Nick Tyrone has written of his personal experiences of meeting and working with Ed Miliband, ones which help explain what always to me (at a much greater distance) seemed puzzling – his apparently highly limited leadership skills in the outside world yet his popularity with many Labour activists who were convinced he was brilliant.
As Nick writes:
I stood in the backstage area where everyone had gathered for tea and networking opportunities (networking opportunities being the only reason many of the people who worked on the Yes campaign did so). I walked up to Charles and said hello. The Right Honourable Mr Kennedy didn’t really know me but one of my best friends, Olly, used to work for him and so that was my entry point. Charles and I were having a warm old chat about our mutual acquaintance when Ed hovered into view, close enough to Charles to indicate that he wanted to talk to the man without ever getting quite close enough to assert himself into the conversation. Sort of like the manoeuvre an awkward adolescent boy makes when he wants to get within touching distance of a girl he fancies without putting himself in a position to be rejected… This state of affairs went on for several minutes, Ed squatting nearby with those lost lamb eyes of his…
Seeing him [for a second time, in the company of] his staff and the Labour MPs he’d known for years in attendance, I saw a different side of him. He seemed relaxed – funny even, cracking a few good one-liners spontaneously. I could see then how he’d risen through the ranks to become the leader of the Labour Party by watching him in this setting. On his home ground, he was obviously a formidable bloke. It’s just when the away games came up that things got hairy for him.