Shall I stay or shall I go?

29 09 2010

David Miliband is someone who knows about multiple intelligence. Those who have ever worked in recruitment will know that sometimes someone with a very high IQ will have a very low emotional intelligence and that often a balance of such qualities is preferable to dominance of one.

We know David has a fantastically high IQ. Today will be a test, perhaps the biggest test, of his emotional intelligence.

The brief exchange with Harman with all the cameras rolling seemed

to demonstrate a man who was taking his defeat hard and personally. It also seemed to demonstrate a loss of control. Why do I say that? Because no one thinking rationally could fail to realise there would be cameras on him and his statement would be lip read. Interpreted. Reinterpreted and used against his brother. I do not think the act was calculated but I think his defeat is red raw and he doesn’t seem to be dealing with it in his usual controlled manner.

David Miliband must put his name forward for the Shadow Cabinet ballot. To do anything else will weaken his brother and the Labour Party at a time we need unity.

There is far greater danger to him outside the Shadow Cabinet. Most of David’s supporters will fall in line and more importantly learn that Ed Miliband does not represent a radical divergence or lurch to the left but a subtle though important shift of gear and direction. With David outside the cabinet he will become a “Mary Queen of Scots” of Labour Party politics, used and abused and ultimately abandoned and broken by Blairite Ultras who refuse to acknowledge any evolution of our party.

It is understandable he is upset, it must be agonising to come so close and lose by such a small margin and worse still when it is to your younger brother. Ambition can be an extremely powerful creative force but equally it can be destructive and thwarted ambition can be self destructive.

There is a great tradition of service in the Labour Party. Bevan stayed, Healey stayed, Benn stayed. We are all ambitious that is human nature but as democratic socialists we should harness human nature and try to channel it towards a positive goal. We should aspire to something greater than just “being in charge.” When a Labour Party member stands for office we should be presenting our skills, our ideas our knowledge for the benefits of the Party or our constituents. If democratically defeated we should accept that decision, conquer the ignominy of defeat and return to the ranks and keep on fighting for our party and ideals. Above all we should not allow ourselves to harm the Labour Party because to do so is to do harm the public whom we hope to serve.

Does that take a take a superhuman effort? Yes. Should we expect anything less? No. Labour leaders should be exceptional men and women.

David Miliband is an exceptional man and I hope he does the right thing.

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One response

29 09 2010
Danielle Pollastri

A well reasoned argument and one I agree with. I am only sorry I don’t hear anyone within the Labour Party or “sympathetic” media using it. It won’t be good for Labour if David goes.

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