Sunday, February 25, 2007

Miliband's Youthful Looks

David Miliband is 41. He's a year older than Cameron but looks a good decade younger. This is probably down to clean living on Miliband's part, but it is also the reason he shouldn't be tempted to go for the Labour leadership now.

When Miliband's name is mentioned, people write things like "too young" and "callow", and even "boy". This is because the public thinks he's in his early 30's or even late 20's and they believe this is too young to be Prime Minister.

In a head-to-head with Cameron, the voters will assume that Cameron is the more experienced, even though Miliband is not just older but has cabinet minister experience.

Miliband should wait 6-7 years till he looks at least 40. By then the cabinet experience gap with Cameron will have grown (assuming Cameron stays on as leader of the opposition even if defeated at the next election). Plus Cameron will be fat and bald by then (he's thinning on top already) and his resemblance to Henry VIII will be even more pronounced. Given how much Tudor history Brits consume, they won't take kindly to the old monster reappearing on their TV screens and Miliband will romp home!


Anonymous said...

Well, I don't think he's going to run but your argument is obviously nonsense. If Miliband won he'd be Prime Minister and the argument at the next election about who had the experience to do the job would obviously weight against the coke sniffing, stag hunting toff and the boy who went to the local comp.

Unknown said...

Perhaps he should do something with his hair, or experiment with glasses, before putting his career on hold for 6-7 years? :-)

snowflake5 said...

Anonymous - my worry is that the public make instant judgements on looks (see Malcolm Gladwell's book "Blink"), and all the evidence is that they have judged miliband as "too young", even though he's older than Cameron and has more experience of government.

It would be very hard to counter it, even if he did do something with his hair and wore glasses as B4L suggests. As you say, if he won the leadership, he'd be PM, but would be very vulnerable if something went wrong and "inexperienced" was laid at him. Don't forget becoming PM is not like becoming Leader of the Opposition - he'd have to take responsibility for the whole govt, two wars and anything that world and domestic events throw at him.

He'd be better off waiting till the effects of louche living tell on Cameron, who will end up looking like Henry VIII (see the link in the main piece).

I'd like to make it clear I'm a Miliband fan and think he's a good advertisement for clean living.

Anonymous said...

Miliband did used to wear glasses when he was Head of the Policy Unit at Number 10 and junior Education Minister. I think one of his nicknames was 'Harry Potter', Alastair Campbell also used to call him 'Brains' after the character in Thunderbirds when they worked in Number 10.

If the opinion polls continue in the vain of last week's ICM poll and show that Brown is a disadvantage to Labour then Miliband will come under pressure to run. I personally agree with much of Frank Field's analysis of Gordon Brown. What does Miliband have to lose in not running? If he loses to Brown he will still remain in the Cabinet, if he pushes Brown close he will probably be made Chancellor.

If Miliband does not stand against Brown. Who do people think should? Clarke or Straw perhaps?

JRD168 said...

He has tried the moustache look:

Whatever he is doing seems to work for someone!

snowflake5 said...

jrd168 - David Miliband does have a very charming smile - it's sort of toothy and boyish at the same time.

I suppose if he became leader we could get round the youthful looks by playing it as Harry Potter versus Lord Voldemort.

(Have you noticed how the bad characters in JK Rowling's books are Tory-like? The Dursleys are clearly Daily-Mail reading Tories. The Malfoys are Tory aristocrats who sneer at people with less exalted blood in the George Osborne manner. Voldemort himself is obsessed with his descent from Slytherin and christens himself "Lord" - I bet he'd have joined Bullingdon! ;-))