Andrew Marr interview: Ed Miliband scores 5/10

Andrew Marr interview: Ed Miliband scores 5/10

Ed Miliband’s interviews with Andrew Marr have ranged from the pretty good to the absolutely awful. But a year out from the General Election, he urgently needs to up his game to fend off the creeping Tory advance.

In Sunday’s latest instalment, Miliband had two objectives. First, to hammer home his message that the Tories only represent the privileged few. Secondly, to look and sound like a prime minister in waiting.

He was good on the former. He used his very first answer to go straight into his “cost of living crisis” message – a theme that he returned to throughout – and then honed it with references to getting the markets working “in the public interest”. He could not have been clearer on the EU – “leaving would be a disaster” – and he again fronted up by admitting that Labour “got it wrong on immigration” a decade ago.

His “race to the bottom” message was less effective (what does that mean? the average viewer might ask), and he was unwise to talk about the Scottish referendum as “an existential question”. But, overall, Miliband followed the advice of Labour MP John Mann to talk more plainly and less cleverly.

Did he look and sound like our next Prime Minister? Not enough. At the start, Marr addressed him as “Mr Miliband”, rather than “Ed Miliband”, which paradoxically drew attention to how much the opposition leader still resembles an undergraduate at a job interview, complete with weak thumb-and-forefinger hand gesture and lispy delivery. He compounded this impression by launching into knee-jerk criticisms of David Cameron, which would serve only to satisfy confirmed Labour voters.

Referring to recent policy initiatives on the home rental market, Marr asked Miliband whether he could understand why voters might be worried about a return to old-fashioned socialism under Red Ed. This was a dream question – a perfect opportunity for Miliband to empathise with voter concerns and gently reassure them. Instead, he flunked it.

Knowing how deeply disliked they are by a huge section of society, the Tories are relying on Ed Miliband’s geekiness to swing undecided voters their way. To stop them, Miliband has to do better than this.

Article date

May 7th, 2014

Robert Taylor

Media Trainer


My main passion is media training, and I’m proud to be one of the UK’s most experienced and successful trainers in this field.

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