Ed Miliband was on The World At One this lunchtime with Martha Kearney, and he was subjected to a fierce grilling on the whole range of Labour policy (or equally, the lack of it). I often criticise Miliband for his poor public speaking; at Prime Minister’s questions, he is unable to keep going for more than about ten seconds without needing to refer to his script. At PMQs, any competent performer will need paper only to get a quotation correct, or to refer to some statistics. But Ed struggles. In debate his voice starts to soar up like an excitable kid in a school debating society. The long and the short of it is, whoever is doing his coaching has done an abysmal job so far, and they are running out of time to get him fixed.
Someone has uploaded the full excruciating twelve minutes of hesitancy and desperation to Audioboo, but as a public service I have done an edit to get down to the real message of Ed Miliband, which so often gets lost in obfuscation and nervous delivery.
I often say that if you really want to learn how to perform as a politician, you should study the timing and delivery of a really good standup. I am a huge fan of Dave Allen, for instance. I’ll write some more about this another time, but frankly if you can’t do better than Ed Miliband does whenever he pops up, you’ll never make a convincing politician.