SHAUN CONNOLLY: Why Ed’s campaign to lead Britain was so hamfisted

After being ridiculed for so long as the missing triplet from Wallace and Gromit, Mr Miliband suddenly found himself attractive, as the ‘Milifan’ craze swept social media.

AN austerity-loving Tory who defied the polls and came back to win big — how Enda Kenny must be hoping he can emulate David Cameron, his political soul mate in Downing Street, as the Irish election looms. So here are some things that stood out from the British campaign.

Dave Won, But He’s Still Toast

Cameron lost authority by announcing he would quit during the new parliament, stating: “Terms are like Shredded Wheat. Two are wonderful, three might just be too many.”

Asked if he was bowing to the old political adage that all British prime ministers go mad in office if they cling on too long, he mused: “I’m not saying all prime ministers necessarily, definitely go mad, or even go mad at the same rate.”

Tories Took The Low Road

The SNP were portrayed by the Conservatives as little better than the savage, wildling hordes from Game Of Thrones, set to sweep down from the North and hold Ed Miliband hostage in Downing Street.

Boris Johnson dubbed the prospect “Jockopolis Now”, before painting a lurid image of how the SNP would crush Miliband: “There’s Alex Salmond, with his feet on the desk in Ed Miliband’s office, holding his glass out for more champagne! Pink champagne! Paid for by the English taxpayer!”

The Tyranny Of Bacon

One image came to sum-up Ed Miliband’s unfitness to be prime minister in Tory eyes: the Labour leader looking like Mr Bean, having some sort of muscle spasm incident while attempting to eat a bacon sandwich.

The Tory press re-ran the picture endlessly, and David Cameron was so scared of being caught out in the same way that, when given a hot dog at a barbecue, he actually ate it with a knife and fork.

Children Say The (Un)funniest Things

Labour’s education spokesman, Tristram Hunt, was visibly taken aback when he asked an 11-year-old school pupil for whom he would vote and was told UKIP. Hunt pressed the boy as to why, to be told: “To get all the foreigners out”.

Red Ed Became Take Me To Bed Ed (For Some)

After being ridiculed for so long as the missing triplet from Wallace and Gromit, Mr Miliband suddenly found himself attractive, as the “Milifan” craze swept social media, with young women posting about how dreamy the potential PM was. Getting off the campaign bus in Cheshire, Ed was mobbed by a hen party, with one tweeting: “The stripper has arrived!”

And Mr Milband’s ex-loves were paraded through the newspapers, with former BBC economics editor, Stephanie Flanders, tweeting: “We ‘dated’ fleetingly in 2004. Very costly few weeks it turns out.”

Miliband apologised for the spotlight being thrown on his past paramours, but one headline, declaring “Ed — I Feel Sorry For The Women Who Went Out With Me”, could be taken a number of ways.

Useless And Ruthless

The Tories attempted to portray the Labour leader simultaneously as a do-nothing ditherer and also a power-mad megalomaniac, who would clamber over members of his own family in order to get to Downing Street.

It was put most brutally by London Mayor, Boris Johnson, who accused Miliband of having stabbed his brother, David, “in the back” when he stood against him for the Labour leadership. Johnson rubbed the point home on live TV, while sitting next to Ed, stating: “He would do more damage to this country than he did to his brother.”

Farrage Resigns (Except He Doesn’t)

From the man who would single-handedly make Britain great again to a golf club version of Little Britain’s Vicky Pollard, it was a roller-coaster election for the UKIP leader.

After repeatedly insisting he would quit as party leader if he failed to get elected, instead Nigel Farrage offered a “Yeah, but no, but yeah,” announcement that he was taking the summer off, but might stand for the leadership again in September, which, once again, underlined the feeling that UKIP is little more than a one-man band.

Cameron Often Sounded Weird

After coming under heavy criticism for appearing bored at the start of the campaign, Mr Cameron boomed he was “pumped-up”, declaring: “If I’m getting lively, it’s because I feel bloody lively!” He let his mask slip when he was on the back foot, by telling supporters: “This is a real career-defining... country-defining election that we face now.”

And he showed his phoniness when he said he was a West Ham supporter, despite always previously claiming to be a West Brom one.

He blamed the mistake on a “brain fade”, but what true footie fan forgets which team they back?

But Ed Sounded Weirder

Difficult to pinpoint Mr Miliband’s most cringey, nerd-tastic moment. Was it when the text term YOLO — ‘you only live once’ — had to be explained to him, and he replied: “Wow! I’ll use it from now on!”

Was it when asked if he was up to being prime minister, he exclaimed: “Hell, yes! I’m ready!” Or was it when he left his briefing notes in the TV debate dressing room to reveal to the world that he planned to release his inner “happy warrior”?

Avoid Getting Stoned

One of the strangest moments of the campaign was when Mr Miliband unveiled an ugly, eight-foot slab of limestone with six largely empty-sounding promises chiselled into it.

Even the writers of satirical classic, The Thick Of It, said they could never have come-up with a plot line so ludicrous and Twitter exploded, with one wag dubbing it “the heaviest suicide note in history”.

The incident then descended to new levels of farce, when one of Miliband’s closest aides admitted the pledges were not carved in stone after all, stating: “I don’t think anyone is suggesting that the fact that he’s carved them into stone means that he is absolutely not going to break them, or anything like that.”

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