He’s been compared to Wallace & Gromit, labelled a “geek” and mocked for having a nose job to improve his leadership credentials. So who is the real Ed Miliband? Grazia sent Janice Turner to spend two days talking feminism, marriage and politics with the Labour leader and you can see the full results in the latest issue, out today. For now, here are the highlights...
Ed on the public mood towards him
He reflects that it has changed dramatically in the last year. Whilst the press tends to focus on his geeky looks, in the country at large “people have got to know me a bit,” he says. “They’ve taken a while to decide: does this guy mean it, is he on our side?”
Ed on his wife Justine Thornton
“We talk about politics a lot, because she’s interested in that. But actually I really like talking to her about her cases, the difficult things she’s grappling with.”
Ed on Justine feeling most affinity with Miriam González Durántez – aka Mrs Nick Clegg
“Miriam was asked why she wasn’t out campaigning with Nick,” says Ed, “and she said [he adopts a terrible Spanish accent], ‘Because I’m too busy.’ Justine said she admired that. First and foremost she is a mum and then she’s a professional woman. The third thing is she’s my wife.”
Ed on whether he'll be buying Justine perfume, underwear or a good book for Christmas
Oh GOD! None of the above. I bought her a fantastic Gaggia coffee machine for her birthday. She loves it. She said it was a great present.
Ed on family life
“The biggest frustration about my job is not seeing Daniel, Sam and Justine as much as I would want,” he says. The Milibands don’t do date nights: the little time they spend together is whilst catching up with The Killing on their sofa.
Ed on the government’s economic policies of severe cuts and austerity
“I’m not promising that it’s going to be easy,” he says. “Yes, it’s tough. But in 1945, people didn’t say, ‘I’m sorry, we’ve just had the war, there’s really not anything we can do, it’s basically going to be 20 years of everything being grim and that’s just the way it is.’ They said, ‘Let’s build the National Health Service! Let’s have homes fit for heroes!’ I think this government is too pessimistic about what we can achieve.”
Ed on standing against brother David for the Labour leadership
“It was tough at the time particularly because it was such a close result, but both of us have got over it. David is very supportive of me, we talk a lot, he’s an asset to our party and our relationship is good.”
Ed on his priorities as Prime Minister
“Tax the bankers’ bonuses and use the money to put young people back to work. That has got to be right for the country.” Labour would continue relief of stamp duty for first-time buyers and with the proceeds from the sale of the 4G Spectrum build 100,000 affordable homes.
Ed on being proud to be a geek
“Proud? I’m not sure. Sort of accepting. Look, one thing is, you don’t try and pretend to be something you’re not.”
Ed on the possibility of walking through the doors of Number Ten after the 2015 election
“One of the things Justine often says is, ‘Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.’ I think that’s totally right. Let’s think about what we could do when we are in power, but don’t start measuring for curtains. That’s not my style. Take each step as it comes. It’s not about having your photo on the wall, it’s about changing the country.”
Ed on Downton or Strictly
I don’t really watch Downton. But I would probably choose it over Strictly.
For the full report, pick up the new issue of Grazia, out today!