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.’