In this week’s New Statesman: The Milibands face off

Why Ed Miliband should lead Labour | Jon Cruddas: Why I’m supporting David Miliband | Stephen Mercha


As the marathon Labour leadership contest enters its final stretch, this week's New Statesman looks at the struggle between the Miliband brothers for one of the biggest prizes in British politics.

In our leader, we endorse Ed Miliband for the leadership and argue that, of all the candidates, it is he who has been most prepared to challenge the orthodoxies of New Labour. In a guest column this week, the man himself sets out his vision of a more equal country and offers a progressive alternative to the coalition.

Elsewhere, in a big boost for Ed's brother, David, the influential Labour MP Jon Cruddas talks exclusively to the NS editor, Jason Cowley, about why he's backing the elder Miliband for the leadership.

Also this week, Mehdi Hasan argues that Ed Miliband has the common touch needed to win over voters, and Irwin Stelzer says that Ed Balls is the only one of the candidates with a solid grasp of economics.

All this, plus Edward Platt on the Hamas prisoners of East Jerusalem, Will Self on folk revivalists, and an interview with the Office creator Stephen Merchant.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Here's something the political class has completely missed about Brexit

As Hillary Clinton could tell them, arguments about trade have a long, long afterlife. 

I frequently hear the same thing at Westminster, regardless of whether or not the person in question voted to leave the European Union or not: that, after March 2019, Brexit will be “over”.

It’s true that on 30 March 2019, the United Kingdom will leave the EU whether the government has reached a deal with the EU27 on its future relationship or not. But as a political issue, Brexit will never be over, regardless of whether it is seen as a success or a failure.

You don’t need to have a crystal ball to know this, you just need to have read a history book, or, failing that, paid any attention to current affairs. The Democratic primaries and presidential election of 2016 hinged, at least in part, on the consequences of the North American Free Trade Association (Nafta). Hillary Clinton defeated a primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, who opposed the deal, and lost to Donald Trump, who also opposed the measure.

Negotiations on Nafta began in 1990 and the agreement was fully ratified by 1993. Economists generally agree that it has, overall, benefited the nations that participate in it. Yet it was still contentious enough to move at least some votes in a presidential election 26 years later.

Even if Brexit turns out to be a tremendous success, which feels like a bold call at this point, not everyone will experience it as one. (A good example of this is the collapse in the value of the pound after Britain’s Leave vote. It has been great news for manufacturers, domestic tourist destinations and businesses who sell to the European Union. It has been bad news for domestic households and businesses who buy from the European Union.)

Bluntly, even a successful Brexit is going to create some losers and an unsuccessful one will create many more. The arguments over it, and the political fissure it creates, will not end on 30 March 2019 or anything like it. 

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