The absolutely worst aspect about tonight’s debate, the moments when my family had to sit on me to stop me throwing things at the television, were having to listen to Miliband’s saccharine-laden pocket-sized party political broadcasts that rarely bore any relation to the discussion around him. Instead of responding to his fellow panelists and clearly incapable of actually answering any questions directly, the wretched man robotically turned to stare into the dead camera lens rather than use body language to relate to those sharing the platform with him or the audience in front of him. Of course Johnny and Terry with their planted questions on austerity and the NHS were given regular name checks by the leaders to denote their sincerity, but only Miliband jerked round awkwardly to stare at the camera like some demented puppet, churning out a waterfall of statistics. You could almost hear the Labour spinners before he went on stage: “Remember to keep looking at the camera, that’s your audience, not the people in the studio. Just get the message across….” “zzzzzzzz”.
While the other leaders, particularly the Sturgeon, the Greens Natalie Bennett and Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood with her lilting Welsh sing-song – bless – peppered their responses with “we”, Miliband was all about “me” until you wondered whether he thought he was running for President rather than acting as the leader of a party that he wanted you to elect.
“Use your vote as a weapon” he cried before the gates of our election. “I believe in fairness for the working man” (as opposed to those earning millions who presumably never work at all), “the Mansion tax will pay for 20,000 more nurses, 3,000 midwives…” on and on it went. The Mansion tax will underpin Scotland’s NHS and Britain’s midwives, nurses, doctors, medicines, cleaners, ambulances and bloody well everything you never thought was possible in your wildest dreams. Let’s be honest. He doesn’t really have a clue. I mean even the Sturgeon sounded coherent and fluent compared to him.
We saw the future of an SNP/Greens/Labour coalition, and goodness it was terrifying. “We don’t believe in cuts, we believe in more borrowing” exclaimed Bennett to nods from the Sturgeon who wittered: “and in increasing immigration”. Sound politics? Well, maybe if you live in Scotland with the vast majority of the country under-populated, you might think a few thousand more people to hate the English might be worth it. You can see them cornering Ed over a dram and a plate of salad of an evening, telling him what they would require for their visions of utopia while he grins manically and agrees to everything just so long as he can win next day’s vote.
And then there was Farage, the joker, putting across the prejudices of the common man as he stuck it to the EU and gave us his spiel on immigration. He sought no allies, reveling instead like some madman in his alone-ness, pointing out that “they’re all the same” and only he could break the mold. Lonely he stood in the middle of the line up with mad ED demonically addressing the nation through the camera lens on one side and vanilla Clegg, aspiring to hold the middle ground in all matters, on the other. What a shambles, what a mess one thought. Thank heavens that at least the man on the end in the dark blue tie knew what he was talking about. A safe pair of hands in sea of immature dreamers.