David Miliband is to leave parliament and British politics for a post at the International Rescue Committee in New York, and it is to his credit that he does so. He has forsaken the wishes and the advice of some of his closest political friends, but the path he has chosen is the right one for his brother and his party. His continued presence in British politics could only have resulted in recurring speculation that would have undermined both.
Whilst he has remained the Blairites’ best known and most able proponent, the prospect that he could have ever, in any circumstances, challenged his brother was unconscionable. His decision to leave is merely a reflection of the fact that he – and the Blairites – lost the battle for Labour’s future in 2010.
If readers find it hard to be charitable about David Miliband’s departure, it might help to remember that his first job in the Labour movement, as a fresh-faced teenager in his gap year before going to Oxford, was at Ken Livingstone’s GLC. In the heat of the miners’ strike and the campaign against the GLC’s abolition, the young David did really good work. In his defeat and disappointment, let us wish him well – to do great work in the future, helping people to rebuild their lives after great humanitarian disasters.