Simon Carr:

The Sketch: Not quite a clean bill of health, but Ed's stable

The important thing was the voice. It had lost the pleady, plaintive thing

Share
Related Topics

Last week, when the Labour leader went into the tea room and his supporters flocked to congratulate him, you might have thought: "That's just cruel." False hope's worse than no hope. Why prolong the pain?

But with their generous instincts, they were able to see the small but significant improvement in their leader's condition – he'd moved from terminal to critical. The rally has been sustained. After yesterday it is clear even to his most devoted persecutors that the Miliband condition has risen to stable. Comfortable even. He's sitting up in bed, taking solid food and receiving visitors. Amazing transformation. The villain who'd been standing on his oxygen tube has been called away, and his saline drip has been fortified with extra salt.

Opinion is divided on the new radiance. More confidence, people say, and maybe that's so. He has fully mastered water-pouring. He now grasps the carafe in a manly way round the bulge and pours confidently away from his body.

He still touches his face, stroking his nose and lip as though watching an internet screen; and after he sits down from having made a telling point on a serious subject, he laughs triumphantly, "I did it! See what I did? That! Look! That was me!" He really must try to remember he is still visible, even though he's sitting down.

But a fair-minded critic admits (and I know because I asked one) that he spoke with confidence, clarity and conciseness. He had good lines. There was enough momentum to carry him over the false steps. All these things are necessary but not sufficient. The important thing was the voice. It had lost the pleady thing. That plaintive "Why won't he listen to me?" quality. Nagging, essentially. He wasn't nagging any more. And he kept control of his face, that many splendoured thing with its diverse assets.

Cameron finished by defending his Health Secretary, saying his career prospects were a lot better than Miliband's. That's probably far less true than Lansley or Cameron would like.

React Now

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

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Newly Qualified Teachers

£90 - £115 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: We are currently looking fo...

Year 3/4 Teacher

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Job Share Year 3/4 Teacher...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The racist abuse of Mario Balotelli on Twitter is disgusting, but it can be stopped

Anna Jonsson
A survey by Which? found that some of the UK’s biggest airports, including Heathrow, left travellers the most agitated  

Third-runway momentum is gathering. We need to stop it in its tracks

Mary Dejevsky
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments