29 Sep 2010

The gossip at Labour

Another fascinating evening of gossip in the bars. I learned that the Ed Miliband comments in his speech that the war in Iraq was wrong (which so irritated his brother) were carefully planned as a final full stop on the argument developed through the campaign. It was a crucial point of difference with David Miliband and I am told they quite deliberately saved the most definitive statement for last. Of course now we need to know whether, like Nick Clegg, he thinks the war was illegal.

The Ed Miliband supporters acknowledge the week hasn’t exactly gone to plan, with the psychodrama around the brothers overshadowing everything and making the conference feel a bit out of control. It hasn’t been the best start for a new leader but they accept that was the inevitable price of having toppled David Miliband from the favourite position. They are content with him getting his message about not being Red Ed across. One new supporter (ex Miliband D camp) even explained why Ed Miliband might just have the secret quality neither Tony Blair nor Gordon Brown had : innocent likeability. “people might just think he’s quite nice, which is a welcome change after the last two leaders”.

Ed Miliband has decided to stick to the traditional round of interviews with the media on the day after the leader’s speech, just as we finally hear David Miliband’s decision on his future (now overwhelmingly expected to be an end to his front line political career). The two brothers again competing for headlines. The new leader’s team are sighing, and getting on with it, and fully expect this to be the last day this particular problem occurs.

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