Ed Miliband was clattered by a series of nasty tackles

In football parlance, The Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2 was always regarded as the equivalent of a competitive friendly.

Politicians went on there to have a useful run-out against reasonable opposition in front of a fairly appreciative crowd without fear of injuries.

But when Ed Miliband strode on to the pitch this week he was immediately clattered from all sides by a series of nasty tackles.

He limped off at half-time to receive treatment for both ears, which had been badly bruised by phrases like 'unmarried father,' 'grawling voice,' and 'child benefit for millionaires.'