So what will David Miliband do if he is defeated by Brother Ed?

Will he stay or will he go?

In my interview with David Miliband in July in the magazine, I pushed the shadow foreign secretary on whether he'd quit the shadow cabinet if he lost to his younger brother, Ed, on 25 September. Mili-D replied, after some ducking and dodging of the original question:

I'm not walking away from the people of South Shields. I'm not walking away from the Labour Party . . . I'm very happy to serve under anyone.

Since that interview, more and more "friends" and "allies" of the elder Miliband have suggested he simply would not be able to serve under Ed and that we would indeed see the former foreign secretary "walking away" from front-bench politics. As this magazine has argued, that would be a "tragedy" for the Labour Party.

So, on yesterday's Politics Show, on BBC1, I thought I'd ask David to clarify his position and ask whether he'd give an explicit, on-air guarantee that he'd stay in the shadow cabinet under an Ed Miliband leadership. He responded:

Of course. And I am absolutely clear about my intentions, my assumptions, and I answered that very, very clearly.

The presenter, Jon Sopel, then asked him whether it would be "difficult" to serve under Ed, to which David replied, after a pause:

I don't think . . . I don't know, is the truth.

Hmm. I tried winding him up again, later on, pointing out that "I could never serve under my younger brother" (note: I don't have a younger brother!), and the shadow foreign secretary responded with this firm and rather amusing statement:

That says a lot about why you're in journalism and I'm in politics. I'm a man of infinite patience and you're a man of infinite impatience.

Assuming Ed Miliband wins -- and despite the new Sunday Times/YouGov poll suggesting he will, it's still a big "if" -- let's see how "infinite" David's patience is . . .

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

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Donald Trump's healthcare failure could be to his advantage

The appearance of weakness is less electorally damaging than actually removing healthcare from millions of people.

Good morning. Is it all over for Donald Trump? His approval ratings have cratered to below 40%. Now his attempt to dismantle Barack Obama's healthcare reforms have hit serious resistance from within the Republican Party, adding to the failures and retreats of his early days in office.

The problem for the GOP is that their opposition to Obamacare had more to do with the word "Obama" than the word "care". The previous President opted for a right-wing solution to the problem of the uninsured in a doomed attempt to secure bipartisan support for his healthcare reform. The politician with the biggest impact on the structures of the Affordable Care Act is Mitt Romney.

But now that the Republicans control all three branches of government they are left in a situation where they have no alternative to Obamacare that wouldn't either a) shred conservative orthodoxies on healthcare or b) create numerous and angry losers in their constituencies. The difficulties for Trump's proposal is that it does a bit of both.

Now the man who ran on his ability to cut a deal has been forced to make a take it or leave plea to Republicans in the House of Representatives: vote for this plan or say goodbye to any chance of repealing Obamacare.

But that's probably good news for Trump. The appearance of weakness and failure is less electorally damaging than actually succeeding in removing healthcare from millions of people, including people who voted for Trump.

Trump won his first term because his own negatives as a candidate weren't quite enough to drag him down on a night when he underperformed Republican candidates across the country. The historical trends all make it hard for a first-term incumbent to lose. So far, Trump's administration is largely being frustrated by the Republican establishment though he is succeeding in leveraging the Presidency for the benefit of his business empire.

But it may be that in the failure to get anything done he succeeds in once again riding Republican coattails to victory in 2020.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.