SKETCH: Ed – I Am A Leader, Just Watch

So we move further into the new phase of Miliband’s leadership – the phase of I Am A Leader, Just Watch.

He launched the new product to widespread mockery at PMQs this week with his sadder-but-wiser quiet voice.

Today, he turned up the volume.

“Friends,” he began. And two-thirds of his TV audience left the room. Even his allies don’t count him a friend.

Too remote. Too odd. Too made up.

Not to say that he hasn’t improved over the last year. Transcending the plasticine, stop-frame caricature he has achieved human form. A powerful, single-minded, self-possessed four-year-old. No longer Gromit, he’s Max in Where the Wild Things Are.

Dressed in a wild wolf onesie he points at the roaring, gnashing capitalists who flash their teeth and claws at him while realizing they are better than that and that hardworking people deserve more and they are tamed by the power of love, friends, and carry worried mums and dads around on their backs, playfully.

You don’t think that’s a proper manifesto? It’s better than Michael Foot’s.

The Miliband manner: Mouth more under control, still some writhing at the edges, some wind tunnel effects when excited. But no drooling at all, not even foam. The fingers flash about but come to rest decorously, steepled. He had learnt his words and practised his moves, but he can’t be said to be inhabited with them, as leaders properly are. It’s all a bit put together.

The matter: Risible as ever, but with a harsh undertone in the observers’ laughter. So, not as genially comic as Predistribution or Predators vs Producers.

The big idea is two more banks.

Two! More! Banks!

Three things.

If Gordon Brown hadn’t pushed HBOS and Lloyds together, and if Labour’s pet bank the Co-op hadn’t been chaired by a raving drug fiend there would even now be Two! More! Banks!

Second: He wants to dismantle big commercial entities into smaller, more competitive units. But this is what capitalism does as a matter of course. It is the business model for private equity, short-sellers, asset-strippers, hostile take-over pros. Miliband is putting himself up as a predator. What a noodle he is. Mind you, he knocked a billion off the banks’ cap just by talking about them so he’s not entirely without teeth.

Third: He said that lending to small business is woefully inadequate. It may or may not be. We do know, however, that a proximate cause of the sub-prime mortgage market was politicians demanding lenders make loans to bad credit risks.

Responsible capitalism via irresponsible capitalism. Only Ed Miliband.



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Andy Burnham, an MP at Westminster since 2001:

“I’m not a Westminster politician. Never have been.”

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