Ed Miliband has just given a quite extraordinary speech. I don’t know if it was deliberately banal or merely unfortunately dull. It was certainly stupefyingly boring. The Labour leader gave the impression that Scottish Labour’s spring conference was the very last place on earth he wished to be.
I suppose you can’t blame him for that.
Even so this perfunctory, cliche-stuffed flannel suggested Miliband’s heart wasn’t really in Perth today. It was a kind of “God, do I really have to go to Scotland?” kind of speech.
I’m not sure Alan Partridge Meets Mr Pooter was quite the note Miliband hoped to strike. But when you start referring to Anas Sarwar as “dynamic” and Margaret Curran as “brilliant” you’re not really helping yourself. If that was (I assume) unintentionally amusing there was worse/more mirth to come.
It’s an iron law of political speeches that the speaker needs to find some connection tying him to the place in which he is speaking. For Miliband, this required him to search his life for, god help us, a Scottish anecdote. This is what he came up with:
Almost every family in Britain has a special story about their connection with Scotland.
This is mine.
My Dad came to Britain as a refugee from Belgium, fleeing from the Nazis.
He wanted to fight Fascism so he joined the Royal Navy.
Seventy years ago, he was stationed just 30 miles from here in Inverkeithing.
Where I was yesterday.
And that’s it! That’s his special story about his connection with Scotland. Not an ordinary or commonplace one but a special one. Dad went to Fife. And so did Miliband Junior. Yesterday.
Jings! And crivvens. And help ma Boab too. Wincingly banal and yet, somehow, painfully amusing too. The poor fish is almost proud of it.
So readers are invited to share their own special stories about Scotland – or indeed anywhere else in this realm. Let Ed be your inspiration.