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Not so happy families

Nick Robinson | 20:36 UK time, Tuesday, 28 September 2010

David Miliband has spent the week insisting that this is Ed's week in a way which ensures it hasn't been. Tonight his angry muttered remarks to Harriet Harman - caught on camera - have made sure that, even on the day of Ed's speech, David is making the news.

When Labour's new leader declared that the Iraq war was wrong, he and other former ministers who voted for the war ­- Alistair Darling, Jack Straw and Andy Burnham - sat stony faced. Not so Harriet Harman. Seeing her clap, David turns to her and angrily demands to know "you voted for it, why are you clapping?"

If ever evidence were needed of why David will, almost certainly, leave frontline politics tomorrow this is it. He, and many others, deeply resent the way in which Ed - who wasn't an MP at the time - used his rather less than public opposition to the war to win the party leadership.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Regardless of their artificial enthusiasm at the conference, the majority of Labour supporters will have heavy hearts after the election of Ed Miliband as leader. By contrast, most Conservatives will be delighted, as David Miliband would have been a formidable opponent.

    In appointing left-leaning, inexperienced Ed rather than moderate, influential and experienced David, I judge that Labour have made a serious error. It's one they will live to regret.

  • Comment number 2.

    Really, this is getting silly Nick....lets all calm down shall we.

    Politicians,even brothers (I have a big brother too) sometimes disagree.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    Typical Hattie.

    Overpromoted and with as many faces as a town hall clock.

    Maybe Mrs Bananaman is right... he's better off out of it.

  • Comment number 5.

    Sad that they think it was the Iraq war that did it. Reflects their continuing guilt and embarrassment about the deception of Blair and their willing membership of the militant toadying tendency of the Blair government. It would have done no harm for Miliband the elder to say with hindsight that it was a mistake.
    To what extent has the press been negatively briefed by big brother to portray Ed as a return to the Labour left of the eighties.
    Last May people rejected New Labour why would the party want its apprentice.

  • Comment number 6.

    Do you think that, following the first conference speech by Labour's new leader (and potentially the country's next Prime Minister), the BBC's political editor should focus on (a) the content of the speech, or (b) this kind of political tittle-tattle?

  • Comment number 7.

    This clip sounds interesting. Could someone provide a link?

  • Comment number 8.

    No way David will serve under his brother - maybe he can get a seat next to Gordon Brown on the backbenches.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think David will be off tomorrow there is to much bad blood to remain. I can't imagine Ed taking back the middle classes , anyone with a brain have seen Labour take the country to the brink of bankruptcy , with Ed in charge it will be back to spend , spend , tax and spend . The Labour party don't know any different its in their genes .

  • Comment number 10.

    Is there any evidence that Ed M spoke out against Iraq war at the time? I guess he didn't go on the march but did he speak out against it in public at any time whatsover. Can anyone find any evidence?

  • Comment number 11.

    The thing that Straw, David Milliband and the others who so slavishly supported the Iraq war can't seem to get their heads around is that the majority of Labour supporters didn't agree with them. The outcome of an illegal war has been exactly as predicted. Thats why Ed Milliband's speech is so welcome. He may not be perfect and he certainly isn't Red Ed but at least he's making the right distinctions away from the morally disasterous decisions and views of the previous regime.

  • Comment number 12.

    I am in UNITE, a Conservative supporter and voted for ED Milliband.

    How? Unite sent me a ballot form when I was not entitled to one.

    I voted to do the most damage.

    Unfortunately my first choice, Dianne, didn't make it.

    But I got the second prize, Ed.

    Apparently all the un-affiliated Unite members at my work got a ballot.

    I call that democracy.

  • Comment number 13.

    Oh dear.

    Politicians revealed as hypocrites and opportunists?

    Its unbelievable when they seem so earnest when answering questions.

    Shame we cannot reverse the effects of the Iraq war and mass immigration.

  • Comment number 14.

    Half a million dead and counting in Iraq and all they count for is a little "tiff" between two politicians, two brothers; one of which complains that "his" generation never had a schoolroom that didn't leak. Bless!

  • Comment number 15.

    Dean @ 6 wrote "Do you think that, following the first conference speech by Labour's new leader (and potentially the country's next Prime Minister), the BBC's political editor should focus on (a) the content of the speech, or (b) this kind of political tittle-tattle?"

    I believe the answer is (a), but I've yet to learn of Robinson actually covering any news. But, maybe this tittle-tattle _is_ what passes for politics in some circles.

  • Comment number 16.

    It was acceptable for him to ask a fellow cabinet minister why they were clapping this comment having voted for the invasion. Harriet herself must be feeling foolish as she has since tweeted that she clapped because Ed Miliband was being open and honest. Hm.... I personally cannot stand those who distance themselves from previous decisions because it is the flavour of the month. Rather hypocritical. Further, an experienced MP wrote a few months ago that he had known Ed Miliband for thirteen years and had never heard him query or complain about the Iraq decision. There were other points in his speech which I disagreed with as he sought to distance himself from past leaders. A bit shocked that he was so close to GB and he criticised him. What I got from the speech was criticism (to distance himself)from GB and Tony Blair and then praise for both. He alienated me as a supporter of Tony Blair and of his elder brother. Further, he will never have the leadership qualities or public support that Tony Blair did. How dare he criticise someone who delivered three terms of government....How arrogant....

    Not to worry - he will attract all the newbie members of the party and those on the left as that is where he firmly is despite his efforts today to convince us that he is not. I am now a lapsed member of the party - did not vote for them last time because of the poor leadership.
    I am also a grey voter - nothing he said today appealed to me. He will never get my vote. His brother - the defeated candidate most certainly would have done. David M is a principled politician. He did not bend in the wind that both the current Deputy and Leader did to win power.

  • Comment number 17.

    Dear Nick

    Please give Ed a chance to do his very important job for the country. I understand that you 'feel' your job at the BBC is in a different league to Ed's and that you 'feel' you must protect the licence fee payers from politicians. But why not try to 'feel' a way down from your BBC ego baggage mountain and retire forthwith with a very nice pension. Give the new people on the block a chance - including your rivals within the BBC perhaps?

  • Comment number 18.

    Devondenzil @ 1 is correct on both counts
    How many remember the Michael Foot era?

  • Comment number 19.

    4. At 9:06pm on 28 Sep 2010, Fubar_Saunders wrote:
    "Typical Hattie.

    Overpromoted and with as many faces as a town hall clock.

    Maybe Mrs Bananaman"

    Now I'm really confused! Have I been watching the wrong conference? Who on earth are Hattie and Mrs Bananaman, Fubar_Saunders?

  • Comment number 20.

    I am getting really tired of this gossip columnist approach to political reporting. I expect it of certain newspapers (who have to sell papers) but the BBC who don't have to sell services as we fund them.

  • Comment number 21.

    I have always contended that Miliband senior will for evermore resent his kid brother for usurping his 'rightful' title.

    This hurt will fester long after most of us have forgotten that there ever was a Miliband Dynasty.

  • Comment number 22.

    "He, and many others, deeply resent the way in which Ed - who wasn't an MP at the time - used his rather less than public opposition to the war to win the party leadership."

    Is there a quote attributed to DM "deeply" resenting the way Ed did this?

  • Comment number 23.


    ITV have got it, Bradby ran with it on the main 6.30 news. Watch out for it at 10pm.


    Had there been any real content, apart from vacuous fluff, maybe the BBC's political editor WOULD have concentrated on it. As it was, this was just post-Blair fluff, pitched purely to the converted at conference. It was for domestic consumption only. Same as one of Amadinejad's anti-zionist rants in Tehran. Purely for the ears of the party faithful.

    Who knows whether he'll succeed in being all things to all voters? We'll have to see whether not only the paymaster unions, but his own cabinet let him be any such thing, depending on who he puts in it.

    Theres still a significant Brownian residue left. Nick Brown is still chief whip, Blinky is still in a significant position. Hardly anyone to choose from for cabinet positions who either wasnt tainted by what MiliE appeared to criticise today by being part of it, or isnt considered already to be unfit for cabinet positions (Diane Abbott).

    Its not just about him. He's not another Blair. He's an over promoted, parachuted-in, bag carrying SpAd policy wonk. Same as Clegg, same as Cameron. The power does not lie with him.

  • Comment number 24.

    The Iraq war was an unpopular mistake.

    Whether the Labour Party likes it or not, it needs to move on.

    If all the experienced old new Labour hands moved on that would hardly be a loss to the party now. The Blair Brown party is over. How long it will be till Labour gets back into office is anyone's guess.

    The Labour Party needs to start thinking about the future, and to do that it needs to learn the lessons of the past.

    The Party may think it was right about the Iraq war and the electorate was wrong, but the electorate eventually gets to elect

    Breaking with the past will hardly harm Ed Milliband, it just re-enforces to the electorate that this is something new.

  • Comment number 25.


    Wasnt even an MP at the time, he was one of Gordon's wonks. Gordon wouldnt have let him say anything.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    A party in opposition must always act like a Prime Minister and Government in waiting - even more important given we have a coalition government that fall before the full 5 years - so you would hope that the best talent in the party will be there to put the case to the people. Labour have failed to do that - in electing the wrong Miliand as leader, the net result is one of their best talents and heavy hitters will now languish on the backbenchers - this is a waste of political talent. The star striker is off the pitch and cant be brought on. He could easily take one and show up any of the current CONDEM administration. Labour will struggle without him. Well done Labour! Idiots!

  • Comment number 28.

    Do I understand correctly that even as a potential Prime Minister this chap does not see it as appropriate to get married or even put his name on his son's Birth Certificate? Why so little comment on this? I am clearly well out of touch and had not realised the Labour Party had sunk that low. Let's hope, if it comes to it, the public see it differently.

  • Comment number 29.

    16. jane
    I am also a grey voter - nothing he said today appealed to me. He will never get my vote.
    blimey. gave him a chance then!!! eds first proper speech as leader and thats it............
    wait till the overzealous ConDem cuts start to bite!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    But what does he think was wrong with the Iraq War? Was it the ill fated attempt to try to bring democratic freedom by overthrowing a fascist regime hell bent on weapons of mass destruction (and don't be fooled by the lack of them as that was the Baathists ultimate goal)? If so I wonder what his Dad would have said. Perhaps he thinks all wars are evil no matter the good intentions? Or is he trying to say we screwed up because we handled it so badly after Saddam Hussain was deposed?

    It all sounds so easy with 20:20 hindsight and I am sure many of his old colleagues are feeling pretty angry.

  • Comment number 31.

    I am also in UNITE and was surprised to get a voting paper for the Labour leadership. I also voted for Diane as my #1 mainly because of the command included with the ballot paper to vote for Ed. Ed got #2 due to the old lags on the ballot as the other options.
    I have since resigned from UNITE as I did not realise I was paying for the Labour party for all these years. Eric's post makes me think that maybe I was not in fact paying the Labour party supplement.

  • Comment number 32.

    Ed's maiden speech gave a very clear signal that he is his "own man".

    I guess that means he will metaphorically stamp on the other Ed's balls and on any union interference, which he percieves might threaten his political agenda and appeal to Middle England electorate. Union members caught on camera made naughty divisive asides, when Ed shot a nasty at em from the hip. Tut tut boys - unity and no strings attached must prevail.

    Ed infuriated ex-Blairites and his bro Dave with his message that whilst he intends to hold a moderate centrist ground toward Labour's renewal and the "Good society" it will be underpinned by a much needed return to honouring Labour's core values of equality and fairness. He emphasised the return to the value of humility and honesty. Bit of a non-starter for ten in politics.

    But he sort of addressed the murky "shadow" side of past Labour Blair and Brown governments re their superficial sound bytes, financial scandals, authoritarianism, the celebrity lifestyle proclivities of certain unnamed cabinet ministers and not least, the arrogant denials, lies and misinformation re the iraq war.

    His bro Dave seethed and gave poor Harriet an old New Labour authoritarian cuff around the chops for clapping young Ed re his stance on Iraq. No Geek tragedy here but more a Shakespearean parody of "Hamlet" proportions with more gory blood and backstabbing to fuel mainstream media frenzy. The Daily Mail will wet itself with excitement.

    It looks likely that Dave will quit and stick 2 fingers up to a post in the new Shadow Cabinet. It seems that there is too much pride, ego, bitterness and political divide appearing as cracks in the bros' "lovey, dovey" touchy feely propaganda. A pity, but that's politics. Here today and gone tomorrow. Bye bye Dave.

    A good broad based maiden speech. Not too general and not too specific. But Ed needs to sharpen and hone his presentational style and delivery real fast so that his performance is more polished. He looked and sounded awkward, hesitant and nervous. He needs a tad more of his bro's arrogant confident strutting his stuff routine and to look less like a frozen rabbit caught in the headlights. Ed might get eaten alive by the slick talking slippery deficit slasher - Cameron.

    The irascible Andrew Neil gave yet another strident performance in abrasive grumpy old man style interviews! Loved it!! Perhaps he could coach Ed M for PM question time battles with the big C?

    More ape-like chest thumping from the Con led news rags and Georgie boy as the IMF announced with great alacrity yesterday and of course with no hidden agenda regarding the timing of its announcement that, guess what, the Brit economy is on the up. According to one newspaper it's all due to George Osborne. Yeah boys and pull the other one!

    The IMF is covertly in cahoots with powerful global Banking interests, the Con leader and his economic whizz kid Osborne. Only joking! The last bit anyway. We all know as well as the City that Osborne hasn't a clue re basic economics, business or fiscal policy. No wonder Vince Cable looks and sounds deeply conflicted. He could be secretly planning to jump ship, raise the red flag and pip the lovely Diana for the post of Shadow Chancellor in the Labour camp?

    Now that would eclipse all mother of Freudian psycho-dramas. Dream on George!

  • Comment number 33.

    The story about the new Labour Leader is news today, and for a while. Predictably, he will have problems with the unions and with the left of the party. Sides will be taken. Eventually there will be another - faster - leadership election.

    Ed will not lead Labour into the next election. Labour will lose. And the next, and the next.

    The Cameron government will be returned with an increased majority. The people understand that there needs to be some pain before there is any gain. The finances of the Nation need to be brought under control - just like a family.

    I do not have a crystal ball, but it is all crystal clear to me.

  • Comment number 34.

    This was not the speech of a future Prime Minister. Some of the words used may have been politically-wise (for those watching who deserted Labour in May) but his delivery and style were timid & hesitant... and fairly lacklustre. Nothing to set the pulses racing, there. I'm sure many in the audience at Manchester were thinking "Damn it - we've ended up with the wrong one". As for Miliband No 2 having a go at Harman - quite right, too. Where was her voice against the Iraq War when it mattered? What a hypocrite she is. That tells us so much about her survival within the party when she, like Abbott, seem to have only one card to play - you must vote for me because I'm not a man. Certainly not 'man enough' to actually have some principles. My guess is another change of Labour leadership BEFORE the next General Election and another hung Parliament/coalition required. Tonight the Conservatives will be celebrating Ed's finest hour!

  • Comment number 35.

    I have to laugh David Milliband will now be leaving frontline politics in a huff because he didn't get the top job and will be off to pursue other options! Most people in this country are hanging onto jobs they hate just to stay alive, but David can just waltz off using his connections to some or more likely several highpaying job as an advisor in Business or in Europe with a flick of his fingers with all his many contacts and will no doubt make a stash of cash.

    Funny why someone who has done nothing more useful than politics all their lives so in demand. I mean fair enough if he had some useful skills like a plumber or electrician he could do. Leave the highpaying director jobs to people who are properly qualified to do them I say not washed up politicians on the gravy train like David Milliband and Bliar!!

  • Comment number 36.

    I think its quite possible Ed Miliband will become an "all things for all men" leader, that wont wash with the electorate, we need to be frank now in these times. Criticising both TB and GB and then praising them was a little bit odd if I'm honest. We need to wait for the CSR and the "Spring of discontent" that will inevitably follow to see if he really has the bottle for the job. Another politician who he reminds me of is one Kevin Rudd and we all know what happened to him!

  • Comment number 37.

    Nick, re-read your blog and look at some of the packages that you have going out this evening on the telly. Are you not slightly embarrassed by the tittle tattle, soap opera, X-Factor treatment that you are applying to your chosen specialist subject? You are sounding and reading like Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail.

    Oh, my brother is a raving Tory - we disagree sometimes too.

  • Comment number 38.

    'I'm-Not-Red' Ed actually wrote the last Labour party manifesto, yet here he is saying it's all change under his leadership.

    What humbug!

    Ed also supports Red Ken! As reported by the The London Evening Standard, Ken was asked if Ed's leadership represented a lurch to the left for the Labour party. Ken answered "if only..."

    'Nuff said!

  • Comment number 39.

    Not sure I agree, Mr Robinson, although I called it wrong with AD staying on as Chancellor. I enjoyed a bit of a news blackout for half of Sunday - the peace and quiet was welcome. Apparently AD had said no.

    The fact that Milliband Major rounded on Harman could suggest all sorts of things.

    And if Minor wanted a nice cop/tough cop set up running the Labour show, he could send major off for some training with the SAS and have his bro act as his hatchet man for a while. Adjutant or minder? Couldn't do better to have your brother watch your back, too?

    I think he might need him ...

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    Well he has agreed with most of what the Tories are doing including welfare, cuts, prisons, I mean why bother voting Newer labour stick with the Tories. All Labour has done really is tell people look the war was wrong, Boom and bust was wrong now vote for me.

    It does not happen like this, he then told the Unions do not strike, in the end I think Labours going to be out of power a long long time.

    I mean why bother voting Newer labour because they are a new generation

  • Comment number 42.

    Why is this important Nick? I expect a higher standard of journalism from the BBC, scraping the barrel for this sort of non-story seems pathetic at the very best. Aside from this its only making the news because you seem to want it to and we must assume that this is largely the result of your political affiliation. No points for the story and no points for impartiality!

  • Comment number 43.

    re #12

    I think Dianne Abbott is the most promotable of the five and the one most likely to damage The Coalition. I could see her winning an election for Labour in certain circumstances.

    If you wanted to cause real damage why didn't you get more of your fellow members to back Ed Balls?

    I go with the democracy though ...

  • Comment number 44.

    It's just proves that David is in politics for the P-O-W-E-R, what about about being in government for others for the ordinary individual?

    It is a shame he is going but it shows his true colours, undoutedly the relationship between the brothers will not be the same.

  • Comment number 45.


    Er...this is 2010, not 1930. Ed Ms personal life has what to do with his political ability ?

  • Comment number 46.

    The David Miliband moment with Harriet Harman was one where you drew a sharp intake of breath if you are a Labour supporter. Harriet Harman exposed herself as being just another politician. Voting for one thing, applauding another, before half back-tracking. Pathetic. David Miliband really should stick by Labour and his brother, but i wouldn't blame him for walking away disillusioned. Sad loss for the party if that's the case.

  • Comment number 47.

    I opposed the war and even I am disgusted at the way Ed Miliband has used the issue for personal advancement. Is there any evidence he opposed the war?

  • Comment number 48.

    This is getting interesting.

    The younger Milliband is showing himself to be someone who will not just sell his brother and political party down the river if it suits his needs but he will probably do it to any one who challenges him.

    it bothers me that he want to claim the idea of grown up politics for himself when he behaves like politicians have behavedover the centuries.

    I wonder what big brother David will say/do. If I was in his place I'd get the hell out of it fast!

  • Comment number 49.

    Brother David is in politics for the fame. His brother beat him to the top job, Get over it Nick Robinson because Blair, Brown, Straw and D.Miliband are history.

    Tories will rue this weekend. Labour will never win under David, the country wants change and Labour under Ed will give it them. Get on the train Nick.

  • Comment number 50.

    Well less Red Ed, more Ed the Talking Horse...seriously Ed come of it...anti iraq war, thats a bit johnny come lately isn't it... I never heard you say that before. If you did you kept it quiet. Lets be honest folks, the unions voted this guy in pure and simple...Never going to get my vote Mr Ed.... David would have, he still will, I hope he doesn't leave the commons... stay David.... you will be needed sooner than you think...And good on David for Challenging Harmen...stop clapping you voted for the war Harriet!!! Good on David...

  • Comment number 51.

    #23 Fubar (why not use your real name?).

    1. A politician trying to court popularity? Well, how surprising.

    2. You seem dissatisfied with the quality of our current political leaders. Perhaps if we had a political commentariat who, instead of being the political equivalent of the 3am girls, were instead capable of holding politicians' feet to the fire, they would be forced to up their game?

  • Comment number 52.

    @28 Leslie Singleton wrote:
    "Do I understand correctly that even as a potential Prime Minister this chap does not see it as appropriate to get married or even put his name on his son's Birth Certificate? Why so little comment on this?"

    Two very very good questions that I hope will elicit some response.

    The blank entry on the birth certificate speaks volumes to me about the mans character and moral attitude.

    Must have wanted to avoid the attention of the CSA.

  • Comment number 53.

    I don't think Labour lost the General Election because of the Iraq war. After all, the Tories were more pro the war than they were and they won the most seats, didn't they?

    I think Ed Miliband used that as a way to try and woo Libdems who really were against the war. Hardball tactics, aren't they?

    Maybe also positioning himself to say to America: 'if you think I'll just turn round and back another one, think again........we'll do it by the book or not at all.......'

    Interesting that Con Coughlin in the DT says as a result, he's not fit to be PM. My post asking who I needed to murder, get gang raped and be exposed to depleted uranium in order to be a fit PM then was, unsurprisingly, snipped, but not before a few recommendations and answers were logged first. But a good question to answer the gung ho Iraq war diehards, I guess? Because that's what the war caused..........

    What one can say from the BBC pictures is that he's not yet a smooth, slick, smarmy politician yet. That will endear him to the electorate and make him a target for the media, political opponents and international bullies. How he handles that will determine his future......

    I'm not surprised by what he said, as all the Press said he had 72 hours to shape his leadership or be shaped by others. If those are the rules of the game, he played by them.

    I didn't see anything in that speech to justify all the OTT rubbish of the right wing press. Because I didn't see anything of sufficient substance yet to be a threat. Strange therefore that the right wing felt a need to go into the gutter. Unless of course the message from on high is that gutter politics is what the media moguls want............

  • Comment number 54.

    I completely agree with all those who are suggesting that this blog is pretty- let's face it- petty. I love the BBC because it is exactly not a gossip rag that delights in celebrities showing their knickers (or tiny possible slips by politicians off the record). And I'm deeply disappointed that someone with Nick Robinson's intelligence and incredible experience would be interested in this frankly trivial issue.

    David has behaved with great grace in the face of a considerable set back, if not (as Nick suggests) the end of his career in the limelight of politics. Ed has shown humility and affection for his brother. When the Labour party is slowly dragging itself out of the Cain and Abel struggles that have marred the last ten years must we demand that they return to old habits? Please, BBC, don't create drama for the sake of headline interest.

  • Comment number 55.

    In the sense that I am a "consumer" of the consequences that political activity have for me, I am not interested in any particular party in terms of its life outside what happens in parliament.

    I have a 4 decade allegience to Labour because on the whole they give me a better prospect of achieving the society I value than any other party. Warts and all, I should say, because I have been extremely disappointed and felt let down by Labour in power eg. for its rather causal approach to dealing with human rights issues and civil liberties, and its target driven approach to public sector reform, and its finger wagging tendency over moral and other issues.

    So, being rather frustrated and saddened that we are now governed by the Tories whos eem hell bewnt on destroying our political, social and economic foundations , I am expecting Labour to deliver a healthy electable agenda as a matter of urgency.

    I dont think labour will be electable very soon if it throws away the ethos and electability of the New Labour idea prematurely.

    But it looks like Ed M is going that way.


  • Comment number 56.

    Its no surprise to me that Ed won, his TV manner was at times brilliant.
    But it now seems to be ghastly mistake. As a Tory, I can see now that they've elected the true heir to Brown, who wrote the manifesto, who was in the bunker, and is over-analytical and lacking the emotive touch. Also, like Brown, he will say anything to get power. There is a point when you actually want your opponent to stop making mistakes, this is it.

  • Comment number 57.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 58.

    Oh Nick, you are such an obvious Tory it hurts. Check tomorrow's newspaper headlines. Which ones concentrate on the speech and which on the brothers? That affiliates the BBC coverage with the Daily Mail. Why don't you go and work for your true masters.

  • Comment number 59.

    I watched the speech live and was impressed that Ed M:
    1. Managed to pick out the positive achivements of Labour, a) in general and b) over the last 13 years. Some of these achivements are quite remarkable - such as the Northern Ireland agreement. Of course there are many people who have been trained by the media to just shout "Labour - boo - rubbish". No doubt they are waiting for their favourite papers to tell them what to think in the morning.
    2. I thought that EM also set out the things that hs didn't agree on, and he made those very clear.
    3. He managed, I thought, to distance himself from the unions properly, by setting out the good works of the unions (and thre are many) versus the bad things. Again the media have trained people to say "Boo- hiss-unions".
    4.He clearly set out his position as being on the centre ground, correctly identifying that cuts have to be made yes, but that the present Tory Wrecking-ball approach is only going to do more harm than good, and that an intelligent balance has to be struck between cutting and investing, as mass unemployment is not good for anyone.
    5. He set out his position on electoral reform.
    On all of the above points I thought that he did rather well.

    At this stage, as a brand new leader we wanted to see who he is and what he is about. First signs are pretty encouraging.
    Also at this stage, more then spouting specifics about individual polices, we needed to see where his compass points, what his principles are, and from what point he will base his strategy.

    I am not a member of any party, I did not vote Labour last time, I think that I will be doing so next time.
    Why Nick et al, do we have so much coverage of what David M might be saying to Harriet Harman. David M has been excellent about this whole thing, it can't have been easy. You can't expect him to be overjoyed that he lost. However he really has done everything to support his brother.
    Meanwhile we are on the cusp of horrendous savage cuts by a millionair coaltion of politicians too wrapped up in an outdated dogma to understand what they are doing.
    Can't you focus on those real issues, and not keep banging on about the guy's brother who in the end did not win?

  • Comment number 60.

    Dear Nick,

    I'm pretty darned tired of your reporting style, which borders on (if not delves feet first) into tittle-tattle.

    I watched the live coverage of Ed's speech and this report (along with several others I read today - many also written by you) fails to analyze the substance of what was said, instead focusing on headline grabbing gossip.

    David's reaction at this point in the speech is hardly surprising given his personal stance on the issue. There is no evidence of a rift, and he has gone out of his way to support the new Labour leader. Nonetheless you (and some of your colleagues) are determined to whip up trouble, rather than impartially reporting the important details. For a BBC political correspondent I find this pretty unbecoming - Perhaps you should have stayed at ITV where this kind of 'reporting' is more readily accepted.

    I should add that I almost never comment on news pages publicly, however I am tired of the spin-based reporting that you seem to thrive on, both on-camera and in print.

    Incidentally, I'm not a hardened Labour supporter. I'm what you might term a "floating voter" who takes an active interest in all things political. Today's speech by a possible future Prime Minister deserves more grown-up reporting that it has received.

    Lee Fletcher

  • Comment number 61.

    Why am I not surprised by this blog? The BBC with Nick Robinson spearheading wastes no time to focus on a side incident to take the gloss of not a brilliant but at least honest speech that attempts to break with Labour's past. I am sure if Ed would not have mentioned Irag at all he would have been accused of failing to leave the New Labour demons behind. With some political commentators Labour can just never win.

    I am just waiting to see whether Nick will also bounce on similar divisions evident in the Conservative conference (Liam Fox and Trident anyone?) or whether the free ride of the government continues in his blog.

  • Comment number 62.

    Re mine @40

    Never been removed before, so lets try again.

    Amazed at the coverage given to Hazel Blears on todays BBC bulletins.

    I find this woman to be the antithesis of decent politics.

    I don't find the waving of £13000 re-payment cheques in the face of the voters an adequate penance for exploitation of the expenses system.

    Hope this version of my sentiments towards this woman does not upset the moderators.

  • Comment number 63.

    #31 TooFar,
    Did you tick you supported the Labour Party?
    Maybe this explains why nearly 10% of the papers were spoiled. I think that was the number they quoted, most for not putting a tick where it asked for confirmation about supporting the Labour Party.

  • Comment number 64.


    Because if he isnt even prepared to put his name on his own son's birth certificate, what else isnt he prepared to do? Is he ashamed of him? Its perfectly simple. The kid is his flesh and blood.

    There wasnt a chav underclass in 1930. People might have been poor then, but at least they had some semblance of proper family values. Your lot have quite happily stoked the fire that have given us that underclass and see nothing wrong in the way the person who is hoping to be the next PM, someone the rest of us are meant to look up to, cant even bring himself to declare himself openly to be the father of his own kid?

    What kind of man is he? Typical lefty talking down to the electorate. This kind of stuff means a lot to voters, a lot of them traditional Labour voters. Ed and you for that matter, had better get a handle on that if you expect the sheeple to vote you back in.

    As Cameron found, its not enough just to be what your predecessor wasnt, if you're to get a working majority. If you lot think that it really could happen, that you're going to be returned on the crest of a wave out of hatred for the coalition in four years, you're mugs.

    Remember, AV is highly likely to come in, there are going to be boundary changes which will wipe out a lot of your numerical advantage, between them UKIP and the BNP polled a million votes. More than the SNP.

    Labour arent the only game in town. It is brazen arrogance to think that the public still only think in terms of "them and us".

    I should imagine for all the tactical repositioning that is going on under MiliE, that even he isnt going to be as full of brazen chutzpah as that. Thats a mugs game.

  • Comment number 65.

    Well said Miranda (Comment 54)

    Both of the brothers have been very loyal. David has shown really good grace. This web-site has not yet been taken over by Murdock, so while it still says BBC and not "The Sun" at the top of the page, let's see the tone of this blog raised a bit please.

    Otherwise we will this blog decend into cheap remarks about marital status - oh no wait, too late. Have you seen comments 28 and 52?

  • Comment number 66.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    LSAV wrote:

    "It's just proves that David is in politics for the P-O-W-E-R"

    What other reason is there to be in politics? The party of which I am still a member (just) has failed to grasp this point, or at least the Trade Unions have. What makes me want to cry are those seem to rejoice in being in Opposition. Sadly, with Ed's election, on this particular platform, that is where we are going to stay, for longer than was necessary. The price will be paid, not by professional politicians and union leaders, but by ordinary people.

  • Comment number 69.

    #35 EalingWelsh
    Have you ever really listened to a David Milliband speech or lecture?
    If you only judged people as being worthwhile for having useful skills where would artists and musicians fit?
    Surely it's easer to learn how to be a plumber or electrician than to command the respect of an audience.

  • Comment number 70.

    At 9:12pm on 28 Sep 2010, lockelamora wrote:
    "No way David will serve under his brother - maybe he can get a seat next to Gordon Brown on the backbenches."

    Are you suggesting that Gordon Brown is actually using a seat on the back benches?

  • Comment number 71.

    Harman's actions just reinforce everything we already knew about her. Miliband E was desperately dull and immediately failed the 'can you imagine him as PM' test.

  • Comment number 72.

    Ed Millibands victory as labour leader is great news. It ensures that Labour will be in opposition for a long time and David Cameron will remain Prime Minister. They like to present a united front to us but really, do they really think the public is so slow that they cannot see through the smiles and shows of fake unity that all these Labour "has beens" are so keen to display to us during their conference??

  • Comment number 73.

    I am a member of the Conservative party but I am not happy. I should be, because the Labour Party has made a huge gaffe, but I am not 'because' they have made a huge gaffe. The government is often only as good as its opposition but we no longer have a credible opposition. Labour have done us all a huge disservice and should be ashamed of themselves - I think they realise that now.

  • Comment number 74.

    It is true that Ed sought votes by stating he was against the Iraq war, even though he did not make his opposition to it very public at the time. That is essentially dishonest. I am not surprised that many feel he won the leadership election in a less than straightforward way. My bet is that this will come back to haunt him within the next 2-3 years.

    The real horror story would come if David leaves front-bench politics and the Party end up with Balls as shadow chancellor. That would be total disaster in terms of any hopes for the next election.

  • Comment number 75.

    "...and Iraq war! ...that was wrong;...let's be honest about it!" -was Ed's opening remark on war. The oppertunism did not end there, ....sadly, to add:

    "...since US has drawn a line under it(Iraq war episode!) so are we."

    So, Mr. Miliband, how many such supports to US are we to lend in such unethical endeavour, before we follow them quickly to draw such line(s)?, ...after remarking to our hypocritic political convenience.

    Come off such...honest hypocrisy -to cause party Tori's laugh.

  • Comment number 76.

    61 grossknu

    Nick is accused of bias from all sides - maybe he has got the balance right?

    This story is more than tittle-tattle, it demonstrates how divided the Labour Party still is and why David M could not possibly work with his brother.

    On your other point, a letter from Liam Fox to David Cameron has been leaked to the Telegraph and has been published in full in tomorrow's edition. It makes for interesting reading.

  • Comment number 77.

    Nick, disappointed that with the chance to do some good honest balanced political reporting in terms of whether the 'Red Ed' jibs were justified, or what an Ed Miliband govt might look like and stand for, based on his maiden speech. Instead we got a bit of Gossip Columnist Tittle-Tattle that can be read whichever way you feel (and thus whichever part of the political spectrum you happen to support) along with a bit of unsubstantiated speculation which you don't elaborate on. Normally I can see a clear dividing line between the BBC and the Daily Mail, but not on this count. Seems to me that whatever David Miliband does, positively or negatively, those with a right-wing agenda are going to do their best to 'read into it' as much as they possibly can to try and manufacture 'rifts' and 'splits'.

  • Comment number 78.

    I remember seeing Ed Milliband on Question Time several years ago, I think shortly after the 2005 election. He was impressive and I was convinced I had seen a future prime minister.

    Sadly, he now comes across as an opportunist. I have voted for both Blair and Cameron, and was strongly against Iraq. But both Blair and Cameron understood the centre ground. Brown didn't. David Milliband would have had a great chance of being the next prime minister and was the Labour party's best hope by a mile. I don't think Ed will have any chance of winning a general election unless he sells out entirely on the principles which got him to where he is today - which, whatever else you may think of him, Tony Blair never did. To put it another way, would Ed Milliband ever have scrapped Clause 4?

  • Comment number 79.

    Why is it so bad that someone in authority actually speaks the truth about the Iraq war? Of course is was wrong and the Hutton enquiry was a stitch up in the face of the evidence. Gilligan had it right.

  • Comment number 80.

    The trick for Ed M is to make Labour sufficiently different from the ConDems to give the electorate a real choice without looking like a left wing nutter. His brother could have done the latter but not the former in my opinion. If Ed succeeds the ConDSems won't stand a chance because no one except the right wing nutters actually really likes them now never mind after their polices really start to bite.

    This speech was a first step down that path and if that upsets his brother or Jack Straw disagrees with his stance on Iraq, so what? The decision to go to war in Iraq was hugely unpopular with many Labour supporters and many of those who voted for Labour for the first time and the fact the old guard such as Straw won't acknowledge it was a mistake shows they still misjudge how not doing so is perceived. Iraq was the first nail in the coffin of Blair and New Labour and Ed M has pulled that nail in one go.

  • Comment number 81.

    I thought David Miliband was absolutely right to chide Harman - those who made the decision to go to Iraq made their bed and thus ought to lie in it; to do anything else does come across as a bit hypocritical.

    So actually, I find I respect him a little bit more than I would've if he'd just sat there silently..... And a lot more than if he'd applauded like a sheep, eager to back the new ticket. Politicians ought to account for their actions, rather than change their tune when the situation suits.

    Do his actions today show that a working relationship with his brother is now irrepairable? That seems to be jumping to conclusions at best. Lest we forget David Cameron and Nick Clegg had more and greater differences of principle than simply the Iraq issue (and still have, in many areas) and they're currently running the country together.

    Whether Miliband Snr decides to stick around or get out will be down to more complex, subtle and numerous considerations than those which led him to (rightly) rebuke Harman for being a turncoat.

    Had he merely sat there in silence and not applauded like Darling, Straw etc, it would probably have passed without note in the media. Sorry Nick - I generally have no axe to grind with your work, but this one does seem a little sensationalist.

    On a separate note: Miliband Jnr wasn't in the government when it chose to go into Iraq and frankly, if he's said he opposed it at any stage in the past five years, few of Joe Public will have taken the blindest bit of notice anyway. If it transpires he ever said he *supported* it, then by all means give him a trashing - but otherwise let the guy make his position clear now he has the platform and allow people (both inside his party and outside) to begin judging him on it. That'a what we're interested in.

    The sooner central figures in the parliamentary Labour Party realise they need to move on from the monochrome Blairites v Brownites struggle, the better for them - because *neither* of those former PMs appeal to anything like a majority of the British electorate now. Note how tactful the Tories had to be in this past decade regarding Thatcher.

    So although I'm not convinced that Ed Miliband will lead Labour back to being electable, it might be the kick in the pants they need to start regaining a bit of credibility.

  • Comment number 82.

    Well said Ed.

    It had to be admitted.

  • Comment number 83.

    Strikes me as an entirely legitimate question for David Miliband to ask of Harriet Harman. Can't see what the fuss is about vis a vis the Milibands. It is not as if the two brothers agreed on everything while the were contesting the leadership.

    Somewhat underwhelmed by the level of reporting here. Indeed, looking at Nick's blog entries from Labour in Manchester compared with the entries from the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool it is clear this week is just endless gossip column chatter in comparison.

    There are certainly issues for Labour with respect to the Milibands that the media will retain focus on though and they won't be solved or go away irrespective of whether David is on the front bench or the back benches. It seems clear the media is determined to drive a wedge between them and persist in making David the story.

    Either way, David is sure to be identified as the rallying point for any dissatisfaction with Ed which means that resigning as an MP is the only logical way to go for David if the babbling amateur psychoanalytical drama queens are to be believed.

    Most people I know - Labour, LibDem, Tory, and Nationalist alike - avoid watching television and cannot find a newspaper to read these days. We have editors to thank for that.

    Dismal to realise I contribute to Nick's wages not for news but for the gut instinct expressed on camera earlier. Maybe gutter instinct would have been the words to use, Nick.

  • Comment number 84.

    A lot of political naivete here.

    Do you really think Ed's deal with the unions is to rush headlong into supporting anti-Coalition strikes? Of course not.

    He will appear to head off the impending strikes but their money always carries a price in terms of election policy. When you see the actual manifesto Labour run on and what they do with any power they obtain - then judge for yourselves if the tag Red Ed applies.

    I'm sure you will find that they are not quite as dumb nor as straight as they used to be - they will cover their tracks well enough until the time comes for the debt to be repaid.

  • Comment number 85.

    Re No. 45: a reply to my deprecation of ghastly Ed Milliband's neither getting married nor even naming himself on his son's Birth Certificate--that's assuming he is his son--the presumption seems to be against this else why on earth do it?

    I take gr8 comfort from the fact that the comment didn't seem able to recognise that what counts is whether the people would ultimately back a man who would behave like this and apparently casually and gratuitously.

    What his political abilities (scilicet back stabbing and lying) have to do with it I have no clue.

  • Comment number 86.

    What a joke the Labour Conference really is!!!
    They are so desparate to express their opposition to the new coalition government that they are making big mistakes.
    Ed M made clear his opposition to wildcat strikes resulting in stoney looks from union leaders, his opposition to the Iraq war which had David M telling Harman off for clapping etc. He did admit there would have been cuts under Labour which had delegates looking in all directions but the camera !!!
    This sad bunch of people seemed to think they had just won an election rather than elected a leader - it's about as close they'll get for many a year thank God.

  • Comment number 87.

    Some have posted here that Labour has made a mistake in electing Ed Miliband as its leader. That may be so but more damaging would be the corollary - professional and personal - that Ed was wrong to stand against his brother.

    The consequences of political error potentially affect the lives of many people and are sufficiently far reaching that we maybe need to ask ourselves how wise it is to elect young and inexperienced leaders.

    The commentaries around the Miliband story suggest that David is finished politically because he didn't win the leadership and that implicitly embraces the notion that he is too old for a second chance. Surely such "cult of youth" thinking is errant.

    I think D. Cameron, G. Osborne, N. Clegg, and E. Miliband are all too young for their jobs. Maybe, one day, an older and wiser D. Miliband will still reach Number 10.

  • Comment number 88.

    I can't believe a lot of people think Ed Miliband is left wing, or 'left leaning. It just shows how far to the right this country has shifted in the past 30+ years. When Harold Wilson was in office, many labour supporters and even some of his own MPs berated him for being too moderate! If Ed was a true lefty he'd be re nationalising the railways and putting a stop to the private companies that are worming their way into our public services. Somehow I can't see that kind of thing being in the next labour manifesto!
    I think Ed should be given a chance, he is the moderate Miliband. David has shown his true colours with his reaction to his brothers election. He seems to be full of resentment and he appears to be more interested in spitting the dummy and sticking two fingers up at his brother, rather than getting on with his job, serving his constituents and the wider public.
    I like to think that's why people enter politics but obviously not in David Miliband's case and he's doing an excellent job of showing it.
    As for the media in general, they're fueling the fire as usual, some of them seem to be professional trouble stirrers rather than serious journalists! Maybe its all part of the job....

  • Comment number 89.

    It's only when a light of a different colour is shone onto those 'supporters' around you, that the imposters stand out from the crowd. Let's hope that Ed's (red?) light picks out the blue 'Labour' MP's and sends them scurrying off to their appropriate hidey-holes.... the Demolition Party? or preferably oblivion.

    The dangers are the chameleons like Harriet Harman who one day (on News Night) says that Labour should apologise for supporting the attack on Iraq and the next day denies she said it. These people, who change their colours to camouflage their views, are not so easy for the inexperienced to spot. Ed would do well to take a course in colour recognition lest he be ambushed.

    He should also bear in mind one of the sayings of the late Sir John Harvey Jones, "sometimes you have to kill your favourite children" or in this case, brother.

  • Comment number 90.

    @ various - now living abroad, I am constantly amazed at the superficial level of coverage and comments on British politics by the likes of Mr Robinson, who clearly gets high on the hot air of the Wstminster bubble. As many of you say - his comments are mostly unfounded speculation and tittle tattle that would have found pride of place in the columns of Nigel Dempster and the like. The bad news is that it is all dressed up and peddled by programmes like "Today" (don't get me started on Sarah Montague) as analysis. Yesterday the programme was stuffed with cozy "double act" interviews doing nothing but "big-up" any division between the two Milibands and to try to undermine the legitimacy of the election (presumably because the result was not the one that Mr Robinson predicted with glee at the end of the first round vote).

    It was revealed by Mr Robinson that Mr David Miliband's wife (apparently a violinist but completely unheard of outside the few who follow the London Symphony Orchestra or frequent the corridors of Westminster) was "furious" at the leadership result. Are we really to believe that this revelation was of sufficient interest, importance or indeed, surprise to anyone that it warrants talking about as if it is a significant development for the national political scene? Actually now I come to think of it, Nigel Dempster is deceased. Maybe there is an opening suitable to the talents and ability of Mr Robinson at the Daily Mail?

  • Comment number 91.

    Ed should never have stood against David. In my mind it brings his judgement into question. If his judgement is sound - and by virtue of winnning some might argue that it is - then it suggests he may simply be an opportunist or just hopelessly immature.

    I really do not believe Ed has ramified the depths of the potential personal consequences of standing against David. Ed's victory may well prove Pyrrhic for him personally. Same applies if Ed wins a general election - which he might.

  • Comment number 92.

    "Do I understand correctly that even as a potential Prime Minister this chap does not see it as appropriate to get married or even put his name on his son's Birth Certificate? Why so little comment on this?" (Leslie Singleton, @ 28)

    I feel sure that you will, in the fullness of time, find Ed's son's birth registered in the Jewish Chronicle. This will give the full geaneology, as is common practice for those of the faith.

  • Comment number 93.

    So, not content with his first act of fratricide, Ed Miliband decided to twist the knife yet further during his opening speech.

    What a delightful family these Milibands have turned out to be.

    There is no longer any need to ask the question - it's written all over the faces of everyone at conference. They all hate each other.

    It's Greek, Shakespearean and biblical but it isn't a government in waiting. Salt into wounds doesn't begin to cover the damage this juvenile has inflicted in sixty minutes of vacuous, self indulgent fresh air. There is more content in the inflight magazine of a budget airline than policy in this speech.

    He will learn sooner than expected that words are cheap - like all the other failed labour leaders.

  • Comment number 94.

    I know, Mr Robinson,
    let's show these people who say your blog content is shallow and spurious. Let's show them what REAL political journalism looks like.
    Just for once, give us/them a really erudite and closely reasoned analysis of some political circumstance; and let's see how the posters respond to an intellectual, even academic discourse.
    You may be surprised, and find they/we respond in the same manner - now THAT would be good all round!
    How about doing a political comparison of UK elections and the imminent Brazilian elections? - lots of left/further left, BNP & national socialism, corruption & ethics, etc, etc. Really red-meat stuff!

  • Comment number 95.

    Dean@6 wrote; "Do you think that, following the first conference speech by Labour's new leader (and potentially the country's next Prime Minister), the BBC's political editor should focus on (a) the content of the speech, or (b) this kind of political tittle-tattle?"

    Dean, the role of such excellent political commentators as Nick, and Andrew Marr before him, is to tell us the story behind the story, or as you call it, "tittle - tattle". We can focus on what little "content" politicians include in their speeches for ourselves. I admire your optimism, Ed the country's next Prime Minister ? Dream on, Labour have just elected a modern day Michael Foot - unelectable as history shows.

  • Comment number 96.

    As Labour and their supporters are very good at rewriting history I can see them in future pretending Iraq was all the Tory's fault. And some will even believe it. After all they blamed the whole of the credit crisis on banks when it was obviously the Labour government's rabid enthusiasm for inflating house prices, which explained why it was a much more serious concern in this country than others.

  • Comment number 97.

    The appointment of Ed Miliband is a measure of how far the politics of Britain has fallen in recent years. A man who will say anything to become leader and then run as fast as possible from his stated position as a candidate, is not to trusted or respected. If Ed Miliband believed the Iraq war was wrong and that young people were dying for nothing, he would never have joined a Government that had executed such a war. There is also no honour in a person who would use underhand methods to achieve high office by these methods. His aim was to win at any cost against a much more talented elder brother.

    David Miliband has gone up in my estimation by standing by and owning a decision he made in Government. He himself may have his doubts about Iraq, but at least he has stood by the decision made by a Government he was part of. He may well have considered how Britains troops, that were badly injured, feel to hear a past Government that made this decision, declare what a mistake it has been. This point obviously passed the ever empty headed Harman by.

    I hope that David Miliband will leave politics and cut out a career for himself elsewhere. In time I also hope he is able to prove to the public what a ruthless opportunist his Brother is.

    Ed Miliband has neither the ability nor the bearing to be seen as a World leader. This is probably the biggest mistake Labour have made to date. Britain is not only economically broken but politically as well. These politicians are not servants of the people, just professional power seekers.

  • Comment number 98.


    I do not know the circumstances surrounding the birth certificate of EMs child...neither do you. Equally I am not privy to details of his relationship with his partner...neither are you.

    When you are perhaps you will be better qualified to comment. Or like me you may feel it is a matter for the people directly involved and has little relevance on a political blog.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    To Leslie Singleton (28), regarding Ed's marital status and his child's surname, in case you hadn't notoced, this big lumbering thing called the 21st Century has come along, where people are allowed to have children out of 'wedlock' and women/children don't need to take their partner's/father's name! Hardly of relevance to political debate at the moment!


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