I really liked Ed Miliband. I thought he would make a great Prime Minister. He was wide-eyed and striving, the less hip or handsome of the Miliband brothers, but undeniably a fine man.
In recent months, however, he has tried to shed that image. He now wants to seem cool. This morning, for example, Miliband responded to the Daily Mail’s controversial ‘Legs-it’ cover by tweeting ‘The 1950s called and asked for their headline back’. He then proceeded to engage in a back-and-forth with James Blunt (another of Twitter’s surprise rehabilitations) who wrote ‘It’s been such a pleasure guest-editing @Ed_Miliband’s Twitter page these last couple of weeks.’ Miliband then delivered the exchange’s coup de grace, slaying (in internet parlance) his audience by tweeting ‘You explicitly said nobody would ever know. Hope your songs are better than your ability to keep secrets.’
You explicitly said nobody would ever know. Hope your songs are better than your ability to keep secrets. https://t.co/X6OZKIGqu0
— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) March 28, 2017
The top comment under today’s intervention reads ‘if you were this normal and likeable during the Indyref and the election run up, you’d be Prime Minister.’ Apparently Twitter zingers to half a million followers is ‘normal and likeable’, but earnestly putting yourself before the country is the sort of deviance we associate with serial killers.
This is, of course, why he’s done it: after the crushing ego-blow of the 2015 General Election, Ed Miliband needs (and deserves) a bit of affection from the country. But, after a series of high-profile interventions, he’s in danger of falling for his self-mythologising. Maybe what he needed wasn’t the two kitchens, the bacon sandwich or the EdStone – it was a sassy social media presence.
Like a divorced dad with a new leather jacket and second-hand Porsche Boxster, Miliband Mark II bears all the hallmarks of a man undergoing a profound identity crisis.