Hugo Rifkind Hugo Rifkind

Ed Miliband was always destined to be rubbish – and he is

You know those jokes you hear which immediately send you into a furious rage at the fact that you didn’t think them up yourself? At least, I assume you do; I don’t think it’s just a quirk of having a profession whereby your livelihood depends on stuff that other people just do for a hobby.

You know those jokes you hear which immediately send you into a furious rage at the fact that you didn’t think them up yourself? At least, I assume you do; I don’t think it’s just a quirk of having a profession whereby your livelihood depends on stuff that other people just do for a hobby.

You know those jokes you hear which immediately send you into a furious rage at the fact that you didn’t think them up yourself? At least, I assume you do; I don’t think it’s just a quirk of having a profession whereby your livelihood depends on stuff that other people just do for a hobby. I was doing the News Quiz on Radio 4 about a month ago, and Fred Macaulay came out with one. ‘Ed Miliband,’ he said, ‘talks like he’s got another mouth inside his mouth, which is trying to say something else.’

He’s like the alien in Alien. It’s perfect, that. Because it works on two levels, doesn’t it? On the surface, you’ve got straightforward abuse, but underneath, serious critique. The outer mouth slams Tory cuts; the inner one worries about the deficit. The outer mouth sounds hawkish over Libya; the inner one is still trying to find coherent reasons to have opposed Iraq. The outer mouth still occasionally spits out the phrase ‘new generation’; the inner mouth says all the same stuff as the old generation. Ed sounds a mess and is a mess. Oh happy satirist day.

Still, at least he takes the focus off everybody else. Out of government for a year, the Labour front bench has the air of the human dregs at the very end of a drunken wedding, full of shouting old wrecks who don’t remember where they live, predatory swingers on the prowl, and bright-eyed teenagers flushed with the thrill of staying up late.

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