Adrian Hamilton: Why he might like to take his leave of Labour

Comment

Share
Related Topics

Whatever his intentions, David Miliband is certainly putting himself about these days.

A speech intriguingly on "EU foreign policy after Lisbon"at the International Institute for Strategic Studies on Monday, a visit to Moscow at the beginning of next month, a keynote address at a Fabian conference in a week's time – there's barely a day or an invitation received when he isn't competing for the limelight. Is it because his hunger has returned for the Labour leadership, or has he given up that hope and turned his ambitions instead towards Europe with the soon-to-be-instituted post of EU foreign minister?

That is the question, of course. The job of EU high representative has yet to be agreed in principle, never mind a name put to it. And it's not even certain that the Foreign Secretary himself knows which way he wants to turn.

His denial of any EU ambitions on Twitter yesterday is probably just that. Twitter. At this stage in his career he wouldn't want to be counted out of any discussions on Labour's future, before or after the election. Although he is no longer regarded as Brown's natural successor, the Blairite faction still regards him as their best bet come the struggle for power in the party.

But he must know by now that his chances of succeeding Brown are diminishing. His performance at last year's party conference was a disaster and, whilst he performed better this year, there is a sense that he lacks either the gravitas or the steel to seize the top job.

The higher ranks of the Labour Party are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the prospects not just for the next election but for the one after that. A sort of torpor has seized the Cabinet, who openly discuss the prospects of being out of power for a generation as if this were the inevitable consequence of just one loss.

At 44, the Foreign Secretary is young enough to go through prolonged opposition and still be in with a fighting chance when Labour came back, but the prospect of a decade on the other side of the Dispatch Box is hardly an enticing one.

Given the choice in abstract, Mr Miliband might prefer party to Europe, as his Twitter remarks suggest. But if he were actually offered the EU job, I wouldn't bet on his refusal. And that tells us a great deal about the state of the Government back home.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions