Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Disgrace Under Pressure

Experiment over
Back in the days when some were foolish enough to give Brown some latitude, I had little good to say about his first cabinet with the possible exception of David Miliband.

I felt it was a bit of an experiment, true, but he was one of the few in the team I felt could pleasantly surprise us all. In some ways it was a chancy experiment, being so different from the usual type of figure to fill the foreign office berth, but in a role that is often less pointedly political in domestic terms it was still an appointment I had an open mind about.

There is though a risk with any step into the unknown, and with hindsight the presence of that volatile element, the EU, in the foreign office brief should have set off alarm bells even before his non-performance on trans-Atlantic affairs in the early days of his tenure.

Judging by the only news feed I've read on the matter, from that bastion of right-wing Euroscepticism, the Guardian it sounds as if now the Batshit (as some like to call Miliband) has really hit the fan:
The normally calm foreign secretary David Miliband demanded an apology when a Labour committee chairman accused him of succumbing to EU bullying just as Neville Chamberlain had appeased Adolf Hitler.

The row came in an evidence session in which Mr Miliband failed to convince the European scrutiny committee of MPs that Britain had successfully defended its so-called red lines ahead of the EU summit on the new treaty in Lisbon this week.

Source: The Guardian

Note the key phrase, "Mr Miliband failed to convince". He failed to convince a committee chaired by, and with a majority from his own domestic political party on a matter that is vital to the government of which he is part. The ever irrelevant Independent may give him an easier time tomorrow, but nobody else will.

What is worse, not only did he get beaten like a ginger step-child (I'm partially licenced to use that term), but he lost his temper in the face of what will hardly be the toughest audience he will ever face. What may happen to Miliband in the face of more difficult meetings with genuinely hostile opposition, opposed not only to his role in domestic politics, but potentially with a deep antipathy to everything this country stands for, is anybody's guess.

It's too big a risk to take. It's astonishing that a few months ago some were touting Miliband as Prime Ministerial material, but then I suppose that just days ago some were saying the same of Brown.

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