Monday, 30 April 2012

Now Toby Young has noticed Ed Miliband’s maddening verbal tics

A Good Thing
Last month I dissected Ed Miliband’s bizarre speaking style in an attempt to figure out why he invariably reduces me to a state of frustrated rage. Other Labour leaders have been profoundly annoying – for instance, Neil Kinnock’s meaningless Welsh fog-horning, Michael Foot emphasising all THE wrong words AND syllABles, John Smith’s prissy Scottish bank manager manner and Tony Blair’s oleaginous "caring" act.

But Miliband manages to outstrip even those blisters when it comes to his power to utterly infuriate.

As I wrote here, it isn’t so much what he says – after all, Labour leaders all talk complete bollocks all the time – it’s his habit of telling you that he’s about to tell you something: “What I’m saying is…”, “I have to say…”, “What I will say…” etc.

Well, apparently, I'm not the only one who's noticed this. Toby Young, in his Sun on Sunday column yesterday, was amusing about this striking phenomenon:
The Labour leader was interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday and repeatedly told us he was saying something without actually saying anything.
 “What I say is this,” he said. He went on in the same vein: “I do say”, “I do believe”, “I do think”, “let me speak to that point”, etc.
 It was as if the person being interviewed was a tiny alien living inside the head of the Leader of the Opposition giving a running commentary on what his host was doing. Even by his own robotic standards, it was weird.
 At the conclusion of the interview, I half expected him to start muttering to himself: “What I get up to do is this”, “I do get up”, “I do walk to the door”, “Let me open the door”, and so on.
Toby Young doesn't write that much these days, being busy freeschooling in West London, but his website - here - is worth a visit. I know he induces apoplexy in some of my readers – but let me say this to that: he’s very definitely turning into A Good Thing.

There. I’ve said it.


  1. You and the little bald man are spot on...Milliband has been on the news saying nothing much about the Murdoch report whilst using several phrases like the ones you pointed out. It makes him sound like a badly programmed robot about to malfunction...which would be a relief to everyone and especially me

  2. Your sense of irony is extremely well developed. And a photograph too.

    Whenever the man's name [I cannot bear to utter it] come up I think of those terible images from the Thirties Year War of shaven-headed men with little button-noses being broken on the wheel before they are hoisted into the air so that the carrion birds can finish off the business. Better than counting sheep.