After reading this article from The Guardian and seeing comments on Twitter written by teachers and teacher bloggers about what a great Prime Minister Ed Miliband would have made, I decided to re-watch”Cameron and Miliband Live: The Battle for Number 10″ which was live on Sky News and Channel 4 on March 26, 2015 and a key point in which the majority of viewers felt that David Cameron performed better in a “grilling” by both Jeremy Paxman and a studio audience, one month before the General Election.
The Battle for Number Ten was introduced by Paxman:
“Tonight sees the first big election test for two men: one of whom will be the next Prime Minister. David Cameron and Ed Miliband are the only people with a genuine chance of forming the next government. Tonight, we’ll see what they’re made of.”
I’m about to talk you through the most unprofessional, disgusting, degrading to everyone and biased interview of the decade played out by Paxman, presenter Kay Burley and some members of the audience. I’m going to explain why the former Labour Leader did an unbelievable job under the circumstances but was bullied so badly by the ignorant and malicious that he never stood a chance.
The performance begins with a short interview between Paxman and Cameron in which the Prime Minister is questioned on why 900,000 people in the UK have become dependent on food banks and the number of food banks has increased from 66 to 421 in one year. He is then challenged on his response that unemployment has decreased with the notion that 700,000 of those people are on zero hours contracts. He is reminded of his own phrase “Broken Britain” where it is suggested that we are now more broken as a country and poorer than before. The interview moves on to why Cameron has chosen to appoint those involved in overseas tax avoidance into key government roles, why he supports a rich newspaper owner who was involved in phone hacking and a rich TV presenter who thumped a colleague. It is stated when discussing the deficit that the government has borrowed £500 bn so far and that in terms of immigration he “said one thing and then did another.”
The questions put to Cameron were:
- What do you think are Miliband’s best qualities? (Cameron responded to this question by laughing and replied “That’s a very difficult question to start with.” The audience largely laughed with him.)
- Would you appoint a cabinet minister for older people?
- What cuts will you be making to public funding?
He was asked several other questions relating to his policies.
It was then Ed Miliband’s turn to face the studio audience which interestingly was in the opposite order to Cameron. The questions he had to answer were often much more insulting and personal such as:
- Why are you so gloomy? (Ed talked about zero hours contracts and unemployment).
- Would David Miliband have done a better job as Labour Leader?
The audience were encouraged to laugh at him and be rude to him by an often abrupt and quite frankly vile Kate Burley who I would argue was inappropriate and unprofessional throughout. Miliband’s answers were open and honest explaining that the Labour Party had been too relaxed about inequality, he addressed the awful mistake of the Iraq war and very nobly accepted the responsibility for decisions made by the party that were not his own.
Kate Burley brought the focus back to his family asking about “the division” and whether there was a “fall out.” As an aside I think its worth reminding ourselves that we’re talking about two grown men here that worked in the same profession, in the same party, in the same cabinet and I find it unbelievable that the public would criticize an MP for running against his brother so openly because he “cares deeply about this country.” And states: ” I have strong convictions of how we need to change Britain” to which the manipulative Burley dares to respond “Your poor mum.” Really? Having two sons graduate Oxbridge and win places in cabinet? I always felt he had nothing to explain to anyone here and this was an MP with nothing to hide.
The best question from audience member Harry was the only one not visually displayed on the screen. Please do not treat us as if we are stupid Channel 4/Sky News. He asked: “How are you going to be different to Cameron and Clegg and their broken promises?”
Ed’s responses sung of integrity and openness: “Trust in politics is so important. I want to be the first PM to under promise and over deliver.” It was when Ed Miliband was asked the same question Cameron was asked first that Burley was at her most offensive. To the audience question of “What do you think are Cameron’s best qualities?” she added “Would you have a pint with him?”
Ed talked about “Ideas. Principles. Decency. Reaching out to people who are the most vulnerable in our society.” Something I have always admired most in teachers and educational management I work with is the integrity to admit when they have made a mistake. Even more so to shoulder the blame for the mistakes of their organisation as a representative for it even if those mistakes were not their own.
“We were wrong on the regulations of the banks. I am sorry we got it wrong. They were under regulated in my 5 years as leader of the opposition and I’ve learned they’ve got to work better for our businesses.”
Paxman exposed himself as a real bully during the interview. Awful character. He really went out of his way to insult, degrade and publicly humiliate him in the most personal and unnecessary way for his own satisfaction when Ed Miliband stood up to him with “You asked me a question; let me answer it.” Again, Ed was full of integrity and completely trustworthy: “We got it wrong on immigration. We got it wrong.” If anything he was too open, accepting Blair’s mistakes as if they were very much his own. The audience had been encouraged to laugh at him in a way they had not dared to the Prime Minister.
“You know what people say about you? People think you’re not tough enough. Your own MPs consider you a liability. They see you as a North London geek. They look at you and they think “What a shame its not his brother. Are you OK Ed? Are you?”
“Hell, yes I’m tough enough. It is water off a duck’s back. They are entitled to their views. I’ve learned to be myself. Do they want my ideas? Do they want my principles? I don’t care what they write about me. I’m a resilient guy. They can say what they like because I care about the British people. People have thrown a lot at me! Let them under estimate me. I think I can change it. That’s why I’m sitting here and that’s why I think I’m the best choice to be Prime Minister.”
The best Prime Minister we never had. He would have made a brilliant role model to the kids we teach.