Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Big Brother Miliband returns to back benches

So, David Miliband has taken the long walk from the limelight to the back benches apparently in the hope that his little brother Ed can be left to lead the Labour Party in peace (or into pieces).

I can see that he's already spent three years as the smoking gun in one cabinet, with the tiniest suggestion of rebellion leading to the entire political press pack camping on his doorstep. More of the same on that front, especially given the family angle, would be pretty agonising. We saw what happened when he snapped at Harriet Harman for clapping Ed yesterday. He knows every raised eye row or wry smile would have Nick Robinson in a tizz.

Good luck to him. David's retreat from frontline politics will take some of the heat but I suspect that every time Ed falters, or gets up the nose of one of Labour's factions, there will be speculation about his leadership and whether his big brother could take over if he were forced out.

I suspect David has back benched himself for the duration of this Parliament because any attempt to re-join would be seen as a challenge.

I wonder if things would be the same, and Ed would have quit the Shadow Cabinet, if David had won. I suspect not. He was only the front runner after the ballot closed and he wasn't that well known. I reckon he could have stayed in relative anonymity in David's Shadow Cabinet.

David is now going to spend time with his family, saying that these last few years have been tough for him & his sons. Of course if he'd won, it would have been just as tough for them. I really don't like it when politicians use their kids in that way.

David will now have time to reflect on his actions over the past few years. I suspect he will regret not challenging Gordon Brown, but I doubt he could have snatched victory in May as people were sick of Labour, whoever led them.

He did mention in his statement that he wants to develop the community action programme that had been a major part of his leadership campaign. I just hope he gets rid of the control freaky house party instruction manual.

David's decision, of course, highlights the fairly massive divisions in the Labour Party and emphasises how hard a job Ed will have to keep everybody in the same library, let alone the same page.

His time as leader is not going to be easy. No wonder he looked so miserable when he won.

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