Andrew Marr was back on the Marr show this morning, doing a great public service by reminding Britain why we’re not missing David Miliband. The ex-Blair adviser formerly nicknamed ‘Brains’ is off to join International Rescue next week – and even Marr couldn’t resist a Thunderbirds reference. Miliband wasn’t amused. He’d come to give a message: I’m not ruling out a comeback. But after watching his performance, I rather doubt that Labour members will be begging him to attempt one.

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If you were to make a talking doll of David Miliband, it wouldThunderbirds graphic3 come out with the kind of guff he divested himself of today. He seemed to speak in pre-packaged cliche: “a day in government is worth a thousand in opposition”, “in the end, it’s the right place for centre-left parties to be”… “in tune with the modern world” etc. This has always been his vice. Even when he comes up with a phrase of his own, he repeats it until it sounds like a cliche. When asked about his future, he told Marr: “Look: if you over-calculate, you miscalculate” – evidently the lesson he has drawn from the past few years. “Don’t over-calculate,” he advised Marr a second or two later, “because then you miscalculate”.

And then came the sub-David Brent platitudes. “Never lead your life by looking through the rear view mirror,” he advised viewers. And as for losing to his brother? “There are the Murrays of this world who win and there are the Djokovic’s who come second.” So he’s not a loser, he’s a Djokovic. He made big thing of rejecting the “conventional” wisdom about how the next election is bound to produce another coalition. He’s going out on a limb, he said, by saying a majority – either Labour or Tory – is more likely. Except that IS the conventional view: the bookies have the shortest odds on a Labour majority and a Tory majority is second-favourite. Odds on another coalition, of any variety, are very long. So even Miliband’s unconventional views were actually conventional. (We give these election odds every day in the Spectator’s Evening Blend email: sign up for free here).

The content of what Miliband said was fine. But, as he might put it, if you over-prepare for interviews then you mis-communicate. As he did. It reminded me of why the Blair project crashed: it found, in Miliband, an automaton when it needed a champion.

Personally, I find Ed Miliband far easier to listen to. He doesn’t use the soporific verbal formulas which his elder brother seems to be imprisoned by. You may laugh at Ed’s “pre-distribution” theories, but at least they are original. Listening to David Miliband, gibbering on about Iraq and his self-help soundbites, seemed as if we’d been plunged back into 2006.

David Miliband this morning reminded Labour (now 11 points ahead in the polls) that it chose the better brother. MiliMajor’s earliest plausible return would be a 2020 election – by which time promising new MPs like Dan Jarvis, Tristram Hunt, Stella Creasy and Chuka Umunna will have had a chance to rise (or fall). So Miliband ought not worry about “over-calculating” in future. Whatever Labour’s future holds, it will not involve a return of a man whose chance for big time came – and went – when he chickened out of moving against Gordon Brown in May 2008.
PS It was great to see Marr back in the chair, ribbing Miliband about how, as an MP, he hoovered up those second jobs that his younger brother is now subjecting to scrutiny. Marr will be presenting Marr again after the summer. Let’s just hope he goes easy on the rowing machines.
Tags: Andrew Marr, David Miliband, Thunderbirds
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  • Maureen

    Fraser, you would say that to your benefit- After all you are VERY right wing.
    Come back David and save Labour.

  • NBeale

    Fraser:
    Please TRY to be statistically literate. There may have been one poll on the 14th that had Labour 11 ahead but the margin of error is 3-5% so you need to take a moving average and that’s about 6%. Indeed one (rogue) poll today gives a Labour lead of 0.

  • John Smith

    Well done the more you hype up RedEd the longer he will stay . .

  • therealguyfaux

    I once heard the Miliband of brothers described this way:
    People laugh at silly things that David is saying.
    People laugh that silly Ed is saying things.

  • Lady Magdalene

    On the contrary, Marr’s interview simply demonstrated that Labour shouldn’t have chosen either of the Milibands. They’re both useless and in any other time in our Democratic history, they’d be unelectable.
    The fact that one of them is quite likely going to become PM in 2015, just shows that our standards have fallen to rock bottom.

  • robertcp

    I agree. David M just talks in cliches and never says anything original.

  • FairBobby

    It’s good to see any person making a good recovery from illness. However, I’ve stopped watching Marr’s programme, he’s not impartial enough, politically that is. And his guest today, D Milliband, is a Communist/Marxist, like his brother and father before him, all of whom talk clap trap, from a true English point of view that is.

  • Nick

    David Miliband is the quintessential left wing,managerial level,mindless automata that has poisoned the Labour party,the police force and many local authorities.
    These people speak well but actually say nothing.They come out with all the usual corporate lingo which makes me sick and shows just how false they are.
    FALSE.FALSE.FALSE.FALSE.FALSE!!

  • Curnonsky

    It’s tough being second banana.

  • Chris lancashire

    Beats me that anyone ever rated this Miliband. Mind you, he’s no better than his sibling. Nice to see that Marr is restored to health.

  • Mark Christie

    It was an amateurish performance, of which this is an excellent summary. Should be, ‘he dares to think that a majority government is more likely than a coalition.’

  • RedMiner

    Well if Ed ‘X-ray eyes’ Miliband blows the next election, as seems likely, probable even, he can always sign up with Atos as an WCA assessor. No experience or medical expertise required beyond the ability to ask a few computer generated questions and kick the requisite numbers off benefits. Miliband has ably demonstrated his suitability with a two minute doorstep assessment of a chronic illness/disability patient, overruling the unfortunate individual’s doctor in the process.

    What do doctors know anyway?

    And in the face of a 70% rise in appeals and 3,000 deaths a week of those declared ‘fit for Workfare’, his comment to Atos in Scotland that they were doing a great job much surely have been an early pitch for a supervisor’s role.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Hedges/100001511186412 Charles Hedges

    The party of the despicable Lord Freud should for ever be unelectable.

  • david trant

    If I could press a button Dan Jarvis would be leader of the Labour Party, if for no other reason than watching the Tories slag off a man who was a Major in the Paras, led the SAS support group in Afghanistan etc. and received his MBE for his development of the system for detecting IED’s would be a hoot.

    So he served in Kosovo,Iraq and Afghanistan, not to be compared to burning a toilet when Dave was in the Bullingdon Club, that took real guts, should have got the VC.

  • allymax bruce

    Good article, Fraser; Labour drones, Yes !
    Labour are now the HAL 2000 of ‘International politics’ ! Pre-programmed to the International Marxist ideology; the oddity where the Labour Party have completely lost touch with their core vote, their unions, the normal ‘British’ people, Democracy, and a politician’s purpose of representing the normal people in constituencies ; Labour really have lost the plot !
    Labour picking fights with everyone; time for Scotland to vote Yes for Scottish independence, and reclaim all our Scottish egalitarian, & socialist values. Labour, is not Labour, anymore!
    Yes, is the only vote that saves Scotland from automaton Labour drones. Vote Yes for Scottish independence; you know it makes sense.

    • HookesLaw

      9000

      • allymax bruce

        Wait, I’m pulling out my HUGE Saltire Cross Scotland flag !
        &&&&&&&&&&& &&
        Now I’m waiving it about.
        Dontcha just Luv Scotland !

    • the viceroy’s gin

      I vote yes that you bugger off and quit spamming this site with jock itch.

      And if you layabouts had any gumption you’d already have what you’re only jabbering about today.

      • allymax bruce

        See! This is why your country is gaen doon ra chubes; because you vote for choobs !
        Did you associate the simile’s?
        If you did, you would now be smiling.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Just what in the name of Gaia are you raving on about now, lad?

        • timinsingapore

          Hhhmmm … are the Scot’s given to redundant apostrophe’s? And who was that man with a flag?

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

      It was HAL 9000 :-)

      • Nick

        Will I dream?

    • allymax bruce

      Labour are 2000; their end is nigh.
      I don’t expect the didactic drones here to understand, least, appreciate art.
      I mean, we, Scots, just won Wimbledon. Beat that ‘Britain’ !
      A Scotsman won Wimbledon!
      Luv it!

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Well it was about time you lot figured out how to do something more on grass than molest fluffy herd animals.

      • Nick

        Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but Murray isn’t Scottish……he’s English.

        • AtMyDeskToday

          Eh! Born and raised in Dunblane, Stirlingshire and he’s English? Too early to be drinking mate.

          • Nick

            Sorry old chap but he’s definitely English.For some unknown reason the Scottish think he’s one of them…….Crazy.

            • AtMyDeskToday

              How are things in Glocca Morra? You know drinking all day is really not good for you, old chap. You start to imagine imaginary worlds.

              • Nick

                You know as well as I do that he’s English….Deal with it.

                • AtMyDeskToday

                  You’re either plain stupid or simply trolling. I suspect both.

                • Nick

                  Definitely not stupid as I can read,write & lift heavy objects.With regards to trolling……no I’m not trolling as I post here on a regular basis.
                  And I still maintain that Murray is English.Next you’ll want me to believe that Mel Gibson is an Ozzie and not really Scottish.

                • AtMyDeskToday

                  Read the 1st line here…

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Murray

                  …although I’m certain you believe that to be a conspiracy. Stopped your meds have you? Oh no wait, you’re trolling.

                • Nick

                  A Bristish Scotsman won Wimbledon.

  • nationalexistance

    Miliband major,Miliband minor – they’re both unionist mouth-pieces.

    Labour used to be the party of Scotland,now it’s just another party kowtowing to the wants of the south-east of England.

    • telemachus

      I strongly suspect that next time round they will give the SNP a drubbing
      Problem with the SNP is that they are migrating to the Tory position of not caring

  • Holby18

    This is your personal opinion of course and it is not in accord with many of us who are great supporters of DM. Further, his brother has had the benefit of a host of supporters, speech therapists, actors etc to change his image. I therefore find your assessment unfair on the older and more able brother.

    • Wessex Man

      who cares?

    • Colonel Mustard

      “Further, his brother has had the benefit of a host of supporters, speech therapists, actors etc to change his image.”

      That went well then.

  • HookesLaw

    Your comments might have meaning if you did not cherry pick polls. The truth is labour should have chosen neither brother and their voting procedure where (ignoring union bias) is flawed when the voters cannot see the survivors from round to round.

    Its when you are forced to consider who the right leader would have been that you see what the problem with labour is.

    • James Strong

      If you are not a Labour member member then it’s none of your business how they elect their leader.
      I would rather have seen David Davis as leader of the Conservative Party, but since I’m not a member my right to complain is non-existant.

      • HookesLaw

        None of my business?
        Well Mr Nelson had better close this blog down PDQ

      • Colonel Mustard

        Party leaders are in the public domain championing their party’s policies to win votes so any member of the voting public is entitled to comment about them, complain about them or criticise them.

        • James Strong

          Of course any member of the public can comment, complain about or criticise party leaders; but that isn’t the point, is it?

          Hook’s Law was commenting on the Labour Party’s internal processes.

          It’s analogous to me complaining about how much Mourinho gets paid, but how Chelsea work out what he is worth is an internal matter for them and none of my business.

          • Andy

            Well Mr Miliband wont be aspiring for high office then.

          • Colonel Mustard

            That is precisely the point. Whilst the Labour Parteh might like its “internal” processes to be secret, like Common Purpose, like the Mid-Staffs NHS corporate manslaughter scandal and like the Falkirk election fraud, they are not. Anyone is free to comment on them, especially when they are basically a conniving conspiracy against the British Constitution, Common Law, the Rule of Law, Liberty, Human Dignity and the rights of the Indigenous English People. Personally I’d like to see the Labour Parteh proscribed as an extremist, terrorist organisation that poses a clear and present danger to this country and its members arrested, especially after the revelations of what the Fabian Society is up to.

            They have crossed the line.

            • James Strong

              But the voting process for Labour leader isn’t secret, is it?
              HookesLaw knew what it was clearly enough to know that he didn’t like it.
              You’ve now extended the discussion into Labour actions in the public domain, which is fair enough but not where it started.
              Then you extend to wanting to ban the Labour Party, and that is most certainly not fair enough. Enough of their policies are public enough for voters to have a good idea of what the Labour Party offers.
              I don’t see how they are much worse than ‘No tuition fees’ Clegg or ‘cast-iron’ Cameron. If you think that any party is 100% transparent and trustworthy about the programme it would like to implement then please name that party.
              When you go on to suggest a ban I would guess that you were in a state of high irritation when you wrote that?
              Would you now like to modify or withdraw it?
              If not would you explain why the UAF are wrong in their desire to shut down the EDL?
              Or why the council in Rochdale were wrong to prevent a child being fostered by UKIP members?
              Banning political parties is the action of totalitarians, whether they are described as ‘left’ or ‘right’
              Are you a totalitarian?
              ‘The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.’ (Carl Sagan, The Demon Haunted World.)

              • the viceroy’s gin

                EDL and UKIP aren’t directly advocating or coddling political violence, are they?

                It’s the Left that is responsible for most political violence in recent times, isn’t it? Whether it’s over environmental extremism, or lab union extremism, or tacit lefty support for islamofascist extremists… isn’t modern public political violence largely a leftist construct?

                There is clearly a distinction to be made here, based upon the evidence, I think you’d have to agree.

  • James Strong

    But you missed a chance, Fraser, to point out to the woman who was reviewing the papers with you that William Hague’s remark about an MP speaking, ‘Stupid woman’ was not a sexist put-down.
    If it it had been a man speaking, saying the same things, and Hague had said ‘Stupid man’ that would not have been sexist. But it wasn’t a man speaking so Hague couldn’t say that.
    You should take the chance to oppose feminazis when they say stupid things.
    Being a member of the wimmin does not give a free pass for stupidity.

    • Wessex Man

      Of course it’s of concern to the entire country who the Labour leader is, he could become the PM and it appears that he doesn’t even know whats going on in his own party yet alone what’s going on in the rest of the country!

      Going on at this rate we’ll have ED Miliband making five year plans with portraits of Len McClusky and Bob Crow smiling down on him !

      • david trant

        I very much doubt that Bob Crow will be smiling down on him, he’s never been a Labour Party member in fact has recently called for a left wing alternative to Labour. One thing that might appeal Crow has always been strongly opposed to our membership of the EU, unlike the Tories who chop-n-change with the wind.

    • Chris Marshall

      James Strong is not very bright. Not at all.

      • James Strong

        Address the point raised without the ad hominem or it’s going to be you who proves to be not very bright. Not at all.

  • telemachus

    The main reason for not wanting him back is that we are all excited by the prospect of Ed Balls taking over from his brother

    • HookesLaw

      Ed Balls to become labour leader? Shout it out loud.

      • Wessex Man

        rejoice! rejoice! rejoice! the lunatics have finally taken over the asylum!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • allymax bruce

      Lord huv mercy !
      Please don’t give Ed Balls ideas.
      We have self-loving, self-ingloriating, and self-interested political fashionistas here in Scotland too; Kate Higgins, the type-identified vogue madonna of Scottish politics interviews; please save us from these pop-op smartyrs. Really glad she joined Bella; perfectly married to a cringing silo base; she now type-identifies her cringing, hateful, silo-ing gurnal.

    • Colonel Mustard

      God this tripe is so predictably tedious. Repeating this garbage in every comments thread won’t make it so.

      No, WE are not all excited you half-wit. YOU might be, but thankfully you do not represent the whole of the voting public.

    • Andy

      You mean Ed Bollocks Balls who helped Gordon the Moron Brown to bankrupt the State ?? And even now has not offered one word in apology nor repentance. The pair of them ought to be hanged.

    • starfish

      ED BALLS HAS A BROTHER?

      • telemachus

        No but he has a dynamic wife about whom we will hear a lot more

        • Colonel Mustard

          If we are unfortunate. She is as mad as a hatter and her near tears, faux outrage, emotional blackmail denouncing of anything she disagrees with is almost as tedious as your non-stop hagiography of the partner in their double act.

          Perhaps you are after a “job” in the regime programming robots.

          • telemachus

            Many greater than yourself show jealousy as acute as yours for this power couple

            • Colonel Mustard

              Jealous? Dear me no. Merely legitimately concerned about what their combined barminess might do to MY country. Power couple I grant you. Something very unhealthy about a Fabian husband and wife subversion team in the cabinet whose only interest, like yours, is power.

              Oh, look, Labour conniving again:-

              http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/heal-our-hospitals/10178552/Labours-denial-machine-over-hospital-death-rates.html

              • telemachus

                Not power for its own sake but power to help the majority of the people

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Tripe. They are the parteh of lies, lying and liars. That’s all they do, lie, connive and cover up.

              • telemachus

                What they will do to our country is that they will make it Great again
                And inclusive
                Even revanchists will be tolerated

                • Colonel Mustard

                  What will they do is preside over the usual corrupt denial and lie machine which will bankrupt this country again and kill elderly patients in their thousands.

                  Where did all the money go?

                • http://www.facebook.com/alan.douglas.1042 Alan Douglas

                  Inclusive ? Oh yes, they will enable ALL UK couples to claim 2nd home allowances from parlaiment, for “main residence” that they do NOT live in, where their children do not go to school. Thus abolish “Tory” poverty at a stroke ! Nice one ….

                  Alan Douglas

        • Andy

          A veritable Stupid Woman.

          • telemachus

            But one with a fine brain that outshines the shoe queen Imelda May who really should spend more time on her brief and not in the fashion shops