If Miliband took a truth drug

A superb article in the Indy this week by Matthew Norman, which you can read in it's entirety here, about the speech which Ed Miliband might have made to Labour party conference had he taken a truth serum.

Highlights from the article:

"Three minutes and 45 seconds into Ed Miliband's speech yesterday, my mind wandered off to a fantasy world in which some mischievous sprite had spiked his larynx-lubricating Evian with a truth serum."

"Conference," intoned Little Ed in the escapist grotto of my mind, "you'll have read that this is the most important speech of my life ...

"It couldn't matter less. Outside this hall and a few newsrooms, think-tanks and blogger's bedrooms, not a soul is listening to a word I say.

"Yet irrelevance is what defines any Leader of the Opposition so early in the life of a government the public has clearly decided to give a fair chance. That same public has also decided that it can no more picture me grinning triumphantly outside No 10 than Robert Mugabe, Tulisa or that late, great champion greyhound Mick The Miller. ...

"I wish it were otherwise, but I still look and sound like I'm auditioning for the forthcoming ITV1 series Adrian Mole's Mid-life Crisis, and that's something the electorate can't seem to get beyond. Less than a quarter see me as a potential PM, and plenty couldn't pick me out in an identity parade if the other seven were Peruvian mountain llamas. For Christ's sake, Harriet Harman referred to me on Sunday as 'David'.

"Now, I could ignore all that reality, and lay a big line on you about the 'quiet crisis' in British families, but the 29 TV viewers would only snort to themselves about the not-so-quiet crisis in mine. I could reduce the complexities of business to Predators vs Producers, as if it were a tag team match in wrestling, and bang on about persecuting the jobless over social housing to introduce a reward ethos into welfare. Well, fair has nothing to do with anything. What's fair about my lot?

"I'm shackled to a shadow Chancellor who patronises me while overtly seeking my job either for himself or his ice-pixie missus, and the only saving grace about Ed Balls is that the punters really hate him where they are merely indifferent to me. The rest of my front bench, as Lord Prescott has graciously pointed out, is a bone-idle shadow government of none of the talents.

"Expediency forces me to pick a fight with the union leaders who put me here ...

" and God help me if the public sector strikes go ahead. Even as things stand, I no longer have even an obviously soft poll lead over the Tories. ...

"I am here to prevent a civil war, and ensure that Labour survives for the next leader, or two, or even three, to take us back to power a decade or more from today. Thank you for listening, and please don't embarrass me or yourselves by getting up."

"The imaginary post truth-drug address transcribed above is the real world. The speech he actually gave was built upon the fantasy, colluded in by delegates and media in a mass collective act of madness, that anything Ed Miliband says could make an iota of difference to anything."

This is often the fate of opposition leaders (of whatever party.) The title of Norman's article is "It really doesn't matter what Ed said" and this reminds me of the trio "It really doesn't matter" from the Gilbert and Sullivan opera "Ruddigore" and particularly this spoof version which Spitting Image put into the mouth of Neil Kinnock many years ago when he was an even more irrelevant leader of the opposition ...


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