The Human Factor: Why Likeable Politicians Are Still Important

Kirstie Sutherland /
Apr 14, 2017 / Opinion

Back in 2015, the UK fell in love with Ed Miliband, but not enough to elect him Prime Minister. Look at the mess we’re in now. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

He may well have lost one of the biggest popularity contests in the country, but our Ed seems to have come out on the other side with his head held high, complete with a new ‘anything goes’ attitude and hilarious Twitter persona to boot. During the general election, he amassed a legion of younger fans in the form of the #milifandom for his down-to-earth nature, awkward facial expressions and THAT bacon sandwich photo, to name but a few. Hell, the man became a social media sensation, with vine after vine being shared for months on end, and recently he has made a comeback and become one of 2017’s favourite social media personalities.

His tweets have been going as viral as James Blunt’s, who is arguably one of the funniest personalities on social media himself, commenting on everything from Brexit and George Osborne (“Breaking: I will shortly be announced as editor of Heat magazine…”), to the Daily Mail’s ‘Legs-it’ headline (“The 1950s called and asked for their headline back”).

So why is it we’re seeing a more human side to the former Labour leader? The answer is simple really: he has absolutely nothing left to lose. He already tried and failed to lead one of the most popular political parties to victory two years ago, only to lose to the Conservatives, the party to blame for Brexit (thanks for that one, David Cameron). He has already fallen at the biggest hurdle and experienced the most public form of humiliation possible, so tweeting a bit more honestly, being frank and honest in interviews about his feelings post-defeat and even appearing on Channel 4’s The Last Leg performing ‘Take on Me’ by a-Ha and recreating that infamous bacon sandwich photo, essentially making a fool of himself, are all things he can now do with far more ease. And we love him all the more for it.

Yes, it’s true: we need some hard-hitting, strong political forces to help us through Brexit. However, we also need politicians like Ed Miliband, someone with whom people can relate to, both laugh at and with, and feel that they are listening to an actual human being rather than a Brexit-loving robot. I’d say now he is finally tough enough for the British public, it’s just a shame it happened a little too late.

Words by Kirstie Sutherland

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