Desert Island Discs: No regrets for castaway Ed Miliband who drops Beethoven for Edith Piaf

  • @oliver_wright

Three years ago when he was standing for his party’s leadership Ed Miliband was asked by a Labour website to choose his desert island discs.

This morning on Radio 4 he got a chance at the real thing – and the discrepancies are revealing. Out went “A New England” from that hero of the left, Billy Bragg. Nor was there room on Desert Island Discs for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony – the anthem of the European Union.

In their place came “Je ne regrette rien” by Edith Piaf and “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” – the South African national anthem. Unchanged choices include “Take on Me” by A-Ha, which Mr Miliband admitted was “cheese”, as well as “Angels” by Robbie Williams which he dedicated to his wife, Justine.

“When we were falling in love, we were at Live8 and Robbie Williams [below] did an amazing performance of it,” he told presenter Kirsty Young. Mr Miliband talked more openly than he has done in the past about the rift with his brother, David, over their contest for the Labour leadership. And he admitted that relations between them are still not easy.

“It was hard, hard for my family, hard for David, very hard, but I suppose I felt that it was the right thing,” he said.

Asked whether things were healed he said: “Healing, healing.”

Kirsty Young also asked Mr Miliband whether his advisers had crafted his music list.

“Some people will not like some of the songs,” he replied, “but this is the list I chose.”