A few days old but not to be missed. We’ve been building to this moment since the dawn of the media age, when the fine art of the talking point began to take shape as a risk strategy during recorded interviews. First radio, then the Kennedy/Nixon debates on TV, and onward to 24/7 cable news — it’s all a straight line of progress that ends with the clip you’re about to see. And the man on the other side of the mic seems to have known he was watching something historic as it was happening:
As it turned out, the first take was drowned out by a passing siren on the Embankment, but seemed like a thoughtful and precise position for a Labour leader to take. Clear in his condemnation, hopeful of a negotiated settlement. Not partisan, but engaged. Detached, but not aloof.
The second time it seemed like a less original statement. The strikes are wrong… the rhetoric has gone too far… parents across the country…But then, I’d heard it before and it was useful to have a clean version, unspoiled by a siren.
The third time… the third time I was struggling a little bit. I’d asked him how his opposition to the strikes fitted with his position as leader of the Labour movement. I thought it was quite a clever question. Silly me. The strikes were wrong at a time when negotiations were still underway. The government had acted recklessly. It was time for rhetoric to be set aside…
I’m not sure what I asked next. Frankly I was in danger of losing it. On my own, with the eyes of Ed Miliband and his three handlers boring into me but apparently oblivious of my presence, I was getting twinges of what I can only describe as existential doubt.
Only later did he realize the question he should have asked to end this Twilight Zone episode of an interview, but I won’t spoil the surprise. Watch the clip and then follow the link above to see. A fun fact about Ed Miliband to bear in mind as you watch: At just 41 years old, he’s already the leader of Britain’s Labour party, which means there’s an exceedingly good chance that he’ll be prime minister some day. What could go wrong?