Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Jesse Armstrong: "The nation is growing to see Miliband as a likable oddball"

Miliband.jpg
4.jpg
1

Jesse Armstrong knows a thing or two about British politics. Or at least the pratfalls associated with it. As a writer of The Thick Of It, he's quicker than most at appreciating the sillier side of stuffy election trails. Here he tells ShortList how it's looked to him so far...

It’s been a bit of a non-election so far – the big turning point was David Cameron not showing up at the challengers’ debate. That was a night he could have set the tone, but most people thought, “Where’s the prime minister?” Since then it’s felt like he doesn't especially want to win. He’s come across like he’s campaigning for the Party of Mild Boredom. Or the PTA. I imagine he’s terrified of winning – what will happen with Europe and the sceptics in his party? He’ll have a tough time if he wins.

I think people have grown to like Ed Miliband. He’s had a tough job with the right-wing press, as Labour leaders always do. I feel like a spin doctor now, but the nation’s growing to see Miliband as a likable oddball, rather than a goofy geek they weren’t warming to. When people have seen him over an extended period of time in debates, they've thought, “He’s not as bad as I expected."

If you compare him to Gordon Brown, Miliband doesn’t have that baggage – neither the statesmanlike “I saved the world” aura, nor Brown’s tragic air where, by the end, you just felt sorry for him. He hasn't had a Gillian Duffy moment, either – Labour is running tight campaigns with little contact with the public. In 1992, John Major stood on his soapbox, which turned out well, but it’s risky – I’m not sure it’s good if they meet ‘real people,’ especially if they end up speaking about them in disparaging terms afterwards.

The Peep Show Creator's new book Love, Sex & Other Foreign Policy Goals is out now 

Check out the rest of Shortlist Magazine's General Election special below

Peter Hitchens

Owen Jones

Will Self

Michael Deacon

Alastair Campbell

Mark Gatiss

Simon Jenkins

Iain Dale

Related

mark-and-jez-peep-show.jpg

Peep Show Returning for Ninth & Final Series Next Year

election.jpg

What happens if no one wins the election?

election4.jpg

Why Michael Deacon isn't impressed with Labour

election1.jpg

The Conservatives and Labour are effectively zombies

Irvine Welsh.jpg

Irvine Welsh: "Alex Salmond asked me to join the SNP"

cameron-2.jpg

Has Cameron already lost the general election?

Comments

More

Barton makes valid points, but that doesn’t mean his ban is wrong

The situation is more nuanced than some claim

by Tom Victor
26 Apr 2017

John Boyega photobombing hardcore Star Wars fans is essential viewing

The man knows to make an entrance

by Matt Tate
26 Apr 2017

Heath Ledger's sister talks about her brother in tender new interview

Kate Ledger gently refutes claims that his role as the joker led to his fatal overdose

by Tom Mendelsohn
26 Apr 2017

Jeff Goldblum set up a free food giveaway for the sake of a 6/10 pun

It's all in the delivery

by Tom Victor
26 Apr 2017

Fake Radiohead cover of 'Gasolina' is the best thing on the internet

It's as real as you want it to be

by Matt Tate
26 Apr 2017

Great news alert: Jeff Goldblum is returning to the Jurassic Park fran

Ian Malcolm is back back back

by Gary Ogden
26 Apr 2017

Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs has a release date and new poster

Just look at the names on that poster

by Tom Victor
26 Apr 2017

Watch Chris Pratt confess his love for a bacon sandwich

Haven't we all at one point?

by Matt Tate
25 Apr 2017

A point-by-point breakdown of the best worst moment in TV history

So bad it's good, but also really, really bad

by Tom Victor
25 Apr 2017

How will the hot young Hollywood heartthrobs look as old men?

We used FaceApp to tell us if the likes of Styles, Gosling, and Hemsworth will get better with age

by Sam Diss
25 Apr 2017