The furore caused in Westminster and beyond by David Miliband’s article published in the Guardian, is pretty much a typical example of a huge amount of fuss about nothing. Throughout the published article, to be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/29/davidmiliband.labour he goes on the attack against the tories while simultaneously stressing that New Labour offer the best option for government. New Labour has been a horse that has not only been flogged to death, but then shot a couple of times, and then flogged some more. However, Miliband’s tone seems to echo Blair’s “give change a chance” motto on election victory in 1997. While politicians have always seemed to get bogged down in cliche and soundbite territory, David Miliband has chosen to also apologise for slow reform of the NHS, as well as to “win the peace” in Iraq, rather than just winning the war.
For critics urging him to resign because they see the article as a snide leadership challenge, they are surely reading far too much into it. Yes, granted, Brown is not actually mentioned, but frankly, so what? Is that really relevant? After the initial media frenzy surrounding the article, I was much expecting a leadership challenge that was far more explicit.
Miliband is, in many ways, like a young Blair. Fresh faced, a workoholic, and crucially, free of any skeletons in his closet. The difficulty is, if he is to become leader in the forseeable future, he will inherit a party which has long since lost the public faith in being a metaphor for change and progression. Cameron has had a few years to get into his stride now, and the way in which he handles PM’s Questions is enviable. He’s successfully managed to turn the Tory party around, because now there is a whole new generation of voters that associate the Conservatives with Cameron and his YouTube videos rather than the Iron Lady.
Therein is the problem Miliband faces. There isn’t really much he can do. Brown, who in my eyes was a brilliant chancellor, has spent years craving a job that he realised he in fact couldn’t do very well. The only option I can see so far is, lose the next general election, and begin the fightback after that. Whatever happens, it will most definately be fascinating to watch.