David Miliband on Ed, Blair, defeat and the Tory Party

29th March, 2012 12:55 pm

There’s an interesting interview with David Miliband in the May issue of GQ. The elder Miliband has returned to the fray in recent months, showing a willingness to engage on a range of issues – and even discuss domestic politics, rather than just foreign policy (something he was loathe to do in the first 15 months of his brother’s leadership). David has also been keen to praise his brother (usually on Twitter) following key speeches, most recently after the budget, as well as campaigning with Labour candidates in target seats, giving lectures and phone canvassing for Ken Livingstone. That has led some to urge a comeback – something I’m very keen on, having urged it last June.

The full GQ interview is well worth a read – but here are some of the most interesting quotes:

On Ed:

“I understand there is a fascination with the sort of family aspect of this, which is unique and extraordinary in many ways. But for me, my personal family relations are very important and we’ve always tried to make sure that the public and private are kept separate…We’ve always been careful not to allow the passion of the argument to lapse into a personal arrack which is important. You are brothers for life and you don’t want to lose that; that’s a very precious thing. He’s got a difficult job now and I want him to succeed in that job.”

On the coalition vs the Tory Party

“It’s tempting to say; ‘Let’s take on the coalition.’ But actually the real enemy is the Tories…You have got to hit them very hard for the judgements they make that are wrong.  And they have made three very big judgements – one about the economy, one about health and one about Europe, and I think all three have been bad for the country.”

On Blair:

“He is the most important Labour politician in 50 years so I was lucky enough to have a ringside seat at what he was doing. I admire a lot of what he did, but we are different people, and we came to a similar point from different places.”

On defeat and his public image:

“ The british people are very good at – how I can put this delicately? – the British admire nothing so much as someone who’s lost, that is a very endearing British quality. Everyone has disappointments in their life and so it creates an immediate point of empathy.”

Quotes taken from the May issue of GQ

  • Hamish

    Guido reckons his comment about the public sympathy for someone who is lost was a back-handed reference to Ed.  Surley not.

  • Robert_Crosby

    Time everyone moved on from this tedious backdrop of David Miliband’s personal ambitions. 

    Oh yes… Liam Byrne is leaving the front bench to stand as Mayoral candidate in Birmingham!  The best news I’ve heard in ages.  Norman Smith on BBC stupidly reckons it’s a vote of no confidence in Ed M but the truth is that this Shadow Cabinet will never get anywhere near power with the hopeless Byrne included in it.  

  • Robert_Crosby

    I think it is simplistic for Miliband to focus on the Tories alone.  There is an argument to say that the Tories are pushing a more extreme agenda with the Lib Dems on board than they could have managed alone.  Think about it… if they governed alone with a slim majority, maybe they might worry that their excesses could prove costly to “centrist” voters.  This way – certainly two years in with the LDs in apparent meltdown – they have a licence to be as rabid as they always wanted to be and they can just blame any unpopularity that their mayhem causes on Clegg & Co?

    Let’s have no more humouring either of the likes of Cable and Hughes.  They bleat publicly and then always fall into line – turning their fire on Labour.  If we accept that Ramsey MacDonald was what he was, then how should we view the complicit Lib Dems?

  • Politique

    I must say this is an excellent and class website. Congratulations to Mark for keeping labour supporters and grassroots upto date, as we see above.

  • http://twitter.com/Liza_Harding Liza Harding

    You conveniently left out the bit where David says “I didn’t agree with everything that he did” in that paragraph about Blair.
    Having actually read the full GQ article it also states:
    “Until very recently – the elder Miliband was, invariably, though not always accurately, described as a “Blairite” in the first two paragraphs of any story about him.”

    Just thought I’d add some balance 😉


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