'Red Ed' Miliband is conducting one of his Fresh Ideas Cameron-style events, being broadcast live as I write this, though in a slightly too small player that (unusually) lacks a rescale or full-screen facility. Poor...
Others are following the event avidly, whereas Harry Cole found his "ears bleeding" at Ed's ghastly adenoidal voice and I have to concur. So, let's get a quick overview from PoliticsHome's Paul Waugh, via these two most recent tweets. First, this one a quarter of an hour ago:
Ed Mili's "British promise" is possibly the most clunkingly awful phrase I've heard in a political speech in a long time.
...and then this, a few minutes later:
Ed Mili has gone off-script from his speech. Not in a good way. Seems to be rambling a tad.
Oh well, poor Ed was never likely to be all that good at this "keeping up with the Camerons" stuff. Emulating the jacket-off, unscripted style pioneered in this country by David Cameron (at party conference and at Cameron Direct events) and copied by Nick Clegg (at his party conferences, but with the aid of an out-of-audience-view Teleprompter), poor Ed probably feels he has to attempt the same kind of thing in order to compete - even though he knows he could never do it well.
It should be noted that Cameron Direct events specifically exclude Conservative party members, ensuring an essentially hostile-plus-neutral audience and questioning, whereas Ed's events have been at Labour-friendly locations and with supporters making up the audience: even staffers posing as the public have been spotted at Ed's past events in the series. I couldn't find out (easily, anyway, and I gave up after a bit) where today's is coming from or any other details about it, so it's just another PR exercise for Ed-M in reality.
Not that it seems likely to be making much impact. There were between 24 and 26 on-line viewers while I was there, though reports indicated it peaked at 114 (remember I didn't stay with it). Well, that's not exactly impressive, even with Ed's new communications bods such as Tom Baldwin now involved...
UPDATE 11 Feb: the widget that shows how many are watching has become so embarrassing (especially as those watching were apparently hacks in the main, rather than the public) that it has now been removed!
In the end, Ed Balls (why was he there?) spoke for longer than Miliband did, according to at least two who followed the entire thing (e.g. Faisal Islam), which factoid tells a story of its own...
Note the body language of Miliband in particular: definitely subservient to Balls, and protecting his sensitive parts with his hands. It is clear who is the real leader (in the literal sense) here!
The only new policy idea I have yet gleaned from today is the idea of means-testing bus passes, free swimming and suchlike, which sounds to me as if it would cost more in bureaucracy than it would save. A modest raising of the age of entitlement to bus passes might be more sensible; but Labour have throughout the last several years been pushing for extensions to these concessionary facilities, not restricting or reducing them in any way.
Ed is therefore out of touch with his party's grass-roots and elected members around the country, as well as just about everyone else in the country!