Simon Carr: Hunt was left flailing, mastered by Miliband

Sketch: Labour leader used his peculiar – no, his richly individual – voice to good effect

Share
Related Topics

We mustn't miss the ugly duckling moment that happened over last weekend. Who, what, why and how are unknown but one moment the Leader of the Opposition was waddling round Westminster making clacking noises with pondweed on his beak – then whatever it was happened, and on the Marr show he was this rather elegant swan.

Calm, contained, confident and using his peculiar – no, his richly individual – voice to good effect. To emphasise a point he dropped the volume and gentled off the edge of the consonants. It's not easy and it makes those who do the opposite sound shrill.

You may not be as shocked and disappointed as I am because you are decent people. I feel strangely lonely.

There was a media statement on phone hacking given by Jeremy Hunt the Media minister – but Ed Miliband chose to supplant his own media man to stand up at the Dispatch Box to ask the questions. This was asymmetrical – and possibly a little misjudged by our swanlike friend. He shouldn't be seen on the seesaw opposite a duckling like Hunt.

The poor boy – every time Hunt mentioned the Prime Minister Labour yelled "Where is he!" He had no answers to the questions about Andy Coulson and what the Prime Minister had been told about his low-life associations. The charge that a man who had commissioned criminals had been taken into the heart of Downing Street – that is starting to gain momentum. Poor little Hunt was flailing and faltering in such a way that Alan Johnson called him "a monkey". It was ruled in order by the Speaker. Hunt bantered back that he didn't mind being called that because in his wife's country they ate monkeys.

Oh dear, yes, they hold the primates in a vice and eat their living brains. A sight preferable to the one we were witnessing on the floor of the House.

Labour's partisan points may or may not work long term. They are on safer ground with Tom Watson's charge of "institutional criminality" at News International.

And there is a terrible counter-charge possible, as Tories pointed out. Coulson may be guilty as charged – but Miliband has Tom Baldwin on his staff. As as Lord Ashcroft has written, there is an unrefuted allegation out there involving Baldwin, Class A drugs, and the criminal trespass into Tory party bank accounts. Miliband "accepted assurances" from News International that Baldwin did nothing wrong. But what are these assurances worth, from the "institutionally criminal" organisation that has lied to the police, MPs and to parliament?





React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links