I’ve been derelict in my “duty” as First Draft’s amateur British politics pundit. (Jeez, I always seem to be a member of the amateur left instead of a professional. Bummer, man.) There’s actually been a lot of political news out of the UK. The Tory/Lib Dem coalition government is hacking and hewing at the budget, which has led to much uhappiness among left wing Lib Dems. Hmm, sounds vaguely familiar. The beneficiary of Deputy PM Nick Clegg’s summer of discontent has been the Labour Party.
Labour just concluded a fascinating leadership contest. It was between brothers David and Ed Miliband and the kid brother, Ed, won. David Miliband’s role in voting for the Iraq War as well as his defense thereof as Foreign Secretary gave Ed his opening and he squeaked by in Labour’soddball electoral college set-up. Ed was more or less everyone’s second choice but had a lock on the unions, which resulted in his victory. The Tories smell an opportunity to bash Ed Miliband as a union tool but as the pain from austerity measures spreads, that will be less and less effective.
Now that I’ve “buried” David Miliband, it’s time to praise him. He’s decidedNOT to continue in the shadow cabinet so that his brother won’t be burdened with the sort of vicious infighting caused by the Blair-Brown rivalry. That was a relief to all concerned since David came out of the Blairite faction and Ed was a protege of Gordon Brown’s. To his credit, Brown stayed out of the race whereas Tony Blair and his Iago, Peter Mandelson implicitly sided with Miliband the elder. The good news for those of us sympathetic to Labour’s cause is that Miliband the younger was one of the few Brownites not despised by the Blair faction. Hence, it will be easier for him to unite his party and move forward. Some time in opposition is exactly what Labour needed after the tumult of the Blair-Brown era.
The other reason I’m glad that a Miliband has become Labour’s leader should be obvious to my readers. It’s an amazingly punworthy name. While I preferred that Ed become leader, it was strictly win-win for me on that score.