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Politics: It is Ed, isn’t it?

September 26, 2010

I’ve checked the BBC website three times. I even read Nick Robinson’s blog confirming Ed Miliband had clinched the top job in the Labour Party elections. I needed to check in a number of other places too. Such is the challenge I’ve faced identifying the name of Labour’s new leader.

I know. It’s not that difficult really. Just read a news story or watch the TV. The detail’s in the voice-over or plastered across the on-screen graphics.

And yet, my reality is quite different. As long as the lucky new Labour leader remains Labour leader, I know I’ll hesitate before uttering his name. I’ll check and check again. I’ll want to make sure I don’t make the same mistake I did on Twitter earlier this afternoon when I tweeted that David Miliband had won it. A case of mistaken identity.

It reminds me of a similar problem I had distinguishing two blokes at exactly the same time during freshers week. They were inseparable friends. One had ginger hair. One had dark hair. They looked completely different. And both had thick Geordie accents. One was called Rob, the other Andrew. I couldn’t tell them apart. At University I’d rely on my pal Julie to tell me which was which. I never remembererd. And to this day I’ve still no idea which is which.

So it is with Ed (it is Ed, isn’t it?) Miliband. I get confused. Even though I sat watching the damn TV screen as Ed Miliband gave his acceptance speech, I still cant be sure whether the David Cameron lookalike now leading the Opposition is called Ed or David. It feels like the leader should be called David. He looks like a David. Surely he’s a David really, isn’t he?

You see my confusion, I’m sure.

And if I’m confused, others will be too. And I hope to God that some of those others are journalists. Journalists who in the process of writing their copy reckoned they don’t need to double check the forenames and let the text go live without passing it to the sub-editor first. Because if they do end up doing that, I’ll feel a lot better. Especially if someone makes that mistake consistently for the next four years.

The picture above is of Ed Miliband (obviously) and was published on Flickr by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. It’s used here in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons License.

  1. No one else seems to have noticed that when the announcement was made, the tv cameras cut to the wrong Milliband and for precious seconds we had a shot of David standing with has back to us, a very slow pan across the other candidates before Ed slipped into frame. I was watching with the sound off and actually couldn’t tell which Milliband had won for a moment or two.

  2. I remember in my long-ago PR career, my boss and I had the same problem remembering which of 2 new senior blokes appointed at the same time at a firm of architects we worked for was which.

    The new financial director was called (let’s say) Ernie Scorer. The new company secretary was called (let’s say) Bernie Bloom. We’d never met either of them, just announced their elevation, captioned their photos, and got confused about which was which.

    Eventually I cured us with a stupid mnemonic: Ernie Scorer keeps the scores. Stupid but it worked!

    Ed’s at the ‘ead of the Party. That’ll have to do for now. ;o)

    • An undeniably top tip. Thanks Fiona.

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