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Milifandom – Can a meme put you in power?

Milifandom – Can a meme put you in power?

Last week, a student (and self-declared founder of Milifandom) going by the Twitter handle @twcuddleston declared her undying love for Ed Miliband and much to his credit, he replied.

Since then, in a somewhat strange turn of events, thousands of teenage girls have joined the #Milifandom campaign. Much like Lady Gaga’s Monsters or the Beliebers, the Labour leader has become a strange sex icon thanks to the wonder that is social media. From this, various memes of Miliband have spread across the internet with even the Metro paying homage to the Labour leader by giving him a full page spread of him with Daniel Craig’s Casino Royal beach body. Swoon you should.


Ed as Milibond

Whilst being fairly comical, maybe this rugged sexiness is what Miliband needs for his reputation. It’s certainly better than the ghastly bacon sandwich photo.


‘That’ unfortunate bacon sandwich picture.

As we go into the final days before the general election, we are asked who to vote for and as far as personalities go, Ed still seems to lack the charisma of Cameron, Sturgeon or even Farage. The question I wish to pose is, should this matter? Do policies or personality make the leader? History has proven that personality does seemingly get you in charge, although policies determine your success.

Churchill’s personality may have saved Britain in World War Two, but prior to that, several of his financial peacetime policies crippled the economy.

Obama too has the wow factor. Despite charisma emanating from every pore of his body, Obama has failed to make a colossal impact in America. He may be loved by many outside of the States, but inside the polls have always shown a colossal ambivalence towards him. You could put Gladiator or Will Smith in charge, but if they can’t do the day to day work with realistic policies, they’re useless.

Whilst opinions may vary on who’s worthy to lead this country, it seems that many of the neutrals may be drawn towards Cameron’s stronger personality. Ed may be the best person to lead this country or not, but it won’t matter unless the country see him as having character. It’s not difficult, all Ed has to do is prove he’s got more of an ex-factor than Cameron, which can’t be difficult, I’ve owned stick insects who are more charismatic than the pair of them.

Perhaps Miliband should embrace #Milifandom and try and replicate some of the flair and style of the likes of Obama ? He needs to thrive on this cult of Ed, storm the red carpets, crash a couple of parties, drink craft beer, and be the awkward posh sex symbol this country needs.

No more fear and loathing of the Manchester United brand

Ten years ago Prince Charles hired Manchester United’s former PR advisor, Paddy Harverson. In the week that Kristina Kyriacou, known for her work with Gary Barlow and George Michael, accedes the role of royal communications secretary, one wonders whether Harverson’s former employers might need him again.

Manchester United is the sporting brand everyone loved to loathe but that strength of feeling has dissipated, replaced by a listless indifference, stretching even to pity, for a behemoth brand that has hit the buffers. And more importantly, no one seems to care.

Some say the United brand became a victim of its own success; repeated league and cup wins led to arrogance and a sense of entitlement perpetuated by a relentless manager, star players and a new generation of fans who didn’t know any different.

Manchester United are faltering on and off the pitch.

Manchester United are faltering on and off the pitch.

They would wear hatred from opposing football fans as a badge of honour, blithely singing “No one likes us, we don’t care” every week while watching another comfortable win. They would see their club voted Britain’s most hated brand, above Ryanair, Starbucks, Wonga, RBS and BP and smile, wondering if any greater compliment could be paid.

But now the Marmite taste of United’s brand has turned vanilla. No one, save die-hard rival football fans, hates them and yes, they do care; haters go with the territory for marquee brands because competitors see them as a huge threat. The alternative is irrelevance and that is the death of a brand.

During its long period of success, Manchester United used the hatred of others brilliantly as a motivation to its players and fans. The “Us against the world” philosophy was personified by Alex Ferguson, who bullied and manipulated officials, refused to speak to parts of the media and whose great success was due, in part, to the siege mentality he built around the club.

If his intention was to build animosity as a management technique, then he certainly succeeded. But that ill-feeling reached such a level that there was always going to be a problem when Ferguson handed over the reins. David Moyes has no bank of goodwill to call on, no public affection to smooth over a rocky run of results; he must build a different image for the club – and it is no quick fix that is required, but a complete restructuring. What’s more, he must do so in the face of fast receding loathing and resentment – not an easy task, by any means.

Perhaps Mr Harveson should keep his phone to hand.

Despite the media barrage Nigella’s image should recover with time

One of the biggest news stories to break last year was the divorce of Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi, and the series of events surrounding it. Growing up my mother would habitually use recipes from Nigella Lawson’s cookery books, one, in particular, was her second book, Kitchen Recipes from the Heart of the Home which is so well-thumbed and splattered with cake mix it is barely readable. I remember pouring over the glossy pages, admiring this glamorous and successful woman who made cooking seem such a desirable hobby. That’s not to say that Nigella was my ultimate idol. Yet I have always held a certain respect for Lawson, she has endurably presented such a calm and sophisticated presence to the press, certainly a figure in the public eye to admire.

Yet recent allegations have certainly gone some way to changing her public image as a domestic goddess. In one aspect I feel deeply sorry for Nigella who has dealt with circumstances in life that would depress anyone. The death of her mother and sister, and her first husband to cancer is deplorable and tragic, something nobody should have to deal with in their life. Additionally, the mistreatment she suffered from Saatchi to whom she was married for ten years, with which she described the experience as ‘intimate terrorism’. Nigella has not had a smooth path in life.

Yet admitting to drug use does strike a sour taste in my mouth. Although she claims to have used drugs a maximum of 10 times, albeit, through a very difficult period in her life, I still cannot ignore the fact that she has partaken in something that could potentially sabotage her health and send a bad message not only to the public but to her children.

Nigella's reputation will recover

Nigella’s reputation will recover

Although I cannot condone the use of drugs, I still can’t help but feel some sort of compassion towards Nigella. I do vehemently feel that the focus in the media’s headlines on her illicit drug taking is narrow and arrogantly ignorant of why the drug use was initially revealed – the Grillo sisters’ trial. The press are honing in on Nigella’s drug use as if it is her on trial instead.

During the trial, Lawson calmly admitted to her drug use, which admittedly must have taken some degree of confidence and strength. Throughout she has remained dignified despite being slammed by the papers, even though she is the one person who will stand to lose the most. The lack of courtesy toward Nigella’s personal and private life is, I suppose, hard to avoid when you are famous and essentially the public’s business.

It’s safe to say there are very few worse allegations which can be thrown at her and I believe long-term Nigella’s reputation will recover. Her new show The Taste was aired on Channel 4 last night and should help bring the focus back to what she can do in the kitchen rather than what she has confessed in the courtroom.