David Miliband rather grandly told Sky News last night that the public’s “legitimate fascination” with the tension between him and his brother Ed had “obscured the real choice for the country” – that between Labour and the Tories. As if. The truth is that people had just stopped thinking about David Miliband. For all the hopes once pinned on the former Foreign Secretary, he had become an irrelevance. A Puck-like figure who’d pop up on the political stage now and again, to general mirth, then disappear. As Iain Martin says, his departure from Westminster is of almost no significance. Most Blairites bolted at the last election, and those who didn’t chose to sulk rather than fight for the future of their party. David Miliband carried on as if an ungrateful nation/party would realise its mistake, and beg him back. Instead, people seemed to forget that he still existed.
That’s why, rather than mull the implications of Mili Major’s Manhattan transfer, everyone is instead having fun with Thunderbirds mock-ups. There is more than a hint of Gerry Anderson to all this. A decade ago, David Miliband was teasingly called ‘brains’ while working in the No10 Policy Unit because his temperament mirrored that of the Thunderbirds character. Alistair Darling, who does a good line in making jokes about his Thunderbirds-style eyebrows, was famously portrayed in the tabloids as a puppet whose QE represented a form of “International Rescue.” The Sun memorably summed it up:-
That was all tounge-in-cheek. And then we find out that David Miliband is off to run the real-life International Rescue in New York. Life is mirroring art, or at least British politics is mirroring Thunderbirds. Jesse Norman is asking who’d play Lady Penelope – Twitter has an answer.
Why is she similar to George Osborne? Those in the Westminster Village know the answer: they both went to St Paul’s. Twitter’s intelligence is certainly improving.
To liven up a dull recess, your baristas in CoffeeHouse thought we’d add our own contribution (by Carla Millar, above). We humbly submit it alongside efforts by the Telegraph’s Tom Chivers. And – as Blair put it – that’s it. The End. There isn’t that much more to say about the departure of David Miliband, a talented politician whose moment came and went four years ago. He has only one crumb of comfort. The Thunderbirds analogies are a slight improvement on the banana jokes.
UPDATE I think this is the kind of reaction that MiliMajor was looking for:-
Wow! Former British Foreign Secretary David Milliband will be next president of @theirc, succeeding George Rupp.
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) March 27, 2013