For the perusal and consumption of NewsBiscuit writers, here's the transcript of my interview with not-Ed Miliband (which I originally posted over at http://www.threelinewhippet.com ):
Three Line Whippet has been granted unprecedented access to the private life of Ed Miliband, Labour Party leader and Doncaster’s premier automaton. I met him in his constituency home on a day when teachers’ strikes dominated the news agenda (an issue which I had resolved to avoid after Ed’s last interviewer had to be slapped out of a nine-hour coma).
After an awkward introduction involving the malfunction and eventual breakdown of his handshaking arm, Ed led me through the house and onto the garden terrace. He gestured with his still-sparking right hand for me to take a seat.
“It was a nightmare getting up that hill on my bike!” I commented, opening the conversation.
“Did you say strike?” replied Ed, with a kind of nasal excitement.
He looked disappointed. There was an awkward silence. We continued, looking intently down at the crazy paving, until I offered him a cigarette.
It was only a split-second before I realised my fatal error, but Miliband’s eyes had already gained a metallic glint. There was nothing I could do.
“These strikes are wrong at a time when negotiations are still going on. But parents and the public have been let down by both sides, because the government has acted in a reckless and provocative manner. After today’s disruption, I urge both sides to put aside the rhetoric, get round the negotiating table, and stop it happening again.”
I woke up, aware only of a faint whirring sound coming from somewhere behind Ed’s left ear. I made no response, keen not to give him any encouragement to expand further on the subject. Time to move on, I thought.
“So what have you been doing this week?” I asked plaintively.
“This week I have been pressing the message that these strikes are wrong at a time when negotiations are still going on. But parents and the public have been let down by both sides, because the government has acted in a reckless and provocative manner. After today’s disruption…”
I believe that he pontificated on this vein for some time, but I became distracted by the sudden urge to knaw at my fist. After using a passing cat to soak up the blood from my now ragged stump of a writing hand, I began again on a different tack:
“How do you relax in the evenings?”
“ I like to think over the day’s pertinent issues, particularly how these current strikes are wrong at a time when negotiations are still going on. But parents and the public have been let down by…”
I was once more diverted, this time by the growing realisation that the cat had now stopped breathing. I determined to grip it less hard in future.
“Congratulations on your recent marriage,” I interjected desperately. “How is this new life treating you both?”
“I urge both sides to put aside their rhetoric and stop it happening again.”
Ed’s answer seemed familiar and confused, but I was so relieved to finally escape his extended monologues about the teachers’ strikes that I ploughed on regardless.
“And how did you ‘pop the question’?”
“I said to her, ‘after last night’s disruption both sides must get round the negotiating table in a reckless and provocative manner.’”
In a futile attempt to salvage my pay packet, I turned to Miliband’s upbringing. I asked him whether he thought his family circumstances had made him the man he is today.
“My father, Dead Miliband, instilled in us an unwavering commitment to diplomatic resolution. He would have said that these current strikes are wrong at a time when…”
I had no wish to continue this painful interview. Briefly I calculated the consequences that would ensue if the adjacent pot of peonies were given an airborne trajectory. Encouraged by this beautiful daydream, I approached Miliband’s problem directly.
“Thousands of Facebook users have ‘liked’ an embarrassing video of your robotic interview with the BBC earlier today. Does this raise questions about your ability to communicate effectively?”
“These ‘likes’ are inappropriate at a time when-”
Ed’s answer was cut short by the concurrent outbreak of a fire between his legs. Normally I would diagnose the cause as last night’s dodgy curry, but in this instance I deemed that the more fitting explanation had something to do with the cigarette lighter I had just thrown at him. He blinked frantically, and as I made my swift getaway I’m sure he shouted strictly-rehearsed expletives to the effect that I had acted in a reckless and provocative manner…