Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Miliband gave it the knockabout treatment – and was walloped

Related Topics

Not that Cameron is invulnerable on Libya, anything but. Luckily for the PM, the Leader of the Opposition gave it a knockabout treatment and got knocked about in return – and so hard we could hear his enormous teeth rattle.

The first wallop was a response from the PM to the charges of making a complete foreign policy Horlicks of it all. Failed flights, seized soldiers, and internet rumours broadcast by the Foreign Office. Cameron said he'd take no lectures from the party of Gaddafi and Megrahi.

It's not a complete answer when you read it in cold print, is it? It doesn't exactly go into the machinery of risk assessment and operational decision-making. But you at home can't hear Ed Miliband's teeth rattling (they sounded like castanets).

The second wallop followed Miliband's reference to Cameron's "deafening silence about the performance of the Foreign Secretary". Cameron fixed him with that glittering Etonian eye that takes pleasure in careful cruelty. He said: "Only one person round here has knifed a Foreign Secretary – and I think I'm looking at him."

It was then Ed made a career error. He said that the more Cameron referred to his relatives, the less he had of the argument. "I have a second cousin in Belgium he will be going after next."

The Labour Party really picked up then. Another Miliband! Yes, in Belgium but maybe he could speak some sort of English-sounding Walloon? Did he have leadership qualities? Can a person born overseas be Prime Minister? More easily than Ed, you could see them thinking.

Ed just sat there with a little Zen smile. He can certainly handle ridicule and abuse, he just soaks it up. Years of training under Gordon Brown.

David Winnick asked a serious question and got a serious answer. Would the PM "guarantee" that no action would be taken without a Security Council resolution? The PM said that he and President Obama were planning for every eventuality and that everyone wanted the widest possible backing and there was a Security Council resolution being drafted and that was the right thing to do.

Or more succinctly: no. No, he wouldn't guarantee action would be authorised by the UN.

Is that significant? Or is it something a prime minister can't say in public? Does he have to keep his cards hidden from our opponents – the French, for instance?

It did just sound a little too like Tony Blair than Labour – or indeed the Tories – would like.

PS: Essential advice to Ed Miliband's brand builders. When you want to deride a prime minister for incompetence you absolutely have to have a more conventional haircut. Why? I don't make the laws, I just report on them.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

Read Next

i Editor's Letter: Our representatives must represent us

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot