ED: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader by Mehdi Hasan and James Macintyre is a much better book than it has been given credit for.
The making of a really good biography requires research, insight and some good gossip. The trouble is that Ed Miliband has not done anything particularly interesting except to be Gordon Brown’s bitch and trample all over his older brother to become leader of the Labour Party.
That is why I would recommend the reader skim through the first few chapters, which basically come to the conclusion that his friends thought he was dull and geeky. The splendid Vincent Graff used to co-present an LBC show when they were sprogs and came to the conclusion that Ed was, ‘very nasal, very serious, very focused and quite dull…there was never any laughter in the Green room, it was almost like he was doing a job’.
And this is the trouble with Ed. He spent his childhood arguing politics with his mum, dad, brother and the good and the great. He doesn’t have something that Dennis Healey said was so essential for a successful politician: a hinterland. The poor fellow just has no other interests in any else but politics, policy and the Labour Party. That’s not sad, it’s tragic.
The only interesting thing I could find in his early years was that he could polish off a Rubix cube in one minute twenty seconds. I’ll skip over the university years out of kindness. No girlfriends, little alcohol, head in books, but used to agonise over which chocolate bars to buy.
Apart from academia the only real job he ever did was to be a researcher on Andrew Rawnsley and Vincent Hanna’s flagship television show A Week in Politics where he was rather impressive.