Thursday 12 March 2015

Family Guy

Looks are important.

Ed Miliband, or more probably his advisers, decided its time to play the family card.
Mrs Miliband defended her husband and the mini-Milibands told the media what a great dad he was.

It was quite alright, as these things go. Mrs Miliband is mostly normal. Looks normal. behaves like a normal person. Miliband's kids were like any small children in any other household. All ..cute as buttons normal.

Which is exactly what the spinners were hoping for. 

However, the fact Ed has been reduced to using the wife card is because the election is only weeks away and Labour are either trailing-level-just ahead, in the polls. This is a bad place for an opposition party to be in. He should, by any measure, be around 6-10% ahead by now. That they are not is partly due to Labour's lack of any real narrative for governance. Partly because they are still blamed for causing much of the mess that the economy is in today. And partly because Ed Miliband looks like a slightly melted novelty condom.

The spinners set out to try and counter Miliband's dismal personal ratings by showing that contrary to all evidence, rather than just "talk Human" their Ed "is human."

Labour supporters rushed to declare their man a hero. And that old line, it doesn't matter what he looks like..its what he says was trotted out.

However,  since the Heath, Brown, Major ministries, and the post-Blair era, its perfectly clear that it DOES matter what a person looks like. And also what they act like.
Cameron, whatever else may be said about him, looks and acts like a Prime Minister. He doesn't look like he's trying to force his way into an EU leader's photo-op , like Brown did.  He isn't aloof and annoyed by the public , like Heath. He isn't a victim, like Major.
When he stands next to Mrs Cameron, they look like a normal couple going to normal function.
And I'd add that SamCam has been the best first lady since Denis.

Brown, after repeated gaffs and failures, became a national laughing stock. And the public stopped listening to him. That's part why he had to have a re-launch every week. To try and get someone to take some notice of him. And in the end, during the bunker days, Mrs Brown was wheeled out more and more often, to try and humanise the lumpen leader. Even to the point that she starred at the Labour conference.
There is a danger there for Miliband. He needs only to look at what happened to Brown.

 In trying to show what a caring and decent man Gordon was by appearing on tear jerk TV with his wife, and to show how 'human' he was on the conference stage it only served to show how much better she came across than him.
Which made people think .."she's far more normal than him!  Maybe she should be leader?"

In one of  those post-Brownian era documentaries there was the film-maker in a taxi asking expert manipulator Peter Mandelson whether it was tough having to spin Gordon.
 Peter, guarded as ever, made a satisfactory answer of support. But he did sigh, gaze out of the window, and a little wistfully express a desire that just once..just once.. when the PM emerged from his ministerial car, his tie wouldn't be flapping over his shoulder. Or his trousers weren't tucked into his socks. Or when he went to speak he'd remembered to clear his throat off stage, rather than start his speech with a phlegmy cough straight into the microphone.

Miliband has some of those qualities. Not as severe, but they are there.
The more we see of geeky Ned standing next to sensible Justine, the more we notice the contrast.
And before long we begin to wonder if ... Maybe she should be leader ?


Nick Drew said...

Turns out the kitchen stunt was a massive cockup too!

I laugh every time I think about it all

CityUnslicker said...

the kitchen thing is great comedy. Although wathcing Sarah Vine on This Week last night reminded me it did come for a very dark and spiteful place that is the Gove houselhold.

Peter S said...

'Slightly melted novelty condom'... The best description of the, er, 'man' I've yet seen. I shall use it. Often!

Jan said...

Interesting to look at the wives. Both Sarah Brown and Justine Milli come across as far more capable and down to earth than their spouses and Sam Cam comes across as just a bit more lightweight tham DC so is better in a support role.

I want to know why David Milliband has popped up once or twice recently? What's that about?

BE said...

The kitchen thing is one of the best gaffes ever. Did nobody reasonably foresee it? Even IF it was their real kitch they look so forced with their builders' mugs. Hilarious from start to finish.

Look, Ed is not going to be PM. If Labour is the largest party no potential coalition partner is going to accept Ed as PM. So as Nick did with Gordon, a change of leader will be a sine qua non of an agreement.

Actually I think the Tories will be the largest party, because I think our weird clunky inefficient democracy works in practice, despite not working in theory.

Budgie said...

BE said: "Actually I think the Tories will be the largest party ..." I do too now, unlike a year ago. But no other party wants even an informal coalition with the toxic Tories (UKIP would be nuts to do that). So it still looks like a Labour-SNP government to me.

Budgie said...

I know that Labour deserves the personal attacks on its leaders because that is what they descended to with their bile against "Fatcher". But I don't like it. It is dishonest, counterproductive, and promotes mere cynicism, so that the real issues lie unexamined.

dearieme said...

At least nobody has gone out of their way to remind the electorate that he only married her because of the sarcastic remarks when he tried moralising in public.

CityUnslicker said...

Budgie - Not to forget, the lack of any real Labour policies of note or any real difference between the parties means the debate ends up very personal.

Very much like office politics, where the company meanders on as always whilst management types pretend it is all their design and control....and that she is the worst, he is the best, ad nauseam.

Anonymous said...

Is it his brother or is it him with the adopted kids. Can't quite remember.