And the British, cussed contrary people that they are, may be warming to that.
When his notes for the leaders' debate were found, his reminder that 'I am happy warrior' hit exactly the sort of note that appeals. Probably, the media thought they would get another cheap laugh at his expense - as if they haven't had enough already - but it doesn't seem to have come off like that. Damn it all, it made him seem human. We - the little people - could recognise a little bit of ourselves in those four words. And in contrast to Cameron's aloofness and the down right nastiness emanating from the Tories, it seems to be the sort of approach that is likely to win people over rather than switch them off.
The conventional wisdom - described by Simon Lusk in the opening pages of Dirty Politic - is that dirty campaigns favour the right because it alienates the floating voters and reduces participation to the hard core tribalists and the self-interested. Has Milliband - presumably with out intending to - found the long sought antidote? Just be nice. And a bit daffy.
(Of course, what will nbow happen is that his handlers will try to get him to do this all the time, smothering the campaign with a sort of synthetic nice daffiness that ill be as false as Tony Blair's charm, John Redwood's sense of humour and Nigel Farage's blokeish schtick. And then Labour will tank, because if there is one thing less likely to succeed that a campaigning running on nice daffiness it is a campaign running on synthetic nice daffiness. The worst thing that can happen is that Milliband starts referring to himself as the Happy Warrior. He needs to do what he has been doing for the last two weeks - talking about ideas, talking about policy, being vaguely too interested in the minutae of politics but obviously having his heart in the right place, and being apparently impervious to the brickbats and abuse directed at him by the appalling right wing press.)
- TNS - Con 30%(-3), Lab 33%(+1), LDem 8%(nc), UKIP 19%(+3), Grn 4%(-1)
- Panelbase - Con 31%(-2), Lab 37%(+4), LDem 8%(+1), UKIP 16%(-1), Grn 4%(-1)
- Survation - Con 31%(-1), Lab 35%(+2), LDem 9%(nc), UKIP 15%(-3), Grn 4%(+2)
It seems the people like The Happy Warrior.
UPDATE - unconfirmed polls from ComRes andYouGov are a bit less exciting from a Labour point of view, but may well be a cause for relief among Conservative campaign managers:
- COMRES - Con 34 (-2), Lab 33, (+1) LDem 12 (+3), UKIP 12 (=), Grn 4 (-1)
- YouGov - Con 35 (+1), Lab 34 (-1), LDem 8 (=), UKIP 12 (-1), Grn 4 (-1)