The Sketch: Angry mob grows, but Ed Miliband's still lost for words


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The Independent Online

"He's getting very shouty," it was observed in the Gallery. And it's true, David Cameron has been an excited tenor recently as the pace of events on the Continent picks up. Maybe he senses a modern re-telling of the fall of the Holy Roman Empire with Napoleon about to march on Moscow. It must be an exhilarating time to be PM.

His party continues to be a nuisance. John Baron told him there was a defining, once-in-a-lifetime chance coming up and would he seize the moment? "Absolutely, I absolutely absolute," the PM called back, if in a more roundabout way. Andrew Rosindell had been primed with a patriotic patsy – would the PM show some "bulldog spirit" in Brussels? Mark Pritchard asserted that bailout after bailout wouldn't work. Andrew Tyrie said the House would unite in defence against a Brussels attack on the finance industry. Julian Lewis asked quite sharply: why had the leadership supported fiscal union over there when that would lead to "dangerously undemocratic government"?

Yes, there are forces gathering in his party, all right. Everyone agrees with Pat McFadden – that the Conservative manifesto was ditched and the farther end of the garden path is crowded with angry, bereft, betrayed Tories.

The Leader of the Opposition responded by changing his voice. The gap on this stage is for quiet, calm, level-headed maturity. The wisdom role. Godlike. It's not exactly in Ed Miliband's reach yet, and it's not clear he'd be the first choice for the role. Realistically, he needs a chest cold rather than a head cold to bring it off – but not a bad effort. It will have given comfort to those who look to him for leadership – at least he can go down with dignity, they'll think.

The script needs work, though. "He promised a handbagging, all he can offer is hand wringing!" Somehow this didn't quite catch the magnitude of the situation.