Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
28 September 2010

Has David Miliband wrecked his brother’s big day?

Miliband heard attacking Harman for applauding Ed's criticism of the Iraq war.

By George Eaton

On Monday night I heard one of David Miliband’s aides remark to him: “you will be guarded, won’t you?”, as he prepared to enter Labour’s annual Diversity Nite. With an audible sigh, he replied: “oh, for God’s sake”. But her words proved prescient.

During the leader’s speech, ITV news cameras picked up the elder Miliband, with a look of pure murder on his face, leaning towards Harriet Harman as she happily applauded his brother’s condemnation of the Iraq war. According to the station’s lipreaders, he said: “Why are you clapping? You voted for it.” To which Harman is said to have replied: “I’m clapping because he’s leader and, as you know, I’m supporting him.”

The remark reveals more than Miliband’s dislike of those who claim to be wise after the event. It betrays his intense frustration at the way Ed’s opposition to the Iraq war (thanks to my colleague Mehdi Hasan, for instance, we now know that he lobbied Gordon Brown to oppose the war) helped give him the edge in the leadership contest.

Just as Cherie Blair’s “liar” attack famously overshadowed all coverage of Brown’s 2006 speech, I expect Miliband’s words will do the same today.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

David has now left the conference and headed back to London. And, whatever his response to tonight’s news, it’s looking even more unlikely that he’ll serve in Ed’s shadow cabinet.