Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
27 March 2015

Ed v David: The best quotes from last night’s TV debates

As Cameron and Miliband went not-quite-head-to-head, we spotted a few lines you might have missed that it's worth remembering.

By Stephanie Boland

Who asks the questions?

The Sky debate had barely begun when David Cameron got a telling off from an incredulous Jeremy Paxman. The PM was asked if he could live on a zero hour contract, and although the answer he (eventually) gave was no, he first had a go at redefining the terms of the debate – like blood to a shark for the Pax.

Cameron: That’s not the question, the question is–
Paxman: It’s the question I’m asking!

Later on, Miliband also got in trouble for seemingly writing his own questions. Hint: if your debating style includes voicing questions out loud, remember to stop doing that when someone else starts asking you questions.

 

The Elderly Minister?

In the audience Q&A, Cameron was asked if he’d ever considered appointing a dedicated minister to represent the elderly. His reply was empathetic, sensitive – and infuriating.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

After all, if he doesn’t want one because the rights of the old shouldn’t be the work of “only one person”, what the hell does that say about women’s minister?

 

Jeremy Paxman’s hands

Okay, it’s not strictly a “quote” – but did anyone else notice how much better Paxman’s body language is on screen? Next to him, Cameron looks like a bobble head and Miliband something from Aardman animations. He is, as Malcolm Tucker said, “still the daddy”.

Take this moment. 

Predictably, Paxman went after the Prime Minister by bringing up a few of his shadier chums: “a man who oversaw tax avoidance”, “a rich newspaper editor” and someone who recently “thumped a colleague”

Again, Cameron made an effort to shift the discussion in his favour, telling Paxman “the aspersion you’re trying to cast is, I think, completely ridiculous”.

To which Paxman need only do this:

If either Ed or David want to be PM, they should pick up a few tips.

 

Hardy Mrs. Miliband

We all knew it was coming. An audience member brought up Ed Miliband defeating his brother to become party leader, asking if he didn’t think “his brother would have done a better job?”

Lol no.

Luckily, it’s a question Miliband is used to laughing at. And when presenter Kay Burley asked about his mum’s reaction, he reassured us all she’s “a pretty hardy soul”.

 

“Hell yes!”

Is this the start of Sassy Ed Miliband? “Hell yes I’m tough enough” is the quote that will be repeated throughout the campaign. Expect to see it on internet memes, t-shirts – and on headlines if Miliband fails to win a majority. 

 

The North London Geek

Look, let’s be reasonable here. We all know a small but not insignificant part of the population looks at Miliband and remembers the spody kid whose school bag they used to kick. For all his charms, Miliband definitely has the air of that one person who’d ask if there’s any homework at the end of the lesson. One audience member told him he “sounds gloomy a lot of the time”. 

But remember how that kid would also be the one you’d nick the answers off? We say Miliband should accept “North London geek” as a compliment. And Twitter seems to agree (yes, this might say more about twitter than Miliband, we know): the phrase began trending almost immediately, proving that once you grow up, everyone prefers a geek to a bully.

Topics in this article :