On the week of a royal wedding, there is no better opportunity to talk about a Prince. Except, this article will not focus on a Royal Prince, but rather a ‘so-called’ political Prince; the Prince across the Water; David Miliband.
Miliband, now chair of the International Rescue Committee based in the U.S has long been touted as the saviour of Labour moderates and Europhiles. Their hopes were given a further boost this week when Miliband appeared alongside Nick Clegg and Nicky Morgan to urge Parliament to force the Government’s hand by voting for the UK to remain in some form of customs union as well as retaining access to the single market.
As has become traditional with Miliband’s brief cameos into UK politics, his appearance raised more questions than answers. Namely, does he want to return to UK politics? And if so what role would he like to play? Can he become the figurehead to stop Brexit? Lastly, and this is the question that never goes away what would have happened if he had become leader in 2010.
Let’s take the questions one by one. Does he want to return to UK politics? I see nothing that suggests Miliband is serious about a permanent return. His interventions are increasingly rare and he appears satisfied in his current role. A leadership role which would be the only avenue which could tempt Miliband back in grows more and more unlikely by the day. There is no vacancy in the Labour Party or a new centrist party.
Can he become the figurehead to stop Brexit? Although, the momentum is moving towards a softer Brexit there is no overwhelming indication there is a desire to stop Brexit. Secondly, if this desire becomes apparent, Miliband would be unable to lead the fight from the U.S. The figurehead would have to come from U.K politics.
The last question is the most intriguing. Miliband should have won the 2010 Labour leadership race in 2010 but didn’t. Maybe that tells us something. Miliband is clearly a politician of great potential, but it is possible his absence has led to an inaccurate mythical status being created.
The ultimate truth is we will never know. And maybe there is nothing wrong with that. So until he chooses to next intervene, the time for this debate is over. It’s time to move back from the hypothetical to the reality. Cheers.
Article by Mike Hough
Photograph; The Telegraph