Simon Carr: The day the PM was reduced to silence by antics of Mr Ed


Related Topics

It's still work in progress but there are signs of activity on the construction site that is Edward Miliband. Why aren't the workers working harder though? Why aren't they doing more things?

The Prime Minister had had the worst week of his premiership. He was diminished both by events, and by his colleagues. He looked smaller than an English patriot would like and came within an inch of the ridiculous.

The only thing worse was Ed's response. That made Nick Clegg look prime ministerial. He turned from stand-up to heckler, making begging gestures and looking wildly around, showing us the Mr Ed teeth. "Come on everybody! Can't you see this guy's like, just a guy?"

His sidekicks, Douglas Alexander and Ed Balls, started making comedy gestures of their own. The Prime Minister stood at the despatch box. He looked at the spectacle and looked away. He opened his mouth and then shut it. The Opposition benches were crowing, thinking he didn't know what to say. It's true. That fluent, voluble politician was lost for words.

But Ed's image builders are worse than regular builders. They've gutted the premises, stripped the fittings, knocked out the interior walls, chucked everything on to a skip and are now getting on with the serious business of standing around smoking and wondering what to put back in.

The activity doesn't amount to a programme yet but here it is. He cut his hair himself with a pair of nail scissors. And he uses the word "guy" to refer to the Prime Minister.

It's a start, he must think. Pompeii wasn't built in a day. It was demolished in a day, but that's for later. EDM is reaching out of the Westminster bubble to talk directly to the new generation. His people. Younger people. Informal, casual, modern, young people who look at the world with the easy disrespect of those who still think everything is possible. That surprisingly homogeneous crowd who fill the Hammersmith Odeon to watch stand-up comedians referring to their body parts.

He's saying to them: "Oh, thou who wear T-shirts and unstructured jackets and who shave unsystematically, I am of you. Our mutual understandings are beyond the reach of older generations. They are squares. I shall communicate with you now."

His difficulty is that he also feels the equal and opposite need to talk about bilateral this and multilateral that – the business in Libya – and it's not clear that the unstructured jackets will give their full attention to that sort of discourse. The rest of us daddios don't want to listen to him. So he's caught uncomfortably in between us, part of his own squeezed middle.

React Now

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

Insight Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k – North London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...

SQL Developer - Permanent - London - Up to £50k

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum 23 days holiday plus Pension scheme: Clearwater Peop...

Primary Teacher EYFS, KS1 and KS2

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education are urgentl...

KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

Day In a Page

Read Next

We need to talk about homophobia in the police

George Gillett

i Editor's letter: Summer holidays are here... so what to do with the children?

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn