This week heralds the return to the British political stage of a former Labour Party heavyweight. Once seen as a future leader, perhaps even Prime Minister, a voice of reason and a competent Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet Minister David Miliband has slipped off the radar since his move to the States.
Quentin Letts refers to the trio of Brexit hating politicians as ‘titans of our politics’ providing a cross party voice for those who do not want to see the UK head down the path of hard Brexit. Does the grouping of 2 former MPs and someone who has been an MP for 7 years qualify for such high praise? And does Miliband really represent the Labour Party? Undoubtedly not – in fact the thinking and political philosophy of the current Labour Party leadership and Mr Miliband are poles apart. And yet these three feel that they can have some influence over the Prime Minister’s thinking and the direction in which the UK heads over the next few years.
The question on many people’s lips is why David Miliband is weighing in on this argument. He lives abroad and has made it very clear to anyone who asks him that he has turned his back on British politics. Losing the leadership of the Labour Party to his brother – and then seeing his beloved party sink into political opposition for a number of years – left him feeling that there was no place for him in Westminster.
Perhaps a few years away from the fish bowl of SW1A has bought a new perspective. When asked if this was the beginning of a political comeback Miliband said he no, but that he had “a sense of passion” about “the fate of the country”. But not so passionate that he wants to actually have an influence – no longer an MP, as with Clegg, they might want to think that their voices will have an impact but sadly not. Few people listen to ex-MPs chuntering on about Brexit, partly because there are so many of them trying to have their two-penneth. Morgan can probably cause the PM the biggest headache, but then she has an axe to grind having been dumped from the Cabinet by Theresa May.
When asked why the British people should listen to him, Miliband responded by saying that he trusts people to make up their own minds. The thing is, they have, and therein lies the pointlessness to this debacle. The general consensus on Monday’s event is that was an irrelevance in the Brexit debate. However, if it does signal the beginning of Miliband senior’s comeback, we might mark it as a more significant historical event. Time will tell.