Excellent little off the cuff speech by David Miliband at Labour’s conference today. He has handled himself well in defeat. He has a lot to offer. But just as yesterday I suggested his brother Ed would be well served by trying to ignore all the noise around him as he works on his first conference speech as leader, so David should try to ignore all the noise around him as he decides his own future.
The papers and airwaves are packed full of advice for both of them. The best thing both can do is let the commentators prattle away, and make their own decisions – Ed about what to say, David about what to do – in their own way.
There was one part of David’s speech – no more cliques, no more factions, no more soap opera – where I worried that neither of them really had the power to realise that desirable outcome. No more cliques and factions – difficult in politics but yes, entirely possible if everyone takes a grown up attitude to things. No more soap opera? With our media, virtually impossible. Even our broadsheet media, let alone the tabloids and the increasingly tabloidised broadcasters, are too far gone in their addiction to politics as soap opera. A factor, perhaps, as David weighs things up.