Ed Miliband speaks at the Scottish Labour conference in Perth on March 21, 2014. Photograph: Getty Images.
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The Iraq inquiry is an opportunity for Miliband

He must use its publication to remind voters of how he has learned from the mistakes of New Labour. 

The agreement reached between the government and the Iraq inquiry over the inclusion of details of Tony Blair's conversations with George Bush should clear the way for its publication before the end of the year. Negotiations will now begin on exactly which "gists and quotes" can be released from the 25 notes and 130 records of discussions between the two leaders.

Here's the statement from the inquiry website: 

On 28 May 2014 Sir John Chilcot wrote to Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, to record his pleasure that agreement had been reached on the principles that will underpin disclosure of material from Cabinet-level discussions and communications between the UK Prime Minister and the President of the United States.  These documents have raised difficult issues of long-standing principle.

Agreement had already been reached on the details of what the Inquiry will publish in relation to more than 200 Cabinet and Cabinet Committee meetings. 

Detailed consideration of gists and quotes requested by the Inquiry from communications between the UK Prime Minister and the President of the United States has now begun.  It is not yet clear how long that will take but the Inquiry and the Government should work to complete the task as soon as possible.

Once agreement has been reached, the next phase of the Maxwellisation process can begin.  That process must be completed before the Inquiry's report can be finalised and sent to the Prime Minister

The Inquiry intends to submit its report to the Prime Minister as soon as possible. 

The inquiry has long been viewed as a "minefield" for Labour ahead of the general election as old wounds over the war are reopened (a significant number of the shadow cabinet voted in favour of it). But it is also a political opportunity for Ed Miliband. Since winning the Labour leadership on an anti-war platform, Miliband has said little about the conflict and about foreign policy in general (not making a single set-piece speech on the subject). Many in the party were surprised when a long-promised "intervention" to mark the 10th anniversary of the invasion did not materialise. 

For this reason, the publication of the report will be an important opportunity for him to remind voters, in particular former Lib Dems (whom Clegg will use the inquiry to try and win back), of his opposition to the war and to distance himself once more from the failures of New Labour. Successful political parties learn from their mistakes and there were few bigger than Iraq. As David Cameron seeks to exploit the inquiry's findings for political gain, he should remind him that he and his allies, such as George Osborne (a self-described neoconservative), were cheerleaders for the invasion. 

The inquiry is also an example of why, contrary to much Westminster opinion, Labour elected the right Miliband. Had David become leader, still bearing the weight of his vote for the war, the party would have much more to fear from Chilcot's conclusions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Donald Trump vs Barack Obama: How the inauguration speeches compared

We compared the two presidents on trade, foreign affairs and climate change – so you (really, really) don't have to.

After watching Donald Trump's inaugural address, what better way to get rid of the last few dregs of hope than by comparing what he said with Barack Obama's address from 2009? 

Both thanked the previous President, with Trump calling the Obamas "magnificent", and pledged to reform Washington, but the comparison ended there. 

Here is what each of them said: 

On American jobs

Obama:

The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.  And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.  We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We'll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.  We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.  And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.

Trump:

For many decades we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

Obama had a plan for growth. Trump just blames the rest of the world...

On global warming

Obama:

With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

Trump:

On the Middle East:

Obama:

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. 

Trump:

We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

On “greatness”

Obama:

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.

Trump:

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

 

On trade

Obama:

This is the journey we continue today.  We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.  Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.  Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week, or last month, or last year.  Our capacity remains undiminished.  

Trump:

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland