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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Ansbach puts Europe's bravest politician under pressure

Angela Merkel must respond to a series of tragedies and criticisms of her refugee policy. 

Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, is supposed to be on holiday. Two separate attacks have put an end to that. The first, a mass shooting in Munich, was at first widely believed to be a terrorist attack, but later turned out to be the actions of a loner obsessed with US high school shootings. The second, where a man blew himself up in the town of Ansbach, caused less physical damage - three were seriously injured, but none killed. Nevertheless, this event may prove to affect even more people's lives. Because that man had come to Germany claiming to be a Syrian refugee. 

The attack came hours after a Syrian refugee murdered a pregnant Polish woman, a co-woker in a snack bar, in Reutlingen. All eyes will now be on Merkel who, more than any other European politician, is held responsible for Syrian refugees in Europe.

In 2015, when other European states were erecting barriers to keep out the million migrants and refugees marching north, Merkel kept Germany's borders open. The country has resettled 41,899 Syrians since 2013, according to the UNHCR, of which 20,067 came on humanitarian grounds and 21,832 through private sponsorship. That is twice as much as the UK has pledged to resettle by 2020. The actual number of Syrians in Germany is far higher - 90 per cent of the 102,400 Syrians applying for EU asylum in the first quarter of 2016 were registered there. 

Merkel is the bravest of Europe's politicians. Contrary to some assertions on the right, she did not invent the refugee crisis. Five years of brutal war in Syria did that. Merkel was simply the first of the continent's most prominent leaders to stop ignoring it. If Germany had not absorbed so many refugees, they would still be in central Europe and the Balkans, and we would be seeing even more pictures of starved children in informal camps than we do today. 

Equally, the problems facing Merkel now are not hers alone. These are the problems facing all of Europe's major states, whether or not they recognise them. 

Take the failed Syrian asylum seeker of Ansbach (his application was rejected but he could not be deported back to a warzone). In Germany, his application could at least be considered, and rejected. Europe as a whole has not invested in the processing centres required to determine who is a Syrian civilian, who might be a Syrian combatant and who is simply taking advantage of the black market in Syrian passports to masquerade as a refugee. 

Secondly, there is the subject of trauma. The Munich shooter appears to have had no links to Islamic State or Syria, but his act underlines the fact you do not need a grand political narrative to inflict hurt on others. Syrians who have experienced unspeakable violence either in their homeland or en route to Europe are left psychologically damaged. That is not to suggest they will turn to violence. But it is still safer to offer such people therapy than leave them to drift around Europe, unmonitored and unsupported, as other countries seem willing to do. 

Third, there is the question of lawlessness. Syrians have been blamed for everything from the Cologne attacks in January to creeping Islamist radicalisation. But apart from the fact that these reports can turn out to be overblown (two of the 58 men arrested over Cologne were Syrians), it is unclear what the alternative would be. Policies that force Syrians underground have already greatly empowered Europe's network of human traffickers and thugs.

So far, Merkel seems to be standing her ground. Her home affairs spokesman, Stephan Mayer, told the BBC that Germany had room to improve on its asylum policy, but stressed each attack was different. 

He said: "Horrible things take place in Syria. And it is the biggest humanitarian catastrophe, so it is completely wrong to blame Angela Merkel, or her refugee policies, for these incidents." Many will do, all the same.