Thursday, 20 January 2011

Take me to your leader

I slipped off to meet Ed Miliband today, down at the football ground. It didn't take much to get in, though a worried Labour Party official did rather tactlessly tell me that they wanted 'real people' rather than Labour members, to avoid media accusations that the event was staged.

They got it half right: there were lots of 'ordinary' people there, though the rows of people providing Miliband's backdrop for the TV cameras were carefully selected to provide a multicultural, all-ages, sympathetic representation. I have to say that the event didn't come across as completely staged. There were plenty of local Labour people, and a vast number of pushy young men in cheap suits umbilically attached to their BlackBerries, but the questions were decent and honest: you could tell it was The Dark Place because everyone over 40 was convinced that we've got the crime levels of 1970s New York and that prisons are indistinguishable from high-end health farms.

What did impress me about Ed M. was that he speaks human very fluently, perhaps even as a first language. Of course he's highly-trained in not causing offence and sounding sympathetic even when he isn't, but I was convinced. Partly because he didn't play the usual political games. Apart from one reference to treating bankers who rip off the state the same as benefit cheats, he refrained from pressing hot buttons or descending into soundbites. I kept my hand up but couldn't get a question in.

I am - as everyone should be - far to the left of Ed, but I was convinced that he's a decent, thoughtful man who has perhaps learned the lessons of Labour's rise and fall to some extent. Whether that's enough to win an election, I'm not sure.

The other thing I learned is that he has a huge range of funny faces. Steve Bell thinks he has the eyes of a killer panda, whereas I thought he looked a little like Fozzy Bear.

My pictures are here, but here are the best ones. Click to enlarge.

I rather like this one - good lighting.

One for the Midlanders: TV's very own Patrick Burns

The Labour Party has posted film of the event here: interesting the way it's been edited for their purposes. 


Blossom said...

I think Ed has a certain 'Wallace and Gromit' quality to him.

The Plashing Vole said...

Me too, and he does the 'cracking cheese, Gromit' thing with his hands, but I think somebody's told him about it, because he stopped whenever anyone picked up a camera!

ed said...

I look so much like this guy I'm actually a little scared.

Could be worse I guess. Could look like David Mitchell...

Sinéad said...

Damn you, Voley... you made me snort with laughter when I scrolled down to Fozzie, which would be okay if I weren't in conference session. I think everyone except the woman beside me believes I got a coughing fit...

Ewarwoowar said...

One for the Midlanders: certainly not Gordon Burns.

Gordon Burns famously anchored the cult hit The Krypton Factor, and is now on North West regional television, I believe.

The man in your photo, as any Midlander fule kno, is Patrick Burns, BBC Midlands political correspondent and occasional host of The Politics Show's Midlands output.

Other than that, splendid photos. He really is Wallace.

The Plashing Vole said...

Ed: use it to your advantage - hang around playgrounds until he pays you to go away.
Sinéad: serve you right for sneakily surfing rather than listening intently. I do the same at university meetings.
Ewar: mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.