d done something unmentionable. Horror crossed his face. Awkwardly, he corrected the mis-step to ‘congressmen and women’; thereby drawing attention to a boob that nobody had noticed and only he seemed to care about.
Some uncharitable souls say that little Ed was worried about upsetting his (loaded) union bosses; but Mr Steerpike thinks it was the steps. As I staggered about the labyrinth of cobbled back lanes and steps at the back of St Bride’s Church, where the event was held, it occurred to me that the place was not wheelchair friendly. Miliband wants to lead a national political movement, not a political party. Yet many people were excluded today. One Nation Labour needs a ramp.