Andrew Neil’s interviews with Labour leadership contenders

Yep, it’s a slow news day. I’m going back to Andrew Neil’s interview of Ed Miliband in last week’s This Week programme on BBC. Sadly the last in the series until September 23rd.

Andrew’s interview with Ed Mili was the last of his interviews of the Labour leadership contenders. Neil is the sharpest political interviewer on TV, and again his dissection of Ed Mili’s policy positions and brotherly competition proved it.

I know that these interviews are short and don’t allow in-depth discussion. Never the less they’re valuable pointers. Ed Mili came across as having less gravitas than expected, with him responding to one of Neil’s questions about his newness as an MP. And that was it really. Insufficient depth of experience.

Overall, the clear winner for me from Neil’s interviews was David Miliband. With better skills than any of the others in handling sharp political questioning and debate.

However, David Miliband isn’t in my estimation the sort of politician who can connect with the electorate. Labour would have been better served by appointing a stop-gap leader, such as Alastair Darling. It would have been better to begin the process of choosing a new leader at the Labour Party Conference. All the candidates, except Diane Abbott, are damaged by their recency in office, and have had insufficient time to develop a policy portfolio away from electoral hustings. But hey, it’s not my party, so my view doesn’t count a heap.

MILI-UPDATE: Paul Waugh has lots on the Mili-D and Mili-E sibling battle.

Andrew Neil uncovers Labour’s prospective leaders delusions

For two weeks running now Andrew Neil, on his This Week late night political commentary show, has successfully uncovered the delusional mindset of two prospective leader’s of the Labour Party.

On This Week on 8th July Andrew interviewed David Miliband and used his skilful forensic questioning to attempt to uncover Miliband’s delusions on our tacit agreement to torture. David Miliband would have considered that Andrew Neil failed to make the charge stick. That maybe so. That Neil persisted so long in questioning on this topic ensured he was the winner of the exchange. Miliband’s high-minded and dismissive replies exhibited the lack of moral seriousness for which he’s known.

Last night it was Ed Balls’ turn to face Andrew Neil. Yet again the unbridled delusions of a prospective Labour leader were cruelly uncovered. Quizzed by Andrew on being Gordon Brown’s henchman and cause of much of the bile in New Labour, drawing on quotations from books by Andrew Rawnsley, Peter Mandelson, Anthony Seldon, and Alastair Campbell, Ed Balls could only say it was all “balderdash and rubbish”. But, the telling point was Neil’s when he said “are all these people making it up?” Iain Martin isn’t convinced of Balls’ innocence.

The winner to date from Andrew’s interviews with leadership candidates, Diane Abbott, Andy Burnham, David Miliband, and Ed Balls, has to be David Miliband. He was the most skilful and lucid in his answers. Just one more to go, it’s Ed Miliband’s turn next week.

The facial expressions of the Milibands

Seems I’m not the only one who finds the body and facial contortions of both David and Ed Miliband to be disconcerting. It’s not so long ago that during a Prime Minister’s Questions that attention was taken away from Gordon Brown by the amazing facial expressions of Ed Miliband, who was seated on his immediate left.

The admirable Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail studied the other Miliband, David, in the House of Commons for one hour during Foreign Office Questions on Monday, and began his amusing article:

“David Miliband is said to nurture hopes of becoming PM. He is unlikely to achieve any such ambition until he stops twitching so much.”

 and concluded his article:

“Tell me: do you want this guy representing you at international talks?”

Answer: No I do not. He may be highly intelligent, but he sure ain’t got no gravitas.

My father used to tell my brother and I to keep our faces in repose, and not to make silly faces, otherwise our faces would stay like that. Presumably their father encouraged them. Odd.