Belfast Telegraph

Ed Miliband on Absolute Radio: Is this the interview that could change the course of the election in the Labour leader's favour?

“Have I ever downed a pint? Yes! Oh you mean in one go? No...”


With just five weeks to go until you have to decide whether or not you want him to be Prime Minister, Ed Miliband has given one of the broadcast interview performances of his life.

Despite most people’s attention turning towards the leaders’ debate on ITV tonight, the seven-way scrum is unlikely to tell us much about the election runners that we don’t already know.

But on Absolute Radio on April Fools’ Day, Mr Miliband gave such a likeable and human display that it seems he has a genuine shout at throwing off his “weird” reputation for good.

Mocking David Cameron’s boasts about eating super hot curries because “that shows what a tough guy he is”, the Labour leader was happy to say he’d cried recently watching the moving Bill Nighy film Pride about the plight of Welsh miners.

He said he had no problem with being called a “geek”, though failed the “geek test” given to him by host Geoff Lloyd having never played Dungeons and Dragons, spotted trains or joined a chess club.

Something could be made of the fact that Mr Miliband showed a genuine passion for a video game he played as a child, Manic Miner – but he also waxed lyrical on the virtues of baseball, cricket and snooker and took pre-recorded questions from a few of his sporting heroes, including Geoffrey Boycott.

And after chatting easily about his personal life and hobbies, Mr Miliband even managed to get in a bit about why he wants to be Prime Minister – and made it sound perfectly honourable.

He said: “I ran [to lead the party] for the same reasons I’m running for Prime Minister now, which is that I think our society is unfair – it works for the richest and doesn't work for most people.

“We’ve got to change that so that we really do put every-day, working people first.”

Speaking about all the personal criticism he has faced in the press and online, Mr Miliband said: “What has kept me going is an inner belief in what we’re doing. If I was just running for this job to get my face on the wall at Downing Street that wouldn’t be enough –that would be just a power motivation.

“My motivation is to change the country.”

Judging by the reaction on Twitter (see below), it seems people are starting to believe him.

Mr Miliband will be sandwiched between Ukip’s Nigel Farage and Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood during tonight’s debate, which begins at 8pm on ITV1.

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