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

March 29, 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 ;-)

Latest

  • Comment One Nation Conference? Not for poor Labour members

    One Nation Conference? Not for poor Labour members

    Full time Carers who care 35 hours + a week for a disabled or elderly relative receive the princely sum of £61.35pw for their efforts. Many carers like myself in reality care 24/7, 365 days a year. Already cut out of most activities like a meal out or a social evening with friends, our horizons under the Tory government have become narrower and narrower. As Labour Party members, many of us look to the party to get our voices heard, […]

    Read more →
  • Featured My visit to Israel and Palestine this week has strengthened my commitment to a two state solution

    My visit to Israel and Palestine this week has strengthened my commitment to a two state solution

    Since Operation Protective Edge began in early July, at least 1,360 Palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians, and a quarter of Gaza’s population has been forced from their homes. Two Israeli civilians have lost their lives in rocket attacks, several hundred have been injured, and 56 Israeli soldiers have been killed. Today, the latest appalling loss of life is yet another tragic example of the death and destruction that has resulted from the escalation of this conflict. Of course this […]

    Read more →
  • Featured News Grayling gives speech attacking Labour while his own department publish his failings

    Grayling gives speech attacking Labour while his own department publish his failings

    You know that a Cabinet Minister’s speech has no positive message when the Tory Press Office Twitter account bothers to livetweet it.And that’s exactly what happened with Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s attack on Labour spending plans this morning. No, we don’t they got him to do it either. The speech itself was standard fare: lots of attacks on trade unions dressed up as economic commentary. What was interesting was that while he was giving it, the Ministry of Justice released […]

    Read more →
  • Comment I do not have a vote in the referendum, but I do have a voice

    I do not have a vote in the referendum, but I do have a voice

    For me, the debate about why Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom is personal and emotive – but is also about hard facts. We are tied together by bonds of friendship, family and economy in so many ways. My family history – going back some 300 years – is Northern Irish, Scottish, English and Welsh. I was born and brought up in Wales by a Cumbrian mother and a Wiltshire father. I went to university in England, and […]

    Read more →
  • News Seats and Selections Miliband’s greatest quality is that he’s willing to have a “bloody good think”, says Dobson

    Miliband’s greatest quality is that he’s willing to have a “bloody good think”, says Dobson

    Last week, Frank Dobson announced his intention to stand down as MP for Holborn and St Pancras after 35 years. Today, The Guardian have a candid and, at times, touching interview with the former Health Secretary. In a wide-ranging conversation with Owen Jones, Dobson sounds optimistic about the current state of the Labour Party: he’s “very confident” Labour will win next year’s election and is pleased that the Party has avoided going “a bit 1979″. Ed Miliband has ensured that […]

    Read more →