Those of us who have suggested David Miliband’s latest political intervention may have – let’s say – ulterior motives have received a bit of flak. Must he stay silent just because any public pronouncement may be misconstrued by the media? Why can’t he contribute to the debate about the party’s future like anyone else?
The problem with this position is that there is the tricky issue of precedent. Back in 2008, David Miliband wrote a similarly ambiguous, cryptic article that was widely interpreted as making a pitch for Gordon Brown’s job. Oh no, it was claimed, he was just adding to the debate about the party’s future. We now know that wasn’t true; from Alistair Darling’s memoirs and other sources we know he was on manoeuvres, but never quite had the bottle to take the final step.
I struggle to see why, therefore, it is so extraordinary to imagine his latest piece should not be seen in a similar light. David Miliband is an exceptionally bright and capable politician with years of front-line experience: he is certainly aware of how this piece would have been received in what was otherwise his brother’s most successful week as Labour leader.
At LabourList, Owen Jones not only effectively disassembles David Miliband’s attack on his brother, but at the same time gives an up-to-date assessment of the forces currently slugging it out within the Labour Party for control.