Edward Pearce · Exit David

David Miliband, he of the ‘sad eyes’ after ‘betrayal’, has departed the front bench. He remains in the Commons, but on inactive service and as what? Brooding presence, focus of retribution to the betraying brother? Unencumbered by duty, he can now expect devotion from the Conservative press and offers of lavish employment. Compare him with Denis Healey, who spent six years as defence secretary and five as chancellor before being passed over for Michael Foot – nice man, wrong choice – in 1980. Yet he accepted the deputy leadership of his defeated party and after 1983 put in a further four years on the backbenches. Miliband is less like Healey, more like that limp, overpraised and fainéant rightwing leader of a radical party, Archibald Philip Primrose, Earl of Rosebery, of whom it was said: ‘He sought the palm without the dust.’


  • 2 October 2010 at 11:13am
    ober says:
    I don't see what else he could have done. If he'd stayed in the Shadow Cabinet, what job could he have been given? If he stayed as Shadow Foreign Sec, that would have made a blatant mockery of EM's claim (however dubious) to be drawing a line under Iraq. If he went to the Treasury, it would inflame what is already a very difficult situation for EM with Balls. Any other job would have amounted to a demotion, and what hay the press would have made with that... So, though I have no time for DM, it seems a bit simplistic to say that he has just flounced out in a fit of pique. What would you have had him do?

    • 2 October 2010 at 4:43pm
      A.J.P. Crown says: @ ober
      Join holy orders.

    • 4 October 2010 at 1:04pm
      pinhut says: @ A.J.P. Crown
      He is not too young. Now his political ambitions are sidelined, he could enlist and fight in Afghanistan, a mission he has supported thus far from the comfort of the UK.

    • 4 October 2010 at 1:46pm
      pinhut says: @ pinhut
      Not too old. Duh.