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David Miliband’s never-to-be-made best man speech

30 March 2011

5:41 PM

30 March 2011

5:41 PM

Good afternoon.

I’d like to thank you all for coming to this godforsaken hell hole – sorry, I mean, Ed’s constituency. Believe it or not, I once expressed an interest in becoming the Labour MP for Doncaster
North, but as soon as Ed heard about it he tossed his hat into the ring. Funny that.

I’m going to start by reading a few telegrams from people who couldn’t be here today.

[Reading]: "Dear Ed, Thanks for your kind invitation, but I’d rather stick pins in my eyes."

[Looking up]: That’s from my wife, Louise.

[Reading]: "Dear Ed, I’m happy to pick up the tab. You can pay me back when you get to Number 10."

[Looking up]: That’s from Brendan Barber, the General Secretary of the TUC.

[Reading]: "Dear Ed, Congratulations. You remind me of myself more and more each day."

[Looking up]: That one’s from Neil Kinnock.

When we were growing up, Ed was always a very special child – hence his nickname "Special Ed". He was a fast learner. He was talking by the time he was two and, less than a year
later, he was speaking human. He’s still not quite fluent, but we’re hoping he’ll master it within the next four years.

Ed was close to me when we were at school together. He had to be to copy my homework. No, seriously, we used to go everywhere together. We talked the same way, looked the same way – even
dressed alike. I remember one occasion when the school bully came up to him and said, "Ed, I’m going to punch you really, really hard on the nose." He said, "I’m not Ed, I’m David.
That’s Ed over there." [Rubbing nose]: I can still feel that punch to this day.

Like most little brothers, he used to copy me. When I got an Action Man, he got an Action Man. When I joined the Woodcraft Folk, he joined the Woodcraft Folk. When I ran for the leadership of the
Labour Party …

I remember talking to our mother about how we were going to get Ed to tie the knot with Justine and, eventually, we came up with a perfect plan: I would propose to her. Sure enough, Ed proposed a
week later.

Justine once asked if Ed was a competitive person. "I’m not sure I’d use that word," I said. "What word would you use?" "Fratricidal."

There was a third brother, Daniel. He was one of those boys who’s good at everything – cricket, football, maths. He really was a golden child. He and Ed went on a walking holiday in Snowdonia
when they were teenagers and, a week later, only Ed came back. He refuses to talk about it to this day.

No, in all seriousness, I love my brother. And, deep down, in his heart of hearts, I think he quite likes me. "This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you," he said, as he stabbed me
in the back.

It could be worse. At least he hasn’t slept with my wife. She turned him down, thank God.

I hope you’ll join me in a toast to the bridesmaids. Being a bridesmaid at a wedding is a bit like Ed’s position as Leader of the Opposition. You screw the older brother and hope it’s going to be
your turn next.

[Raises glass]: Ladies and gentlemen, the bridesmaids.

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