What do you say when asked what life experience you have as a politician? Probably not ‘I was an economic adviser in the Treasury’ and ‘I taught at Harvard’. But to be fair to Miliband, his answer to one of the trickiest questions levelled at him this morning on Sky wasn’t much different to the one the other party leaders would give, which is essentially ‘not much’. A political Four Yorkshiremen skit wouldn’t be particularly competitive.
But Miliband had a good time answering the questions of the young voters. He was relaxed and dealt with difficult ones about restoring the Education Maintenance Allowance very well, explaining in a clear way why he didn’t want to make promises he couldn’t keep, and jokingly talking about politicians who rather hope that they can hide from voters once they’re in office.
His overall success in this question-and-answer session underlines why David Cameron wants to avoid the televised leaders’ debates. Miliband looking weird has become a cultural meme, which means that when he does appear in a debate, he will surprise voters by coming across far better than they’d expected. It is this low expectations threshold that Number 10 fears.