The leader of a major political party cannot be expected to have time to watch too much television. Nonetheless it was a tad unfortunate, when visiting Bradford on Saturday, that Ed Miliband had not heard of Make Bradford British. This was the much criticised reality TV experiment that stoked racial tensions in the West Yorkshire city by shoving Bradfordians of different colours and creeds together earlier this year.
It wouldn't have mattered had one of the first guests he met on his mission to woo Bradford not been Sabbiyah Pervez, a young Muslim mother sent by Channel 4 to pull pints in a local pub and then filmed being racially abused by the customers.
"I was on Make Bradford British," said the petite 23-year-old by way of introduction to the Labour leader. "Great!" said Miliband, beaming at her camouflage print headscarf and exquisitely made-up face. "Tell me about the scheme!" Pervez paused. "Didn't you watch it?" Miliband cocked his head to one side: this clearly had not been in his briefing pack. Pervez helped him out: "It was a TV programme."