It’s one of those sombre moments that politicians have to ensure they get right. Laying the memorial wreaths for the First World War centenary commemoration. Perhaps that’s why a story about the disparity between our party leaders’ memorial wreath messages is flickering about online today with that distinctive shiver of schadenfreude unique to Twitter.
A picture was tweeted this afternoon of David Cameron and Ed Miliband’s messages side by side. The PM’s, in a sober, respectful swish of blue ink, read a personal message in his handwriting. The Labour leader’s, in contrast, was a generic explanatory message scrawled in a sharpie: “From the Leader of the Opposition”. It wasn’t even joined up.
Here’s the picture, from Channel 4 News’ Ciaran Jenkins:
— Ciaran Jenkins (@C4Ciaran) August 4, 2014
It undeniably looks bad, but the real story is not one of the Labour leader’s scruffy disrespect for the the war dead. Mark Ferguson at LabourList is reporting that Miliband was handed the wreath seconds before he had to lay it down, and he was never given a chance to write a message. It’s the explanation Labour HQ has given for the impersonal note Miliband ended up placing down, but it remains unclear why the PM was given a chance to write his beforehand.
It seems Nick Clegg was also denied the chance to write his own message. Here’s a picture of his, “From the Deputy Prime Minister”, pointed out by the Guardian‘s Jonathan Haynes:
That Cameron wreath/Miliband wreath row that is dominating Twitter, add Clegg’s and it looks a bit different (pic PA) pic.twitter.com/MDG4Zkf3ab
— Jonathan Haynes (@JonathanHaynes) August 4, 2014