So David Miliband has packed his backs and said goodbye to the circus that is politics – which is a shame as he could have been a good Prime Minister.
Many will look back on his record in the last Labour Government and tar him with the brush that caused the current financial problems, but in reality he did a reasonable job as Foreign Secretary and was pretty good at coming clean if things went wrong. He was also honest – some say too honest – about his opinions on world situations, but it was this openness that marked him out to me as a possible leader for the Labour Party.
Going head-to-head with his brother Ed for the leadership in 2010 many assumed that he would be the winner, but the support of the unions swayed it in the other direction and that was the last we really saw of David in the public arena. He knew that the papers would be looking for an angle between him and his brother so he cleverly stepped away from the spotlight on to the backbenches where he continued to work for his constituency. Looking at how he has spent his time – without publicity – shows what a decent guys he is. Volunteering to teach politics and government at a London College, non-executive vice-chairman of Sunderland A.F.C and working for Oxford Analytica, an international consulting firm providing strategic analysis of world events.
His decision to retire from politics will have more than one consideration behind it. Firstly there is always speculation that he would take over from his Brother as leader if he lost the next election – or conversely if he won then the media would constantly look to David for comment or opposition to policy. Secondly he may think that he had his chance and he genuinely wants to do something productive with his time and working for the International Rescue Committee will allow him to work back in international issues that he always dealt with so well while in office. Finally with his wife being American and their two adopted children, aged nine and six, also being from America perhaps it’s the chance to spend time on that side of the pond instead.
He appeals to me as a future leader as he is Atheist but respects those with faith; is honest and will answer a question if asked – even if the answer is not always appropriate; he had enough respect for his brother and the party to step away from the limelight and allow both to find their feet without his shadow lurking over them. Not many in the back-stabbing world of politics play as fairly as that, even with family members. I hope one day he comes back into UK politics as he has a widespread appeal and could be the fresh air politics is currently needing. Today he resigned from Sunderland because they gave Paulo Di Canio the manager’s job there. Di Canio’s previous comments and Nazi salute while at Lazio was something Miliband didn’t want to be associated with – I know a politician with a conscience.
Enjoy New York David and hopefully one day you’ll be back.