The Sketch: Ed wants to look like – and speak with – the common people

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The Independent Online

Two thousand members of the public – ordinary people we were told, proper people, non-aligned people – came for Ed Miliband's Q & A. He hadn't said a word before they gave him two standing ovations. If that's repeated in the country he'll be a landslide Prime Minister.

And yet one of his consiglieris texted out: "We're worried he hasn't given the snappers enough shots of him standing with his hands over his eyes like Captain Haddock." What a way to talk about your candidate!

He said he wanted tough questions, and "not discriminating but" – he wanted questions from non-party members, the aforesaid "ordinary people". As there weren't 2,000 people in the hall it did look like they were all professionals. Question Time but without the Tories – and with Eddie Izzard. The comedian wasn't trying to be funny. We thought. Great improvement.

Very nice to see Ed Miliband enjoying himself. The arm work was better. He's been having loose lessons. Well worth it. The Captain Haddock gesture might have emphasised his distance on the other side of the footlights but let's not snigger.

Except for his answer on bringing his brother back "from Siberia". He said: "I give you the answer I give because it's the truth." Almost perfect.

The questions weren't all patsies, even the one from Patsy, but none really challenged him. He was keen for the ones to which he could say: "Not everyone's gonna like my answer to this but". It was who he was. He was sorry but he believed.

He did put in a word for Mrs Thatcher, and he did say he wanted Tories to vote for him. No one asked: "In that case why are you so effing rude about them all the time?"

A 17-year-old asked why Labour "didn't connect with young people". Ed said triumphantly: "The Promise of Britain!" And then said something about corporation tax. I'm sorry, I actually am sniggering. Ed, mate, two words: Nose stud. Yeah?

Here's a tough question. "Short sellers are the heroes. They call time on the party when you lot daren't and they lose their shirts when they get it wrong. You don't 'get it', do you?" No one asked it.

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