Our intern Caitlin Cooper looks at Ed Miliband’s recent media difficulties, and the opposite of too much information.
With 24 hour news cycles and global connectivity we are continuously bombarded with information. So, in this culture of information overload, you could be forgiven for following the old adage, less is more. But is it? It seems that Ed Miliband has taken a vow of silence during the summer recess and, in a world where we expect rolling news coverage; he is suffering from a case of information underload.
Perhaps he thought no news would be good news, but as we’ve seen with old adages, they don’t always ring true. Especially with journalists twiddling their thumbs desperate to ensure their column inches will always be filled, as Miliband has learnt to his detriment. The media has not fallen silent as Miliband has, and the lack of a leading Labour voice during the summer months has given space for a flurry of internal criticism to appear. It began tentatively, with George Mudie complaining that Labour had a lack of direction and had not made their policies clear enough, but he didn’t mention the silence. Andy Burnham hinted at it when he said that Labour needed ‘to shout louder’, still insinuating there was a voice to be heard. But it was Graham Stringer who came right out and described the ‘deafening silence’ emanating from the Labour party leadership. The ideal opportunity, perhaps, for Miliband to reassert himself and rebut his detractors, but he remained mute.
With Miliband failing to defend himself more Labour members have spoken up, this time to back Miliband. Chuka Umunna has defended Miliband saying ‘we are talking loud’, while Ken Livingstone has rebuffed Lord Prescott’s criticism of Miliband calling him the ‘most impressive Labour leader’. Welcome though this defence may be for Miliband (although the source of the latter defence means it’s unlikely to have done him many favours), his continuing silence has allowed the disagreements within the party to grab the headlines. At a time when Miliband could have asserted himself and clarified his position, away from the pressures of Parliament, he has remained stubbornly quiet.
And if the Party is not filling the news cycle, and Miliband has still not reared his head, there is always the opportunity for the British public to have their say. It seems that while information overload may be a nuisance at times, perhaps it’s a case of better part of the system than outside it. And with Miliband dipping to his lowest approval rating in the polls one can’t help but think that his information underload has made him less Ed Miliband, more Ed Milibland.