Labour tries to be interesting

John Rentoul

David Miliband 007 300x180 Labour tries to be interestingAlastair Campbell last week described Labour as the “third most interesting party”. Well, there is one way that Labour people know to fix that problem, and that is to launch a coruscating civil war.

We have had the leak of the Ed Balls files (my column in The Independent on Sunday is a defence of the shadow chancellor); the leak of the speech that David Miliband would have delivered to Labour conference had he won in September last year; the serialisation of The Brothers at War (otherwise known as Ed: The Milibands And The Making Of A Labour Leader by Mehdi Hasan and James Macintyre); “friends” of David’s saying that he still wants it and is “waiting for his brother to fail”; and David’s statement today:

I have moved on from the leadership election and so should everyone else. Ed won, I stand fully behind him and so should everyone else. I called for unity last October and I repeat that now. We all have our part to play in supporting Ed and the front bench team to ensure we expose this government for its reckless polices that are damaging the country. The rest is soap opera of which I want no part and the public have no interest.

A mandarin supplies a fine Miliband Major minor anecdote. In  Writing on the Wall Phillip Whitehead tells of Keith Joseph’s arrival at the DTI in 1979. He handed his “bemused civil servants” a list of books to read – Popper, Hayek, various tracts of the free-market Institute of Economic Affairs.

When David Miliband arrived at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in 2005 he asked us for a list of books for him to read. I’ve always seen this as saying something good about his intellectual curiosity, bad about his sense of where he’s going.

Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

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  • Ron Broxted

    Did you give him “Nineteen Eighty Four”? Did you omit to tell him it was a warning not a manual?

  • CiaranCocktrumpet

    You are so funny Mr Broxted, tell me do you do stand-up?

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