Now this, as far as I’m aware, is a neutral/non-partisan blog. That means I’m going to use every ounce of self-control to stop myself from saying anything partisan. For instance, it would be wrong of me to refer to Ed Balls as “that t#*t that won’t stop complaining” or to make the observation that the leader of the opposition “looks like Wallace, from Wallace and Gromit”. So you have my word, I will try and behave.
Yesterday David Miliband stunned the Labour party, and most of the political world, by announcing he would be standing down as an MP and would be quitting British politics altogether. He plans instead to take up a senior position on the International Rescue Committee (IRC) charity in New York. The former foreign secretary has been a ghost in British politics after claiming he would step away from front bench politics to avoid a soap opera following a quite ridiculous defeat to his brother, Ed. You are, of course, entitled to your own opinions, but I can’t see a valid reason to pick Ed over David as leader of the Labour party. David has more charisma, a more bi-partisan approach to the two-party political system (following Blair’s third way) and looked to be taking the party, in my opinion, in a better direction. I’ve read his the speech he would’ve given had he won the election, (for the full speech, go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jun/10/david-miliband-speech-that-never-was) and while not agreeing with all of it, some of it seemed quite positive. That’s not a reaction I was expecting to have reading a Labour leader’s speech.
While we’re comparing the two brothers, can I please take a minute to ask a serious question? A girl in my class fancies both of the Miliband brothers. Is that a normal reaction to them? I can see people liking Obama, but the Milibands?
Anyway, back to Dave. For those of you wondering what the IRC is, (don’t be embarrassed, even I had to Google it) it’s a charity that provides emergency relief to the victims of conflict. That’s quite a radical career change. The big question is why? The Mirror has described it as his “dream job” but it’s too early to tell why it’s his dream job. The best thing to do, therefore, is to speculate. He may be doing it so his wife, an American violinist, can be closer to her family. Or maybe it’s because he hasn’t been actively involved in British politics and the level and intensity he wanted, so has grown bored of it. Whatever the reason maybe, all I can safely say is, no-one will miss him.
Sorry, but I’d gone 363 words without insulting the Labour party, and the pressure of hate was building inside me.
The most important factor of this news story is that his resignation will trigger a by-election for the constituency of South Shields sometime in May. Now, time for some real speculation. With the results of some of the other recent by-elections being surprising, and sometimes alarming, the result of this one could prove whether or not there is such a thing as a safe seat in modern day British Politics. South Shields has to be one of the safest Labour seats there are. It has been in the hands of the Labour party since 1935, and has never elected a Tory or Conservative MP. If Labour holds onto this seat convincingly, i.e. a landslide victory, it will show that the divide lies between the Conservatives and UKIP. But, should Labour lose their margin in the constituency, or even possibly lose the seat, it will be a clear indicator that the British public are starting to lose faith in the two main parties, and are starting to look to the smaller parties, like UKIP, the Respect party or the Green Party. Biggest reason for this shift is probably the state of the economy. Labour put us in this mess with Blair wasteful and careless spending and Brown stupidity with the Gold, (WHY WOULD YOU SELL AT AN ALL TIME LOW IN GOLD PRICES? WE DIDN’T EVEN NEED THE MONEY AT THAT POINT!) and the loss of confidence in the coalition for failing to fix the mess and allowing a triple dip recession. Also, with the EU in total disarray, especially following the most recent Cyprus fiasco, UKIP’s ‘let’s run away from Europe’ plan is starting to look evermore favourable. But I’ll leave this debate to a better writer to blog about.
All that is left to say now is good luck, Mr Miliband. He may have failed to capture the hearts of his own party, and somehow managed to lose a seemingly simple election to his younger (and let’s be honest, somewhat dim-witted) brother Ed, but hopefully he won’t screw up this job. Especially as victims of conflict now rely on him.
Scott Culleton, A2 Politics student.