Monday, April 23, 2007

Why Miliband has made the right decision

We have become accustomed in this country to politicians who make mealy-mouthed statements which don't actually mean what they say and which allow them just enough leeway to wriggle out of.

I suppose the most famous example was Michael Heseltine's declaration that he "could not foresee the circumstances" in which he would challenge Margaret Thatcher, allowing him to launch just such a challenge when the previously unforseeable circumstances actually came about.

So I applaud David Miliband's decision this weekend to deliver an unequivocal statement that he will not challenge Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership.

It's no less than confirmation of what he has always said, but it represents a victory for political plain speaking that Brown himself would do well to take note of. More on this theme later....

That apart, I have no doubt that Miliband has made the right decision, and I explained why in my weekend column and acompanying podcast.

If you can't be bothered to read or listen to it all the way through, a potted summary might read:

  • He's too young, too inexperienced, and too lacking in gravitas.
  • He doesn't need the leadership at this stage of his career, and will get a big job under Gordon anyway.
  • A Miliband-Brown contest would have split the party and perpetuated the Blair-Brown feud into the next generation.
  • Brown is the best leader to take on the shallow PR man Cameron.

    Today's Guardian speculates that either one of Reid or Clarke will still stand, and I share that judgement. Reid v Brown in particular would be a good contest between two men of genuine Prime Ministerial calibre. But neither he nor Clarke can win.

    All of which suggests that it's all over bar the shouting.

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  • 1 comment:

    VFTN said...

    Do you not think there many senior Labour figures no longer feel compelled to contest the leadership against Brown as they expect him to be a disaster and so the post will become vacant again soon. At that point, with Brown out of the way, there will be a genuine contest of both ideas and personalities.