Down the pub with the Labour leadership contenders

On Monday the Mirror’s James Lyons had a brilliant interview with the leadership candidates. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s here. If you are a Labour member, please, please read it before you vote.

We inferred from the attempts at ridiculous clever answers to almost every question that this was a set of questions emailed to the candidates rather than done on the spot. We asked, and it was a mix.  See the David Miliband tattoo callback, which only works if you know what the next question is going to be. Very clever. Not very funny.

The answers are absolute gold. And one set of them really stood out. The candidates were asked:

“Which four people, real or fictional, would you most like to go down the pub with?”

This is the Mirror’s more socialist version of the ultimate dinner party question: “which 6 people dead or alive would you have at your dinner party?”

We’ve all heard the standard answers: Oscar Wilde, Nelson Mandela, Einstein, Beethoven, Elvis, Pele, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, JFK, Jacko, Martin Luther King, Henry VIII, Stephen Fry, Winston Churchill, Muhammad Ali, Bobby Davro.

So who did our prospective party leaders come up with?

(Don’t forget, this is a hypothetical, fantasy, dream scenario. And not just limited to the usual dead or alive. It includes fictional characters too. The possibilities are endless. And if at any stage you think, “come on, be fair, that was a sweet answer”, imagine yourself actually saying it in a real conversation with your own friends.)

First up was Burnham:

Dixie Dean, Nye Bevan, Tony Soprano and Cheryl Cole.

Well done Andy. He read the question. Got the premise. Didn’t exactly run with it, but still. Legendary Everton player, Labour hero, fictional gangster and the nation’s sweetheart. Credible. Honest. Not very exciting. Encapsulates the campaign.

Next up was David Miliband:

Four of my friends to relax and have fun.

Sorry? What was that, David? I didn’t say who are you taking to the pub tomorrow. I said who, out of everyone in the world, ever – and not just the real world, but books, and films and even songs – would you like to spend one fantasy evening with. Four of your friends. Four of your friends?

It’s as though his campaign team has listened to all the talk about “wonkishness”and the lack of a “human side” and thought “brilliant this’ll make him look human”.

Because David is human, you know. He goes to the pub with his friends. He doesn’t just read books. He goes to the pub with his friends. The real friends that he has really got. Not just with famous and dead people like Mozart and Bill Clinton and Jesus. But with ordinary people like you and me. Who he goes to the pub with. And as well as a few pints, they have fun. Serious amounts of fun. At the pub. All the friends. Jesus.

Next up was Diane Abbott. Bear in mind that her answer to a previous question about being a fly on the wall was to be on the wall of a room containing Denzel Washington.

The panellists on BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time because I’d be able to ask them everything I’ve ever wanted to know about my home garden

We all love a bit of gardening, Diane, but really? Anyone you want. Literally anyone. What happened to poor old Denzel? What about your political hero? How about President Bartlett from your favourite TV show? What about Ghandi, maybe? Or Lenin? Or God? No? Sticking with the Radio 4 gardening team. Brilliant.

Next up was Ed Miliband. Could the younger brother out-cool the elder yet again. Yes. Well almost.

Rachel Weisz, Bobby Kennedy, Alex Higgins and my brother.

It was all going so well. Rachel Weisz – should work. Bobby Kennedy – obvious but incontrovertible. Alex Higgins. Alex Higgins? That’s more like it. Suprising. Quirky. Great shout. This is what we want, something leftfield. The kind of answer that makes you kick yourself in the pub, wishing they were on your short list. So who is going to complete your quartet, Ed? We’re waiting for the coup de théâtre. Gagging for it. Come on, Ed.

Your brother? Sorry did we hear that right? Your bloody brother? You’ve just done 50 hustings together, mostly evening dos. Been for a pint after any of them? No? But he makes it in to your fantasy four? Ok Ed, we believe you’re still bezzie mates after all.

Last up was Ed Balls.

Elvis, Holly Golightly, Peter Kay, Yvette.

Bang, straight from the start. Elvis, whammo. Not original, by any means, but utterly classic. He’d definitely get the crisps in and would clean up in the karaoke. Next: Holly Golightly. Fictional. Well done. Fictional high class call girl, in fact. Excellent. Now you’re up and running. And then: Peter Kay? Peter Kay? Surely not Ed. Really? I mean the lamb bhuna thing was pretty funny, and ‘ave it worked first watch. Fair enough, get a comic in there for the laughs, but you can choose any funny man from history. You can have John Cleese, Eric Morecombe, Bob Hope, Ronnie Barker. What, we’re being comedy snobs? Maybe. But Peter Kay? Have a word with yourself, mate.

Ed, you’ve got one chance left to redeem yourself. One chance.

The wife?

That does it. I’m going home.

Although it could have been worse. At least none of them answered the question “What is your favourite film?” with “Anything with Robert Pattinson”. R-Patz? R-Patz?

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2 Responses to “Down the pub with the Labour leadership contenders”

  1. Nathan says:

    It seems a little rich being a snob about Peter Kay and then listing “John Cleese, Eric Morecombe, Bob Hope and Ronnie Barker” as comedians of a higher calibre. None of them are exactly high end.

  2. AmberStar says:

    Hilariously funny; especially when the Miliband Brothers are trying to be clever or cool. 😎

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