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12 July 2010

Ed Miliband tries to forge a way through the Mandelson saga

Contender rightly denies he’s merely a “Brownite”.

By James Macintyre

This afternoon’s Evening Standard is running on how both Miliband brothers are seeking to “move on” from the Peter Mandelson saga, about which Michael White of the Guardian has written so brilliantly today.

As well they might. Among the very few dangers for both Milibands are the labels “Blairite” and “Brownite”, which have been hung round the necks of David and Ed, respectively. In fact, as I have written, neither truly applies.

Today’s victory goes to Ed Miliband, however. Mandelson has revealed — or confirmed — that David was opposed to the idea of a “progressive alliance” between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, arguing that “the numbers” made the prospect difficult. That is questionable, as a forthcoming book by Andrew Adonis will show.

Ed, meanwhile — who was in favour of a “rainbow coalition” — has rightly said of the Blair-Brown wars that “I was one of the people who tried to bridge some of the nonsense”. Apart from Douglas Alexander, Ed Miliband was the one man trusted (and rated) by both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

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He is also right when he says this: “We began as the party of the windfall tax on privatised utilities and the minimum wage in 1997. We ended up — despite doing great things — as the party defending bankers’ bonuses and pushing forward ID cards.”