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  • Technorati: graph / links

    David Miliband: Does it Matter?


    by earwicga on 31st August, 2010 at 11:24 pm    

    Does it matter that David Miliband is the ‘heir to Blair‘? Does it matter that David Miliband is thought of as a war criminal?  Does it matter in moral or political terms?

    Mr Miliband says his insistence on “due diligence” in high office means his conscience is clear over allegations of a torture “cover-up”, which persist after the last government lost a court battle to prevent the publication of American intelligence reports covering the treatment of Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed by the US in Pakistan in April 2002.

    The Liberal Democrats are preparing to use next month’s party conference to embarrass Mr Miliband in a debate claiming Labour “backed” human rights abuses by the Bush administration, including “enforced disappearance, rendition and torture”. Mr Cameron announced a judicial inquiry into Britain’s role in torture and rendition – something Mr Miliband had resisted in his time in office.

    As HarpyMarx states:

    To supporters of Miliband the elder, ask yourself, how can you back someone whowhinges and whines about the obsession with Iraq, and was complicit in torture who desperately sought through the courts to obstruct and to further cover it up? Do you want this man with blood on his hands to become leader of the Labour Party? Have you  learned nothing from the warmongering and neoliberalism of Blair and Brown? Are you intent on sleepwalking to the election by voting for a man who wants to revamp New Labour, different face same politics (“We don’t need to rewrite Clause IV. We do need a leader who puts it into practice with verve and imagination”…)?

    Does it matter whether the next leader of the Labour Party is another war criminal or are there other things that matter more?

    If you would like to vote in the leadership election you have until September 8th to join the party.


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    1. Macumba — on 1st September, 2010 at 12:18 am  

      Christ, what a histrionic bleat.

      “Does it matter that David Miliband is thought of as a war criminal?”

      No reasonable person thinks of him as such, just Saddam apologists. So, no, it doesn’t matter. Keep on apologising for dictators sweetpea, you’ve got blood on *your* hands.

    2. Shamit — on 1st September, 2010 at 12:20 am  

      John Tower would have been proud of this and Glenn Beck and Hannity could learn from this.

      Everyone who was in government was complicit - everyone who was in the inner cabal of Gordon Brown was equally responsible for those actions that David Miliband is being accused off. And questions of hypocrisy, morality and judgement - if they are raised against David Miliband then no one among the five candidates go scot free. Actually, some of them smell of hypocrisy far more than Miliband senior.

      But the point of this post was not to actually debate the labour leadership election but swiftboat david miliband.

      How is this smearing helping the labour party?

    3. Shamit — on 1st September, 2010 at 12:37 am  

      And as far as Tony Blair and New Labour goes - look at your schools, hospitals, society, the role of third sector and compare them to 1997. Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Africa Commission and international aid as a key narrative of foreign policy. These are things all labour supporters should be proud about.

      No one is saying mistakes weren’t made but the positives are far greater than the mistakes. David Miliband, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham while recognising mistakes take pride in the successes of New Labour policies unlike some others.

      Following popular lead is not always the best way for a leader to function - sometimes a leader needs to lead. Graduate tax - may be popular but it is not in the best interest of the country. But discussing policy issue on this thread would be trying to discuss rational thought with Rush Limbaugh or Nadine Dorries.

      This attack lacks the finesse of John Tower but has all the crassness of that Ann whatever republican screwed up self proclaimed author demonstrates day in day out at Fox news.

      Just for the record, David Miliband is an exceptional MP that his constituents actually like, he has been an effective schools minister (better schools for future), Local government minister (IEG process completion, developing the localism agenda), Defra Secretary - British climate change targets, arguing for a carbon limit which would create a carbon tax and where the rich would be paying more - foreign secretary - may not be the best but engaging and ability to build and sustain relationships. So, much more accomplished than the rest of the lot put together if we go by record.

      Second to him on achievement is Ed Balls.

    4. Ellie Mae — on 1st September, 2010 at 12:42 am  

      ‘Mr Miliband says his insistence on “due diligence” in high office means his conscience is clear over allegations of a torture “cover-up.”’

      Hmmm… doesn’t that have a name? Isn’t it called the Nuremberg Defence…?
      “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

      Mistakes were made, were they? Jesus Christ…

    5. Sunny — on 1st September, 2010 at 1:06 am  

      No reasonable person thinks of him as such, just Saddam apologists

      You mean like Donald Rumsfeld, when he was selling him weapons?

      Don’t you people tire of this shit?

    6. Macumba — on 1st September, 2010 at 1:11 am  

      Come off it Sunny, ‘war criminal’ used multiple times in this teenage screed is a serious defamation and you know it. Stop playing kiddie games.

      And everyone sold Saddam weapons. Spain, Russia, dozens of others, but the UK and US are the evil Imperialists right? Jesus, stop playing star wars.

    7. Kismet Hardy — on 1st September, 2010 at 1:17 am  

      I don’t care if JK Rowling thinks Katie Price can’t be classed as an author, I like my novels written by proper celebrities and Tony Blair is my favourite. I haven’t read any books by either Milibands, although I’d like to read one by the one with the banana

    8. earwicga — on 1st September, 2010 at 1:25 am  

      I think Banana Man is linked to The Gruffalo somehow Kismet.

    9. Shamit — on 1st September, 2010 at 1:26 am  

      Hmmm… doesn’t that have a name? Isn’t it called the Nuremberg Defence…?

      “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.”

      Spot on Ellie Mae@4. However, by that definition a lot of the labour leadership candidates have failed to perform their duties adequately as ministers. And if Miliband D was acting to defend the government’s action, he was doing so with legal and tacit support of his fellow cabinet members which included Ed Balls, Ed Miliband and Andy Burnham. So, why aren’t you holding them responsible too?

    10. Shamit — on 1st September, 2010 at 1:33 am  

      Because this has got nothing to do with issues - or a coherent argument but more about positioning one’s favoured candidate.

      Nothing wrong with that - but by accusing one cabinet minister of being war criminal - all those who served in the same cabinet would be the same unless they resigned. Or unless they were not told - Ed Balls and Ed Miliband probably had more information from No. 10 than David Miliband could ever hope to have.

      So they are all war criminals then - thats what logic says. This ain’t Faux News you know.

    11. Shamit — on 1st September, 2010 at 1:36 am  

      i am not one of those centrists who believe support from middle class and working class are mutually exclusive but the narrative must resonate with all.

      And the only narrative that binds both are aspirations and opportunities which has been the thrust of the speech where David Miliband discussed Clause IV but just like Faux News - the post took a soundbite and changed its whole complexion.

      I thought here at pp we look down upon such activities - sure as hell did not know we were to embrace them.

    12. Kismet Hardy — on 1st September, 2010 at 1:39 am  

      All politicians are cunts. Thought I’d just throw that out there…

    13. earwicga — on 1st September, 2010 at 1:41 am  

      But not many have them.

    14. Sunny — on 1st September, 2010 at 1:46 am  

      Come off it Sunny, ‘war criminal’ used multiple times in this teenage screed is a serious defamation and you know it

      So how many people have to die before that term becomes legitimate?

      Or tell you what - why not tell me what defines a war criminal?

    15. Kismet Hardy — on 1st September, 2010 at 2:25 am  

      You know sometimes I rightly feel like a thicko, but then someone like Macumba pops up to remind me just how fucking pig shit thick people are.

      Oooh, Saddam was bad man dictator, he kill people, America and England had to kill many people to stop him kill people, saddam was bad, that’s why we kill saddam but not any other bad man dictator, and always nice to Saudi Arabia, I don’t know why.

      Fucktard.

    16. Ellie Mae — on 1st September, 2010 at 8:30 am  

      Shamit

      Eh? What makes you think my disgust is limited to Miliband 1? There are quite a few Labour seniors I’d like to see put on trial, and if the atrocities of Iraq hadn’t been carried out by a Western democracy, that’s exactly where they would be. History is written by the victors and all that…

      I don’t have any special reserve of distain for David Miliband: he just happens to be the bastard we’re discussing at the moment. Kismet pretty much sums it up at number 12 to be honest. And elsewhere too actually.

      To be honest though, I think we should let Tony off the hook. I mean, in his memoirs he says he felt ‘anguish’ about Iraq. Surely there is no greater atonement than anguish? In fact, let’s give him another peace medal. We could even hold a ceremony in Baghdad. After all that peace he’s been doling out, it must have some cracking conference facilities. Who could present the medal this time? Since Charles Taylor is ‘otherwise engaged,’ I was thinking… Mugabe?

    17. cjcjc — on 1st September, 2010 at 8:44 am  

      Can I take it that if DM is elected, those who believe him to be a war criminal will resign?

      Or is this just teenage drivel?

    18. Ellie Mae — on 1st September, 2010 at 8:54 am  

      17
      hmmm yeah you just totally invalidated your opinion by using the word ‘drivel.’ Same goes if you’d have said tosh, twaddle, piffle, or poppycock.

      Do you actually use that word in conversation? And if so, can you recommend a good purveyor of cumberbunds?

    19. cjcjc — on 1st September, 2010 at 9:42 am  

      I do.

      And that would be cummerbunds.

      Any chance of answering the question?

    20. Refresh — on 1st September, 2010 at 10:06 am  

      Unbelievable. Both Shamit and cjcjc make seriously valid points and in the same thread.

      Shamit, do not imagine the stain of war crimes will disappear for any of the leadership with an internal party election. As Diane Abbot points out Tony Blair rarely stops long enough in one place for fear of a tap on the shoulder. And I suspect whilst he keeps himself useful (peace envoy to the middle east for now) he avoids being arrested.

      And imagine if he had had got himself the ultimate keep out of jail card, the Presidency of the EU?

      cjcjc, the answer surely is that you would have to resign. Hence I shall not be rejoining.

      That said, given that David Milliband would merrily join in with an Iranian adventure, it would be a reasonable act to join the party to keep him out.

      A stitch in time may not be a bad strategy.

    21. Macumba — on 1st September, 2010 at 12:27 pm  

      Fascinating level of debate on this site.
      One broad who thinks ‘drivel’ is a posh word yet is enthusiastic in it’s signifier’s employment; and the tired pre-pubescent street-mouthings of K Hardy to whom, one can only assume, a book is nought but sliced wood.

      This site must be bookmarked by all serious political commentators!

    22. damon — on 1st September, 2010 at 5:25 pm  

      Sounds a bit daft going on about war criminals like that. No wonder earwicga doesn’t like this at all.
      It was far better IMO (although they have been saying similar things for 20 years).

      ”David vs Ed? It’s the end of politics as we knew it”
      http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/9475/

      ….as a consequence of the end of party politics and the rise of the cult of personality and PR, today we have politicians who have no real experience of leadership. To a man, the main Labour leadership contenders entered politics, not by leading political campaigns or rubbing shoulders with the man in the street, but by learning the skills of communication and PR in utterly sealed-off environments. They are professional politicians, not political animals.

    23. boyo — on 1st September, 2010 at 5:43 pm  

      So who would Earwicga’s choice be then? Ed or Diane? It can only be these two, as the others must be war criminals.

      But hold on, despite Ed’s apparent opposition to Iraq he “voted very strongly against an inquiry in to the Iraq war” which, despite his current rhetoric would make him at least the bedfellow of war criminals.

      http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/edward_miliband/doncaster_north

      Which must leave Diane. So Earwicga (if indeed she is a member) would choose Diane, and bask in a lifetime of self-righteous opposition. Yes, that sounds about right.

    24. earwicga — on 1st September, 2010 at 5:55 pm  

      boyo - I’m not a member and if I were I wouldn’t vote for Diane Abbott for leader. Did Ed Miliband play a part in covering up the torture of Binyam Mohamed and countless others?

    25. Shamit — on 1st September, 2010 at 6:46 pm  

      “Did Ed Miliband play a part in covering up the torture of Binyam Mohamed and countless others?”

      As member of the cabinet - and part of Brown’s inner cabal he did if David Miliband and other ministers did.

      The only time D. Miliband would have been involved in this would be when he became foreign sec. - and his brother sat around the cabinet table too.

      But I am sure Ed believed that was wrong (if anyone was at all complicit) at the time, even though he did not voice his opinion like he never did on erosion of civil rights, living wage and most importantly the manifesto he wrote.

      But he is ed miliband - so he must be telling the truth and others are surely lying.

      ***********************

      Refresh - I always make good points but never to your liking because my political agenda is not driven by my religion or bankrupt ideology and I do believe Israel has a right to exist. And hamas and hezbollah are far worse than Israel. So, no wonder you don’t like my points.

    26. Ellie Mae — on 1st September, 2010 at 7:17 pm  

      Oh, who am I kidding - I can’t resist!

      1. Actually it can be either cumBerbund or cumMerbund. The version with two Bs is usually used in American English. I did consider correcting myself but I was typing on my phone and couldn’t be arsed.

      2. Drivel: not posh, just amused at the frequency with which that word (and the others I mentioned) is employed on these comment sites, considering how rarely they are used in conversation. I was implying that cj was using it in an attempt at condescension - ratified by the preceeding word ‘teenage.’ Funny, given the later impatient request for an answer, and the fact that the commenter makes no attempt to address any of the other posts his/herself.

      3. ‘This site must be bookmarked by all serious political commentators!’ From the same person who said earlier that people still opposed to Iraq are ‘Saddam apologists.’ Oh the sweet irony.

      The difference between the Milibands is so tragically negligible, it hardly seems worth debating. As one sage blogger put it, it’s not as though Ed Miliband wants to nationalise the FSTE 100. I mean, really, if that’s the candidate the left is choosing to represent them, it really is more fucked than I thought.

    27. Refresh — on 1st September, 2010 at 7:25 pm  

      Shamit, no not always. Rarely to my liking. What has religion got to do with it? Or even the right of Israel to exist? And as for Hamas and Hezbollah, you clearly lack the analytical skills to establish cause and effect.

      Its tragic that you do not see that there are mistakes made some of which we have to get over and others which must be punished and never forgotten. Iraq is not one you forget and its not one you get over. Too much blood, too much treasure; and a highly polarised world.

      Upthread you are asking us to compare (favourably) Blair’s ‘good works’ at home against a million dead abroad, as if that is the scale of justice when it comes to measuring a humane and progressive society.

      That is the path that leads to moral bankruptcy.

    28. Shamit — on 1st September, 2010 at 9:14 pm  

      refresh - it was written more in jest than anything else.

      Cause and effect leads to moral bankruptcy. I did not for once bring Iraq to the equation when I was asking people to remember the good Blair has done.

      What happened in Iraq especially the death in the hands of Al Qaeda and sectarian idiots is simply sad, indefensible and I do not defend the indefensible. And, we the Brits and the Americans are squarely responsible for failing to deliver a secure society or have effective post war planning and clear strategy to win hearts and minds. The shit that happened in Abu ghraib was and is indefensible. Iraq was not a good thing - probably the worst thing that happened in Blair premiership.

      But the other aspects of Blair premiership including foreign policy was probably some of the best progressive policies ever implemented in the last few decades.

      ***********************************

    29. Macumba — on 1st September, 2010 at 10:53 pm  

      EM- “I can’t resist!”
      Sure babydoll.
      What’s the link between cummerbunds and condescension?

      “that people still opposed to Iraq are ‘Saddam apologists.’”

      No. I said that people considering DMilliband a ‘war criminal’ are Saddam apologists.
      Bitter hyperbole’s al great fun on the web, but let’s be honest: calling Milliband a war criminal is a childish grab from the ‘offence’ bag.
      The recent attempts by the left to portray Saddam as ‘not that bad really’, are dishonest and disgraceful, as is the intention of allocating blame for all deaths (often at numbers unsupported by evidence) solely to UK/US troops. It may suit your politics, but it’s just flat dishonest.

    30. shariq — on 2nd September, 2010 at 12:24 am  

      I agree more than I disagree with Shamit on this one. I thought that the ‘David Miliband is considered a war criminal’ was a typo.

      Sunny is spot on in that the left needs to engage in a ‘permanent campaign’ if it wants to be taken seriously by the leadership of the labour party.

      The Right in America do this particularly well. Just one example was the Harriet Myers nomination fiasco, in which Bush was forced to retreat because of the right.

      Conservative Home et al are trying to do the same here, but I think are slightly perplexed at the moment due to the Coalition.

      However, there is an element of good faith and reciprocity required. I don’t think that calling David Milliband a war criminal is right.

    31. Shamit — on 2nd September, 2010 at 12:49 am  

      The permanent campaign is a double edged sword - no one in their right mind would accept that the right`s right to campaign endlessly without relevance or basic respect has done the republican party any good or the country any good.

      Even Reagan the founding father of talk show radio - and the darling of the right - was astute enough to understand the importance of appealing to the centrists and that too in a country where the centre is far more towards the right.

      This continuous campaigning without governing based on a marriage between ideals and pragmatism made Newt Gingrich`s tenure as speaker shortlived while a complete opposite approach by Bill Clinton made his Presidency a success.

      The continuous campaigning usually brings the choir to the church not the faithless - the choir`s chorus is louder than what the congregation feels - they may be silent but it is a mistake to assume their silence to be an acceptance of the preacher`s sermon.

      I am not saying Sunny is a loony - he is on record challenging Richard Seymour arguing that unless the campaign resonates with middle of the road voter then the campaign is doomed.

      However, a campaign that originates with the Fabian society, or Liberal Conspiracy or New Statesman has a tendency to bring in voices of support, whose language and exuberance in castigating their own party leads to fueling the lack of trust the middle of the road voter already feels.

      ***********************************

      Dogmatic approaches or what we call conservative tendencies are quite prevalent in core votes of any political party. Tories have their UKIP supporters, we had our Lib Dem supporters and some go to even further extremes. But policies of a party must reflect what is best for the country - and that is where the permanent campaigning purely on ideological grounds loses appeal to voters who define elections.

      ***********************************

    32. Shamit — on 2nd September, 2010 at 1:09 am  

      That is the reason David Miliband stands out. His opposition to the graduate tax - it may be populist, could even argued as progressive for the individual but is deeply regressive when it comes to the country as a whole. He shows leadership on the issue while everyone else was willing to jump on the bandwagon of the coalition.

      In today`s tightly knit global economy, anyone but a fool would understand, that we cannot protect some of our jobs - they would go where the prices are cheap. But we can and we must compete on moving up the value chain and drive value addition through innovation - be it technology or business processes or manufacturing processes.

      To continue a culture of innovation, we need good quality research institutes and world class higher education institutions. Today, we have 11 out of the top 100, while America has 54. Europe total has about 30 odd.

      Higher education institutions need autonomy, they cannot be dictated by the whims of bureaucrats in Whitehall deciding what courses should be taught where or what research should be conducted.

      The graduate tax is one of the most centralising aspect of the coalition government`s policy which goes against the very essence of academic and research independence. And, we need more world class institutions not less - and this tax and its intellectual positioning of Whitehall knows best is damaging to the young people that it looks to serve.

      ****************************************

      American higher education is the most expensive and is the best. However, no poor child in America has been tuned away from an Ivy league or another good institution because they lack funding. The Federal, State as well as the Universities own endowment ensures that.

      Otherwise neither Harry Truman, or Bill Clinton or Barrack Obama would have had the privilege of going to university - let alone ivy leagues.

      It also places the responsibility of educating their children to parents to some extent - if you can afford it you should pay for it. And Financial Aid is worked out on the basis of that.

      This system produces more noble laureates than anywhere else in the world - and still today 50% of ivy league students come from the american public school system. Something unthinkable here.

      Our top class institutions have reached where they are not because of Whitehall but because of their ingrained nature of pursuing excellence. We do need to develop better pathways and look at different ways of funding higher education and those who can pay should pay for the education.

      And those who cannot their education should be free at the point of delivery. Also, in the US, each alumni feels morally obligated to donate some money to their alma mater - here the practice is not there at all.

      Maybe our leaders should challenge us to be more considerate and if we are fortunate enough to share some of that fortune with the institutions that shaped them. The coalition government`s progressive claims were hollow in budget and they are hollow in higher education.
      *****************************

      At the same time, I find it hard pressed to believe Ed Miliband or any other candidates besides DM taking on teacher unions. Unions who pass resolutions on Iraq but fail to improve quality of education should be challenged. Academies are not bad - they are not evil - if done right, they are probably the best route for a child from the poorest background to reach the halls of Oxford. That`s what our aspirations should be and it should not be limited to the lowest common denominator.

      That is why I am a fan of Blair and irrespective of his faults he is and was a visionary politician and David Miliband I think is more mature than Blair was in 1997. Tempered by the crass divisions of New labour without choosing any firm sides - and delivering reform and vision whether as schools secretary, or defra or local government cabinet minister or as the guy who wrote manifestos make him undoubtedly the best person to challenge David Cameron.

      Right now Cameron is ruling the centre and labour at least in perception of the ordinary voter, when they read the opinions in the left leaning blogs, magazines, seem to be retreating to the left and leaving the centre ground to Cameron to rule.

      That is why I support the candidacy of David Miliband.

    33. boyo — on 2nd September, 2010 at 6:41 am  

      I wonder where the Muslims in Kosovo or the Sierra Leoneons will stand when Blair and Milliband are finally hauled before the pitiless court of Earwicga?

      Personally I always regarded Douglas Hague as a war criminal for not intervening in Bosnia.

      I happen to have been involved in Blair’s first two wars but happily got out before the third, which I actively opposed (for the record, but not because of the principal - I simply believed it would not work).

      It’s easy to sneer from the sidelines, but one thing about not getting involved means one never experiences the complexity of reality. The same applies to I/P, where I’ve worked with Palestinians yet, failing to display sufficient anti-Israeli spirit have regularly been condemned as a Zionist, etc.

      The thing is Earwicga, actually engaging can be an education in itself, although you might not like what you learn.

      In any case, although I was wavering, I’ll be voting DM , because I’m a member and truly, the priority is to get the Tories out. Still, you’ve got until the 8th.

    34. MaidMarian — on 2nd September, 2010 at 9:19 am  

      Read ‘Aspirational Socialism’ by Andy Burnham.

      Vote Burnham.

    35. earwicga — on 2nd September, 2010 at 9:28 am  

      I would really like to read it MaidMarian but the weird font makes it unreadable (to my eyes).

    36. Macumba — on 2nd September, 2010 at 10:04 pm  

      “The thing is Earwicga, actually engaging can be an education in itself, although you might not like what you learn.”

      Said boyo.
      No engagement from earwicga.
      What a surprise.

    37. Kismet Hardy — on 3rd September, 2010 at 12:14 am  

      “The recent attempts by the left to portray Saddam as ‘not that bad really’, are dishonest and disgraceful”

      Who gives a fuck? Iraqi people knew how to go about their lives to stop getting killed, just as with any any other dictatorship, none of which our governments have done sweet FA about. But hundreds of thousands of people died randomly since you ploughed in, and I’d rather know why I might die than randomly get fucked up cos some cunt is telling the world he’s trying to save me.

      Cock.



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