At last, in the dustbowl of dry dullness which has been election coverage so far, a glimmer of life, positivity and fun – Milifandom. This wonderful phenomenon has been sparked by the yearnings of teenage girls who have taken poor, belittled Ed Miliband to their collective bosoms, to love and to cherish, loudly, on the internet.
It reminds me of the time at school when someone ran away with the only male teacher we had. He was the physics teacher and, as if this wasn’t off-putting enough, he was also unattractive and ancient (probably at least 25). I decided that the school governors didn’t trust us enough to allow any male teachers on the premises who were young or good looking, and I also was pretty sure that this wouldn’t make the physics teacher safe against the oceans of oestrogen present in any girls’ school. Sure enough, eventually a sixth former carried him off. The same thing happened at university, where one of our professors scuttled away with a final year student. In both cases, thank goodness, the girls involved (though in my eyes deluded) were over the ages of consent, even if there was a breach of all kinds of professional standards involved.
The trouble is that girls, being lovely, feel a great onrush of pity and love towards creatures being ill-used and mistreated. If an ugly science teacher will do it, then how much more alluring is a bullied politician? Best of all, with the politician, there is no danger of the crush becoming real. Miliband, though he seems as fragile as Bambi after the hunter’s shot does away with his mummy, is actually married, has children and is a smart chap. He is not a sad loner who is being attacked – or if he is, that’s not the whole story.
Milifandom is a genuine, and lovely, outpouring of warmth – a total contrast to everything we have seen so far in the election. These girls can’t even vote yet, but already they may have the power to turn the election around. How wonderful and how amazing. The sudden eruption of the Cameronettes, by contrast, is quite obviously a put-up job crafted in a back room at Tory HQ by a disgruntled 40-something man – quite revolting.
Miliband, for years the unfair butt of media scorn, is having his very own Cinderella moment. You can’t help but love that, and smile, too, at the army of Princess Charmings who may well make his dreams come true.