The self-confidence of Ed Miliband is other-worldly. So other-worldly that broadcasting it, he feels, makes him more electable.
Between him and Cameron, he told the Standard, “I am the one with much more intellectual self-confidence, actually.” (‘Actually’!)
How then to explain his second-class degree, when everybody else was getting firsts (Ed Balls, David Miliband, David Cameron, Stewart Wood perhaps)? Even a second-class Corpus degree is enough to recognize the difference between intellectual self-confidence and intellectual capacity.
He began PMQs with an easy, teasing line about his rent control proposals: when would the PM “make the inevitable journey from saying that they represent dangerous Venezuelan-style thinking to saying that they are actually quite a good idea?”
The PM came back saying it was a Tory proposal all along, and that several senior Labour spokespeople had denounced the idea as unworkable, undesirable, impracticable, unsustainable.
To this, the intellectually superior Miliband replied, “All he shows is he has no idea about this incredibly important issue.”
But that isn’t exactly what it showed, and someone with more intellectual capacity would have found a better response.
He asked about the PM’s reservations: what actually was wrong with three-year tenancies with fixed rent rises?
Cameron’s reply was evasive, but made sense to landlords. He was against rent controls and in favour of more rental property. It might even make sense to tenants, when they think about it.
And even economic intellectuals agree – price signals as a guide to resource shortages and investment strategies are a more objective indicator than a political leader’s passing, personal fancies.
In spite of his enormous self-confidence and astonishing self-esteem, Ed Miliband has failed in four years to produce a policy package beyond What I Don’t Like I’ll Change. Regardless of incentives, perverse incentives, unintended consequences, commercial reality, human nature, Ed’s intellect has come up with a doctrine for Labour that says People Should Be More Like Me.
It’s hard to see that working, when it’s Ed Miliband we have to be more like.