Coffee House

Ed Miliband tries to turn his vices into virtues

27 July 2014

Ed Miliband’s admirers are hailing his speech on Friday as an attempt to change how we think about leadership. It might have been that, but it was also a very political attempt to deal with the ‘Ed problem’, the fact that he trails David Cameron in the leadership stakes by a potentially fatal margin.


Claim your gift

There is huge frustration in Miliband’s circle that, as one puts it, voters say that they don’t like spin and then say they won’t vote for Ed as he’s bad at it. But for all Miliband’s decrying of modern politics emphasis on presentation, he has—at times—tried to play the image game just as hard as any other politician. At last year’s Labour conference, a photographer was invited into the Milibands’ hotel suite to snap them embracing and relaxing after his speech. Having done that, this speech looks like it was made—as one Labour figure tells me—‘out of necessity rather than choice’, lessening its impact.


But Miliband is keen to keep going with this agenda. This morning, he announced that he wants to introduce a Public Question Time to go alongside PMQs. Now, I struggle to see how this would work in practical terms and it smacks of the worst kind of New Labour gimmickery. But it does, though, reflect the Labour leadership’s view that the best way to present Miliband is in conversation with regular people. So, expect to see lots more of him out and about taking questions from the public in the months ahead.

Give the perfect gift this Christmas. Buy a subscription for a friend for just £75 and you’ll receive a free gift too. Buy now.

Show comments
  • Jacques Strap

    Milliband just has to attract 35% of 60% of the electorate (just 21% of the total voting population) to do his worst.

    Disgusting system we have.

  • Chubby Green

    Millipede, Scameron just varying shades of left-wing. Just look how desperately Scameron is trying to shake off the marxist Lib/Dims!

    • Holly

      Aw, come to bring a bit of ‘balance’ have we?

  • Barakzai

    I imagine all that Len and his fellow union power-brokers are interested in is achieving the 35% electoral share that’ll allow them to dictate the next government’s policy. Miliband and the other shop-soiled second-raters on his front bench are irrelevant – they’ll either have to toe the union line or they’ll be replaced.

    Putting the clock back 40 years is a depressing prospect, but Labour tribalists allied to carefully marshalled postal voting look more likely than not to deliver it. Unless Mr Cameron can demonstrate some of that clever strategising for which he’s so renowned . . .

    • Conway

      Don’t expect Cameron to do anything worthwhile, the electorate has largely seen through him.

  • Smithersjones2013

    The old adage ” You can’t make a silk piuse out of a sow’s ear” comes to mind. Miliband is the product of and he represents the face of the Westminster Freakshow.. He’s a freak as simple as that. He is to politics what the Elephant Man was to Victorian society. At best a pathetic curiosity for all the wrong reasons.

    That the Labour party selected him is the most damning indictment of their lack of direction and substance. He is a fifth rate lightweight leading a vacuous hollowed out shell of a party that Foot, Kinnock, Blair and Brown have pretty much destroyed.

    As for his public PMQ’s ‘gimmick? It will be worse than the BBC’s Question Time. A nasty urban liberal propaganda vehicle stuffed full of deranged sycophantic leftie doormats and extremists (e.g. like Coffee House’s very ownTelemachus). It will turn Westminster into an even greater laughing stock. The problem is not being denied contrived and doctored access to politicians, the problem is the three rotten establishment parties and the partisan adherence to their corrupt goals by their elected representatives.

    Parliament will never have credibility until we have purged our politics of the cancer of the current establishment parties. In Labour’s case until the strings between the Labour Party and the Trade Unions are cut they can never be seen as anything but corrupt puppets!

    • Alexsandr

      You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear -I prefer the brummie adage -‘you can’t polish a t urd’

      • Holly

        I prefer, no one can ‘fix’ Miliband, because he doesn’t think he’s broken.

    • Moriarty

      Telemachus will not be allowed to participate. They operate the “ask 25” policy.

    • telemachus

      The Labour Party just doesn’t make sense anymore.
      Now let us examine that
      The corollary is that the other parties do
      The LibDems probably do make sense but are dead in the water and may recover from a Grimond rump in a couple of decades
      The Tories have in fact no residual purpose and will schism after defeat next May
      UKIP certainly have a purpose but that is so morally degenerate that I suspect Welby will get on to them in the New Year
      So back to Labour
      You are quite correct that as the party of the working man it has had to move on
      It remains however the party of caring and reasonableness and the party we would be happy to entrust the future for our children

  • saffrin

    It looks like Ed got rejected from the little blond.
    Schoolboy sulk.

  • HookesLaw

    One of the links referred to says…
    ”Miliband maintains that
    today’s model of leadership in politics is very old-fashioned.
    Conversations with, among others, Simon Baron-Cohen, a professor of
    developmental psychopathology at Cambridge and brother of comedian Sacha
    – Borat’s creator – has persuaded him that a more empathetic style of
    leadership would deliver better results”

    I am not sure that you could make this sort of thing up – psychopathology!!

  • saffrin

    Nigel Farage has no contest.

    • Conway

      I agree that Nigel Farage comes over as a person one can relate to who is speaking plainly about things which resonate with the electorate.

  • monkey for sale

    Remember John Major’s “Back to basics”, and how that unravelled !

    Ed’s playing a dangerous game of substance over style, because he has neither.

  • Ron Todd

    A massive PR campaign to convince us he does not care about PR and spin.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Well since he had to apologise for being in the Sun he’s obviously been banned from doing PR by his party

  • R Fairless

    Miliband is a third generation Marxist stuck on the teat of avarice and falsehood. His father escaped from Europe to spend his life at our expense preaching Marxist philosophy. Why did we give him refuge? Why did we tolerate him? He accepted our hospitality but preached against us. How much did his son learn at his knee? Perhaps his nickname ‘Red’ gives a clue.

  • Archibald Heatherington

    I’ll ask how he can be Prime Minister if he doesn’t learn to speak properly. His accent and diction are disgraceful.

    • Holly

      What he says isn’t much cop either.

      • HookesLaw

        And that is the most important thing

        • saffrin

          Is that a statement or a question?

          • Holly

            A fact I think.

      • Archibald Heatherington

        I wouldn’t know, I can make out the word “privileged” every so often, but the rest gets lost somewhere up his nose. He ought to have gone to a better school.

  • Colonel Mustard

    I suppose the schoolgirl sitting next to him is a shadow cabinet minister pending a safe seat and parachute pack.

    • Inverted Meniscus

      Undoubtedly. Note she has already adopted the sullen, pouting look of entitlement favoured by Red princesses and princes. “Why don’t you silly people in the public just let me get on with being fabulous while running your lives, ordering your opinions and spending your money”.

  • McRobbie

    Do these people that advise millie ever actually speak to him on a personal basis. Having experience of that as a punter in the street I can say he looks a geek and acts a disinterested in what you are and what you are saying that it is clear he is living on a different planet.

  • Peter Stroud

    The more Miliband tries to impress us with his modesty, and lack of style, the less we believe him. He tries really hard to improve his image, but fails miserably because: basically, he is useless.

    • Holly

      From May 2010 to June(ish) 2014 Miliband, Balls & Co have been screaming ‘Too far, Too fast’, ‘Hurting, but not working’, ‘Draconian/savage cuts’, ‘Cost of living crisis’, etc.
      They did not expect Idiot boy to win the leadership, and have been arrogant from the beginning that Labour would simply stroll back into No10, without having to change anything, and would just pick up from where they left off.
      They left booby-traps for Osborne, and he deftly sidestepped many of them, while Balls screamed about double/triple recessions, because he underestimated Osborne and overrated himself.
      Thankfully, By a cat’s whisker, neither happened.

      Today, ten months from the next election, Labour are finally waking up to the fact that they could lose. Miliband, Balls & Co are un-palatable to many, unfit to some, and irrelevant to others.
      They have no new, fresh ideas, that do not involve more control, more tax rises, or money, money, money, from their secret ‘money-tree’.
      Half of them don’t know their @rse from their elbow, and the other half are the same bods who threw us in the ditch, after chucking us in the gutter.

      Changing Ed, will be looked on by most of us as yet another snivelling con/cop-out by Labour, just for power.
      They have not changed, and have no intention of changing, because THEY believe it is the British public who MUST change.
      THEY believe that, if only the British public would understand how spending other people’s money, for useless pet projects is ‘good for Britain’ they would be happier paying for it all.

      Trying to ‘fix’ Miliband will not ‘fix’ what is funda-mentally wrong with Labour.
      Mental being the operative word.
      I don’t think Ed is ‘useless’ per se, I think he has told us the truth about how he would rule us, and what he would spend our taxes on, but never once has he understood why Labour always fail, and end up wrecking the economy.
      Hopefully the smarter, more savvy public, who have had to live through many of Labour clean-up’s will finally reject what Labour always offer, which ALWAYS fails.

      • HookesLaw

        Hillariously I read that someone has offered Ed a ‘tip’ — ” If you can’t ask effective questions at PMQs, suggest the public do it for you.”

  • telemachus

    The narrative again
    The media pack feel he is on the run
    Wait and see

    • Holly

      He IS on the run.
      His latest change, to remedy his last change has …erm…
      Getting lessons on how to talk will not alter the b*lls*t coming out of his mouth, it will just sound…erm…Like he’s had lessons on how to talk proper, like what I do…
      Chortles to self…..If you don’t want someone like me as PM….don’t vote for me.
      The only thing he’s ever come up with where most folk actually…..agree with Ed.

      • HookesLaw

        A PMQs for the public IS a total gimmick.
        Anyway Cameron does do tours meeting the public – and has done ever since becoming Tory leader.
        And no matter who is PM, he or she has better things to do than go through the pantomime that is BBC’s ‘Question Time’ – all on top of regular PMQs.

  • glassfet

    As noted elsewhere, there really is a media grid somewhere in Ed’s office with the following entries

    Monday, Fly half way round the World for selfie with Obama

    Friday. Make speech criticising cheap photo stunts

    Sunday. Live TV interview showcasing all Ed’s terrible photo stunts

    Note to Ed. The Thick of It is NOT a documentary

  • Alexsandr

    to be a leader you have to have followers. But people are aware that many of the issues we face (immigration, the EU, the defecit, the over reliance of benefits) are the fault of the 1997-2010 labour government, and that the culpable are still there on the shadow cabinet. Even the people in his constituency in Doncaster are turning to UKIP as they see Labour has betrayed them.

    The fact he is a useless politician with no real life experience doesn’t help either.

    • telemachus

      You have fallen for the narrative
      Joe public does not connect the concepts with the party who will sell an alternative to the grasping Society of Osborne

      • ButcombeMan

        The views of the public ARE the narrative.

        The “narrative” is not created in the salons of the bubble, much as you might like that.

        It is called democracy.

        Red Ed, is a political joke.

        • fundamentallyflawed

          Exactly – Ed is desperately trying to shape the narrative because despite Tory weaknesses he is patently unelectable. This applies to the majority of the main Labour bench –
          Ed Balls (who looks more like a Tory banker than most Tory bankers and wants to ruin the economy again).
          Tristram Hunt (typical champagne socialist desperately seeking a good soundbite),
          Harriet Harman (despite the forgivable PIE links is a desperate screaming feminist)
          etc etc

          • Conway

            Why do you think the PIE links are “forgivable”? Surely they are indicative of the Left’s thinking (no lifestyle is any worse than any other and one should not be judgmental).

        • telemachus

          You too have fallen for the narrative
          You look at the ridiculous photograph selected by Speccie and make your last line conclusion
          It is the message
          The message

          • Inverted Meniscus

            The message from Fascist Labour is of course: ‘We know how to spend your money, determine your opinions and regulate your lives better than you do so shut up and be grateful or else’.

          • Smithersjones2013

            What message? The same one that you have been brainwashed with:

            Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated

          • Moriarty

            Quick question teletroll: are you in a better position to decide how I spend my money? It’s sort of….yes or no.

      • McRobbie

        So joe public will go for this grasping trade union puppet instead?

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Which is infinitely preferable to the complete and unremitting dishonesty of the Labour Party. The party of lies, lying and liars.

      • saffrin

        Labour are in denial about what concerns the public…in general.

  • Inverted Meniscus

    Sorry Ed but you simply cannot polish a turd and you are unpolishable.

    • sarahsmith232

      ‘You are a tax and spend authoritarian socialist who sees his role as regulating the lives and money of a public you perceive to be incapable of making its own correct decisions’ –
      Absolutely spot on, brilliant. I really don’t think anyone could better that, got it right in one.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Thanks Sarah

    • RavenRandom

      Echo what Sarah said. I hope someone from the Govt reads your description… sums him up perfectly. It’s such a shame so many working class Labour people vote out of habit for a party that no longer cares about them or is from them.

    • Andy

      He is actually a Fascist.

    • Moriarty

      “What have the British people done…..?”
      Fail to vote emphatically Tory in 2010. We get what we deserve.

      • Conway

        But what was on offer in 2010 (and will similarly be on offer next year) was not conservative in any way, shape or form, let alone Tory. No wonder people did not buy the charade.

  • BigAl

    Set aside the spin. You can see it in his eyes, tax and spend, tax and spend.

    Vote Labour and taxes, spending and debt will rise and the young of this country will end up paying for it. Labour do not do cuts they do tax, spend and debt. Look at the Brown PFI spend which is in the billions but not included in government debt figures. The payments for the PFI fiasco will go on for decades.

    • eclair

      What I see in his eyes is the hopeless recognition of his useless self.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The apple never falls far from the tree. In this case a red apple from a red tree, one calling itself Labour the other Marxist. The agenda is consistent, only the way it is dressed up to deceive varies.

Can't find your Web ID? Click here