Liberal centrists refuse to hail possible return of Miliband The Elder

Written by David Singleton on 3 April 2018 in Diary

‘He's the Thick of It's Julius Nicholson, but with more hair.’

David Miliband is "still attracted to Britain" and could yet stage a dramatic political comeback, a friend has warned.

In the 126th attempt* to talk up the former New Labour high flyer as the saviour of the liberal centre, the anonymous pal has spilled the beans to The Times columnist Rachel Sylvester. [*Probably]

In today's piece, Sylvester says that Miliband is now keeping close tabs on British politics – and moots the idea of him returning to Britain to set up a new party.

“It would be socially and economically liberal, internationalist and domestically reforming, including of capitalism. Opposing Brexit would be part of its agenda, but not its whole identity. The movement would quickly gain traction…

“There will be cynics who sneer about bananas or brothers. The former foreign secretary will be described as a figure from the past but he has forged a new identity as a campaigner at the International Rescue Committee, learning from his mistakes and acquiring empathy.”

One former Labour frontbencher tells her that Miliband is “the only one who has the reach, the intellectual credibility and the experience to make it happen”.

But other respected left-leaning and centrist commentators have not exactly jumped at the idea of Miliband returning to rescue the liberal centre from the shackles of a Tory-led hard Brexit.  

On Twitter, The Guardian’s Marina Hyde made an anguished plea: "To anyone seriously considering it: PLEASE. None of the questions to which David Miliband is the answer are printable."

Her Guardian colleague Gaby Hinsliff suggested that anyone pushing the return of the eldest Miliband brother was in need of a re-education: "Worried that bringing back David Miliband is basically becoming the centrist equivalent of bringing back grammar schools."

She added: "I mean, I'm a card-carrying centrist mum & even I think the big vacancy in UK politics right now is for a leftwing party that doesn't embarrass and/or persecute its own natural supporters, not a new centrist party."

And the New Statesman’s Jonn Elledge got personal:

“At risk of losing my Blairite melt membership card, I really don't understand the David Miliband thing at all. He's the Thick of It's Julius Nicholson, but with more hair.”







Picture credit: Press Association




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