updated March 2009
updated April 2009
updated May 2009
updated September 2009
updated October 2009
updated November 2009
updated February 2010
updated May 2010
updated September 2011
updated February 2012
How many more prime ministers is David Miliband destined
to be rumoured to succeed?
Hard to remember, but two years ago, David Miliband was
being spoken of as a successor
to Tony Blair.
And only six months ago, he thought he might take
on Gordon Brown.
You can only become leader of the Labour Party with union
support. And that, as the Daily Mail made graphically clear, doesn't
exist. Not for David Miliband:
would be better off with Cameron': Union chief brands Miliband a 'smug
and arrogant s***'
We live in a profane age but, even so, it is rare for a
newspaper headline like that to be published. Rarer still for the same
man to be the subject of two such headlines, and with only five days between
the f*** are you to lecture me?': Russian minister's extraordinary rant
at David Miliband
It seems that Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister,
was no more impressed with David Miliband than Derek Simpson, joint head
of one of the UK's biggest unions, Unite.
A Whitehall source said: 'It was effing this
and effing that ... It was not what you would call diplomatic language.
It was rather shocking.'
Even more shocking when you realise that the man who provokes
these responses is the UK's Foreign Secretary, with responsibility for
the Diplomatic Service.
Mr Miliband was 'surprised' by the ferocity
of the verbal attack and the nature of the language, an insider close
to the Foreign Secretary added.
He may be surprised, but we aren't. Not any more.
These Foreign Secretaries get about a bit and his latest
trip was to India:
Why did he think it was tactful or clever to
deliver a speech declaring there was no such thing "as the war on terror"
in the Taj Hotel in Mumbai where dozens of innocent people were killed
in a hail of machine gun bullets by terrorists? Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group
linked with the murderous attack, welcomed our Foreign Secretary's "positive
He also caused outrage with a simplistic approach
to the Kashmir crisis which triggered outraged accusations in India of
meddling and appeasement ...
He also caused grave offence by addressing his
host, Pranab Mukherjee, 73, by his first name even though the veteran
foreign minister called Miliband "Your Excellency".
The Indian Prime Minister is reputed to have written a letter
of complaint to Gordon Brown about David Miliband's behaviour. If he did,
it is unprecedented in international diplomacy.
Since the India trip, Irwin Stelzer has effectively written
letter of complaint on behalf of the US:
There is a rather significant impediment at
the Foreign Office – the Foreign Secretary. Americans who have dealt with
David Miliband confirm what many British journalists have long known.
The Foreign Secretary is arrogant, given to lecturing veteran American
diplomats on policies and regions of which he has only the most superficial
According to his own estimation, David Miliband is "in
tune with the 'I can' generation".
That may be, but his facility for upsetting people* threatens
his own party. Major
donors to the Labour Party don't get peerages any more and that leaves
the party financially dependent on the unions, for David Miliband's success
with which, please see above. Perhaps he meant it when he said in 2007:
we need to fight the instinct of bureaucracies
and political parties to hold on to power
This leadership bid of his, aimed at the kamikaze wing of
the Labour Party, would be all very well if they were the only people
affected. But of course they're not.
David Miliband threatens our international relations. Even-handedly,
it must be admitted, with no favour shown to old friends. And no dogma.
He doesn't like dogma:
Labour’s success has been built on the Blair/Brown
mantra that 'what counts is what works' ... from independence of the Bank
of England to ASBOs to nuclear power, Labour ditched dogma and embraced
So out goes the carefully developed British
stance on Tibet:
Last month ... Gordon Brown, the British prime
minister, asked China to give money to the International Monetary Fund,
in return for which Beijing would expect an increase in its voting share.
Now there is speculation that a trade-off for this arrangement involved
a major shift in the British position on Tibet ...
... an announcement on Oct. 29 by David Miliband, the British foreign
secretary, that after almost a century of recognizing Tibet as an autonomous
entity, Britain had changed its mind. Miliband said that Britain had decided
to recognize Tibet as part of the People's Republic of China. He even
apologized that Britain had not done so earlier ...
Miliband described the British position as an anachronism and a colonial
The British concession to China last month was buried within a public
statement calling on Beijing to grant autonomy in Tibet, leading some
to accuse the British government of hypocrisy ...
Britain's concession could be China's most significant achievement on
Tibet since American support for Tibetan guerillas was ended before Nixon's
visit to Beijing.
Out goes the British
stance on torture:
The existence of an official interrogation policy emerged
during cross-examination in the high court in London of an MI5 officer
who had questioned one of the detainees, Binyam Mohamed, the British
resident currently held in Guantánamo Bay ...
The Guardian has learned from other sources that the
interrogation policy was directed at a high level within Whitehall and
that it has been further developed since Mohamed's detention in Pakistan.
Evidence of this might emerge from 42 undisclosed US documents seen
by the high court and sent to the MPs and peers on the intelligence
and security committee (ISC).
And in comes the duplicitous manipulation of the British
courts, getting them to suppress evidence by pretending that a letter
solicited from the US had actually been received as a surprise, a threat
from out of the blue:
Miliband's position in the affair came under renewed
attack yesterday after it emerged that his officials solicited a letter
from the US state department to back up his claim that if the evidence
was disclosed, Washington might stop sharing intelligence with Britain.
The claim persuaded the high court judges to suppress what they called
"powerful evidence" relating to Mohamed's ill-treatment.
Edward Davey, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, today
described the move as possibly "one of the most outrageous deceptions
of parliament, the judiciary and the British people. There must be an
immediate investigation, with all related correspondence made public."
March 2009: the police are now investigating allegations of UK collusion
in torture, 'We
did things differently in my day, Mr Miliband'.
* a facility which remains undiminished, 'Miliband
in stand-up row with Sri Lanka defence minister over civilian deaths'.
May 2009: David
Miliband's piccolo diplomacy
June 2009: Tortuous
evasions on torture, Breaking
the rules on torture
July 2009: Revealed
– the secret torture evidence MI5 tried to suppress, David
Davis MP accuses MI5 of 'outsourcing torture', Binyam
Mohamed: police to investigate claims British agents colluded in torture
© Steve Bell 2009
- August 2009: Miliband
denies Megrahi release connected to UK commercial interests:
- Such claims were "a slur both on myself and the government",
Miliband told Radio 4's Today programme.
- October 2009: David
Miliband tipped as EU foreign minister
(Clearly the recession hasn't dented everybody's
sense of humour)
- November 2009: Binyam:
Judges attack UK secrecy over public documents
- Senior judges say the foreign secretary is stopping
them releasing details of CIA interrogation techniques - even though
the US has published them.
- February 2010: Binyam
Mohamed torture allegations must be disclosed, day judges
- David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has lost his
appeal court bid to prevent judges disclosing secret information relating
to torture allegations in the case of Binyam Mohamed.
- May 2010: Government
cannot use secret evidence in Guantánamo torture case, court rules
- The court of appeal has dismissed an attempt by MI5 and MI6 to suppress
evidence of their alleged complicity in the torture and secret transfer
of British residents to Guantánamo Bay.
- September 2011: It
was not bin Laden who defined this decade
- ... the West must rediscover the joys of multilateralism
and shared sovereignty. That is tough when, in Europe, nobody wants
to pay Greece’s bills. But multilateralism is a global insurance policy
against abuse of power. The problem is not that the EU and other multilateral
institutions are too strong; it is that they are too weak. Regional
institutions in the Arab world, Africa, Latin America and East Asia
are still in their infancy — and need to grow up fast. (See also here)
- February 2012: Time
to rethink, not reassure
- Labour needs comradely and serious debate ...
- February 2012: David
Miliband: the sniping and self-pity of a truly feeble man
- In short, by all means let this snivelling poltroon
of a fallen princeling stuff his pockets to his heart’s content, while
popping along to the House of Commons every once in a while to sob into
his nosegay over a crashing sense of entitlement denied. But, Lord above,
let him be guided by the example of the Duke of Windsor through his
long years of exile, and do it quietly. From this David, a period of
silence would be most welcome – and if it didn’t end until Doomsday,
that would be far too soon.