Monday, March 06, 2006


Miliband: through his blog shall we know him

Ambition for the top prize is an elusive quality to discern in politicians; too much enthusiasm tends to disqualify while too little often smacks of the disingenuous. David Miliband is a good case in point. He is a little over 40, boasts a high-flier academic and, to date, political CV, having being in the Cabinet since May 2005. George Osbourne has already said, in my hearing, that he would prefer to face Gordon Brown as leader rather than this personable, youthful son of Marxist academic Ralph Miliband. With so much going for him it must be hard for the precocious rising star to ignore the voices suggesting he might consider standing against Brown when Blair finally steps down. It is my belief that he has already decided to set his sights on Downing St.

Evidence? He has recently issued a major speech and shared in a pamphlet about decentralisation of power down the level which will revive our flagging political culture and once again involve voters in our political system. OK, this could be seen as part of his official brief for local communities but the press, by dubbing him the leading light of Labour's 'Primrose Hill Set'-the counterpoint to cameron's 'Notting Hill Set', seems to have reaached the same conclusion as I have.
And now we hear of his latest move to deploy the thoughts of the young pretender to a throne which surely would have surprised a father somewhat dismissive of parliamentary routes to major socio-political change. He is beginning a blog.

Why should this provide a signal of vaulting ambition? Because Cabinet ministers as expected to sit tightly within their briefs and not stray outside it- already we read Sir Gus O'Donnel is concerned the blog will intrude into other policy areas and wishes to defuse the problem. But if you have wider ambitions, you have to show you can handle the much, much wider brief prime minister. Look at how Gordon has been doing exactly this over the last month or so. But if speeches are very public and high risk, blogs are low key and, if necessaey, easily disowned as personal musings; but, they are very effective at disseminating ideas. Or so we bloggers think. So stand by for a series of thoughts from the young tyro on possibly the full range of government policy. Through their blogs shall we know them. We bloggers know.

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