The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

The Miliband Alternative?

Posted by The Futility Monster on July 4, 2009 @ 20:12

It's easy to make people look stupid in photos

It's easy to make people look stupid in photos

A rather curious phrase usually appears in every article containing the words “David Miliband” in any political discourse.

However, it is my humble suggestion that the words “future Labour leader” should never appear in the same sentence as one which also contains the word “Milband”. (Yes, we’ll exclude poor Ed too)

I have been keeping an eye on him for a few years now. It’s hard to know the exact point at which David Miliband became the apparent heir apparent. When Tony Blair was having his local difficulties, eventually having his hand forced by a putsch in September 2006, many seemed to suggest that Miliband was the not only the right man, but the best man, to challenge the Gordon Brown orthodoxy.

On what they based this assertion I know not. Miliband is bland, dull, and charisma-free. Worse than that – he has no policies. Miliband’s latest attempt to get some headlines for his fake bid for leading the party is to say Labour must reinvent itself. Yet there doesn’t appear to be anything in there to suggest what that reinvention should look like. Apart from sucking up to the very same trade unionists which could help deliver him the leadership.

More bizarre bedfellows I can’t possibly imagine. I know the name “Miliband” is steeped in Labour history, but David has never struck me as one to cozy up to Derek Simpson, et al. It has widely been assumed that David Miliband comes from the Blairite wing of the party – largely associated with delivering public services via any means necessary, including by working with the private sector.

But perhaps he is more akin to the ideology-free Blairism which basically meant Blair adopted whatever policy was necessary in order to secure his goals. The object of power is power.

Now, excuse me if I try to claim that policies matter. I know David Cameron is not exactly awash with them either, and is still likely to win the election anyway. That’s very fortunate indeed for him that he faces Gordon Brown in the next election.

But for those of us who still wish politicians would not only talk the talk, but walk the walk, it is eternally frustrating to see that, once again, the electorate, and a pliant media, seem ready to anoint people “winners” and “favourites” or “successors” without barely a casual glance of a) their credentials; and b) the alternatives.

It seems that as long as we’re unhappy with whoever is in power or the leader, then it doesn’t matter what the alternative is, as they’re Not The Person In Power. See also the rallying around Alan Johnson, when it is equally unclear what difference he would make.

To me, Miliband has never justified his status. He hasn’t covered himself in glory in his record, and has no real vision for the future.

But just as much to blame is the media, who seem to have given us yet another fine illustration of their power to make things happen which really have no business taking place.

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2 Responses to “The Miliband Alternative?”

  1. Ian said

    Probably because he’s young and photogenic? A bit like Blair, Cameron and not Brown. I thought Alan Johnson was the new heir apparent now, but he seems to have fallen out of favour recently, can’t remember why. Anyway the best bit of this article was the photo caption.

  2. […] never understood what made him the “favourite” in the first place. I wrote about this last year. He is policy light, idea-free, but worst of all is not exactly fluent in front of the cameras. In […]

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