Saturday, 26 July 2014
The Greatest Show on Earth?
So, this car pulls up, all the doors fall off and a funny-looking bloke with daft hair and ill-fitting clothes gets out and hilariously ‘soaks’ the audience with a bucket of glitter and a squirty flower on his lapel. Enter Ed Miliband to the rousing rendition of Entry of the Gladiators and all those in the audience look nervously at each other, unsure whether to laugh… or stampede for the exits. What fresh experimental, presentational hell is this?
The Labour Party is in panic; nine months to a general election and not a single credible policy in sight. Even in opposition, which ought to be easy, the rigid sticking to gimmicky cries of ‘flatlining’, ‘he just doesn’t get it’ and ‘cost of living crisis’ has failed to make a dent in support for the Conservatives, while any hanging onto Labour vote pledges is entirely accounted for by people who would vote for a month-old turd if it sported a red rosette. Labour is desperate and so desperate is it, it wants to give Ed one more chance.
So here it was, his bi-monthly, make-or-break speech where he would finally differentiate himself from the uni-dimensional portrayal of schoolboy Marxist so beloved of the tabloids. What did he do? He repeated all the usual, insubstantial, ineffectual, impotent, aphoristic, idealistic, unachievable juvenile gumpf about fixing things that are so far out of his compass as to be practically celestial and then, in order to distance himself from the beauty parade of politics he referred to himself as looking like Wallace and made light of ‘BaconGate’. What a fucking tool.
Ed thought that by making a joke about the pig buttie business he could become a self-deprecating, down to earth man of the people. No Ed, no matter that nobody believes you can achieve a single one of your wild visions, it was just possible that while you were off on your flight of fantasy, some people were engaged enough to forget about what an idiot you are… but then you reminded them. Send in the fucking clowns indeed; Mock the Week is unlikely to come calling any time soon.
His main point seemed to be that he couldn’t compete in Glamour Politics with the likes of David Cameron who, despite all you may think of him, looks the part. He certainly looks better IN the part than Miliband ever could. Neither would Ed engage in Gesture Politics, promising things that, while sounding like good ideas, were undeliverable. Maybe he hopes we will have forgotten his vote-winning intervention in the energy markets last year - mere empty words being enough to put everybody’s electricity bills up at a stroke.
“If you want a politician who thinks that a good photo is the most important thing, then don’t vote for me,” says Ed, the man who posed with the Sun newspaper to the chagrin of the most intransigently tribal Labour voters in the land. He then went on to have publicity photos taken which may as well have been captioned: "Look at me with all the brown, lady people NOT exploiting a photo opportunity!” Desperation, thy name is Beaker and thou art a Muppet.
There's a reason you can't buy publicity like this.
Ed’s attempts to appear normal are painful. His attempts to explain how he understands that he doesn’t appear normal only make it so much worse. Whatever he thinks the people of Britain want, they definitely don’t want somebody who pretends to care about what he thinks they ought to care about… I think. What Miliband’s joke writers may have missed in their frenzied re-branding of the damaged goods their leader represents is that Send in the Clowns is a song about rejection.