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13 June 2010

Which Miliband has a sense of “entitlement”?

Neither, actually, but that’s the spin from both camps.

By James Macintyre

This weekend, I’ve been speaking to key people in Labour about the party’s leadership contest for a piece in this week’s magazine. One of the many surreal elements of the Miliband brothers standing against each other is listening to their respective outriders subtly seek to promote their man at the cost of the other.

After Mehdi Hasan warned of what he said was being perceived as a sense of “entitlement” in the Ed Miliband circle, a very senior backer of David Miliband emailed me to point me back to Mehdi’s blog post.

When I put this to a senior Ed Miliband supporter, he attributed it to “reverse spin” and asked why Ed should have stepped aside, rather than David.

In fact, neither candidate has a sense of “entitlement”, as anyone who truly knows both understands. As some supporters of Ed Miliband point out, the lesson of 1994, as even Peter Mandelson has conceded, is that anyone who thinks they could or should be leader should stand.

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Maybe. But that doesn’t make the briefing any less bizarre — and Shakespearean.