David Miliband just can’t leave his brother’s election defeat alone. After several brutally honest post-election interviews, Miliband Sr. popped up again on CNN last night to offer his harshest analysis yet on his brother’s leadership. Under Ed, David said, Labour actually went backwards:
‘What I think is important for all the candidates [to replace Ed Miliband] is to reflect on the very clear lessons of two devastating electoral defeats for the Labour party in the last five years, which have come for a very clear reason.
‘And the reason is that the public have concluded that instead of building on the strengths and remedying the weaknesses of the Blair years, the party has turned the page backwards rather than turning the page forwards.’
David advised the next Labour leader to ‘find again that combination of economic dynamism and social justice that defined the success of the Labour party’ — also known as New Labour. And that’s not his only media appearance today. He has also given an interview to the Times, where he discusses Labour’s ‘painful’ defeat at the ballot box:
‘And disaster has happened. Of course it’s doubly painful for me because it’s my brother. I don’t want him to be hurt and I don’t want him to be vilified.’
But David is keen to point out that he is absolutely not gloating over his brother’s defeat. Not at all:
‘I have to say that any sense of vindication is massively outweighed by a sense of frustration and anger about what’s going to happen to the country. There is no consolation in any sense of vindication, frankly, because I care about the country and I care about the party. It’s now facing ten years out of power.’
You have to wonder who David is helping with these attacks. Either he is relishing the opportunity to get his own back on Ed — or plotting some kind of comeback. In the Mail on Sunday, James revealed that allies of David are keen to see Ed move out of the limelight and open the door for a potential comeback for the elder Miliband.
If he is testing the waters, Labour could learn more of his potential glorious return on October 6, when he is set to address the Institute of Director’s annual conference. Although the topic is ‘how humanitarian crises affect business, and the future direction of corporate social responsibility,’ expect one or two choice phrases on life in Westminster.
But if Miliband Sr. is planning a return to British politics, he needs to consider the collateral damage he is doing to the Labour party. After its heavy defeat at the general election, the party is already struggling to figure out what it stands for and what comes next. David’s advice only adds more self-loathing to proceedings, something the Tories are very keen to see continue. Also, imagine what it would do to the leader Labour is currently electing, if Miliband was to return half-way through this parliament?