All corners of the media have been beating the 'Ed Miliband is a weak leader' drum for the past few weeks, the Guardian in particular. Just a lazy, late summer copy filling exercise or evidence of a deeper ideological agenda? Maybe a bit of both.
What does Ed Miliband have to do to prove that he's a 'strong leader'? Unleash a guttural roar during PMQs, tearing his suit in half, beating his chest while he chants out all those who have crossed him and shall be torn to shreds by army of genetically modified party whips? Much of the media acts like even this wouldn't be enough.
When Cameron is incapable of controlling his Eurosceptic backbenchers does he get called a 'weak leader'? Well, sometimes, by the Telegraph, but not like Miliband does. A little bit of dissent within the Labour party and everyone says that Miliband is a simpering little weakling without the spine for politics. Massive, constant dissent within the Tory party and - what? - what do we hear? Not a peep. Why the double standard?
It's all because Cameron is precisely the kind of smarmy, reptilian leader that we expect from our political class. It's not that he's 'strong' as such; it's that he embodies the political stereotype and anyone who doesn't fit into that narrow little box isn't seen as being leader material.
I'm not a huge Ed Miliband fan but the way he gets treated is infuriating. It's as though all the media just wants Blair back - although I suppose that'd give tired hacks something to write about.