The modest Miliband

He doesn’t even mind being called the wrong name.

Everyone I've talked to whose working life owes nothing to Westminster or the media has voiced reservations about how David Miliband comes across.

"Arrogant", "too sure of himself", "acts as though his interviewer is stupid" are some of the comments I've heard about the shadow foreign secretary. His younger brother, Ed, however, has produced nothing but expressions of interest (albeit sometimes quite mild interest).

The shadow energy secretary demonstrated this afternoon the modesty, almost diffidence, that makes him such a refreshing change from most of the overly cocksure New Labour luminaries.

Twice during an interview on Sky News just before 3pm, the presenter, Anna Botting, mixed him up with another of the Labour leadership contenders. "Come on, Mr Balls," she said first, a misidentification that Miliband merely ignored.

She then signed off the interview, which lasted some minutes, by thanking "Ed Balls" for appearing on the programme. In the half-second Miliband had to respond with the usual mutual thanks, he did just that, having the good grace to look slightly startled but amused, rather than cross, to be referred to by a rival's name not once but twice.

Can you imagine any of the other contenders resisting the temptation to correct the presenter in a very firm tone of voice? If I had one, Ed M would get my vote.

Sholto Byrnes is a Contributing Editor to the New Statesman