Election results are in and it’s a heyday for UKIP. Who knows what it means for the Newark by-election or next year’s general election. We’ll have to wait and see.
In the melee over the Council and European elections, I think something has been missed. A very quick moment passed by on Friday night, one of those moments that is so quick and could have been missed just as easily as I spotted it. On Friday’s episode of Have I Got News For You, all the party leaders were lined up for a ribbing from the panel. Ed Miliband’s turn came and one of the topics was his disastrous interview with BBC Radio Wiltshire. Have a look between 3m 55s and 5m 05s:
The Radio interview has been pored over and rightly mocked for the shambles it was. But, in one of those moments of clarity that can happen in a fraction of a second, I was struck by the way the HIGNFY audience reacted at the end of the radio clip being played (about 5m in on the show). They didn’t laugh heartily, the panel didn’t pile in with a load more jokes at his expense. The audience actually pitied him, they let out a desperate wail “awwww”.
I’ve never been a fan of Ed Miliband, my gut feeling was that Labour had just handed over at least 10 years in Government to the Conservatives when they elected him. But I have some good friends who think he’s just what the country needs, so I’ve tried to lay off.
The electorate can dismiss a leader for being too mean spirited and ideological (Michael Howard), too ‘single issue’ and right-wing (William Hague), too dreadful (Gordon Brown), but to reach a stage where you just pity and feel sorry for a leader is pretty damning. How do you return to credibility from that? I fear that the HIGNFY audience reflect a wider sense in the British public; Ed Miliband is well meaning, genuine, clever and also not cut out for the top job! They will vote as such next May, unless Labour find a way out, quickly!