The Miliband Resignation


Frank recalls, vividly, his feelings upon hearing about the shock resignation of David Miliband…

All of us, I suspect, can remember vividly the moment we heard that David Miliband had resigned his parliamentary seat. In this age of the Information Superhighway, the news circled the globe with unprecedented speed. While bustling Western cities came to a standstill, as sophisticated urbanites tried to come to terms with the shock, eerily similar scenes were played out among previously uncontacted tribespeople in the deepest recesses of the Amazon jungle. Seldom in history has a single event reverberated among so many people.

Miliband himself had an inkling of the reaction he would provoke. He rightly pointed out that the rivalry between him and his brother – whose name I cannot quite recall – is so profoundly fascinating that it distracts the media, and indeed everybody else, from the real and important issues of the day. And, one might add, from the unimportant issues too. For myself, I know that there have been innumerable occasions when I have neglected pressing personal matters because I was so fixated upon the Miliband brothers. Only the other day, for example, I completely forgot to tie my shoelaces before leaving the house, fretting as I was about the tangled relationship of the brothers, with the result that I tripped over and banged my head and had to be carted off to an emergency drop-in clinic for a brain scan.

And I am not alone. In the strangely muted hours and days since the news came in, stories pour in from around the world as people try to express their feelings about the shock resignation. A typical example comes from Abdul B—–, speaking from his hovel in a shanty town in a third world hellhole.

“I remember exactly where I was when I heard the shattering news about David Miliband’s resignation,” he said, the tears not yet dry on his cheeks, “But somehow I feel happy as well as grief-stricken. Now, with only a single Miliband involved in British political life, I will no longer be fatally distracted by the rivalry between David and his brother, and I might be able to spend more time caring for my family and my goats and my patch of pitiful scrubland.”

Concerns have been raised that the gaping hole left in the British polity – or at least in a small corner of it, somewhere oop north – could destabilise the entire Eurozone, and beyond.

“I wondered why all those Cypriots were desperately trying to take their money out of the banks,” said one wild-eyed loon, “And now I know. Obviously Miliband tipped them the wink. They knew what was coming.”

That will not be the only conspiracy theory to emerge in the coming weeks and months. Indeed, there is every possibility that fifty years hence, the fraternal Miliband rivalry will still cast a spell over millions, an entire publishing industry having been spawned to cater for the eternal fascination with David and his brother, whose name is on the tip of my tongue.

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About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

6 thoughts on “The Miliband Resignation

    March 29, 2013 at 07:55

    More in hope than expectation I just googled it Frank, and it says here ‘Edward Samuel Miliband’ born Christmas Eve 1969. Trying to steal the thunder from somebody else seems to be his life’s work then?

    March 29, 2013 at 10:09

    “After Labour’s 1997 election victory he was the poster boy of a new ruling elite which seized control of the commanding heights of British politics. Anti-democratic, financially greedy and morally corrupt, this new political class has done the most enormous damage. Since David Miliband was its standard-bearer, his political career explains a great deal about what has gone wrong with British public life, about why politicians are no longer liked or trusted, and about how political parties have come to be viewed with contempt.

    Mr Miliband – and this is the essential point – set the pattern that so many others, including his brother Ed, have followed. Obsessed by politics at university (like Ed and David Cameron, he read PPE at Oxford), he has never had even the faintest connection with the real world. From life in think tanks he became a Labour Party researcher and special adviser, before being parachuted into the north-eastern constituency of South Shields as an MP.

    He rose up on the inside track, getting in with the right people and making sure he stayed there. This meant not rocking the boat. He wrote Labour’s 1997 and 2001 election manifestos, which even Labour people now admit were content-free. He was at the heart of the Labour machine when it spewed out its now notorious falsehoods over immigration and Iraq (there is a savage irony to the fact that Mr Miliband is going to head a humanitarian organisation when the government of which he was such a loyal member created so many of the world’s disasters).

    When promoted to education minister, he was personally responsible for issuing false claims that exam marks were getting better because of higher standards rather than (as we now know) grade inflation…

    …During his short, undistinguished career, Mr Miliband has done grave damage to British politics. He is part of the new governing elite which is sucking the heart out of our representative democracy while enriching itself in the process. He may be mourned in the BBC and in north London, but the rest of us are entitled to form a more realistic view. David Miliband has belittled our politics and he will not be missed.”

    Peter Oborne isn’t a fan.

    March 29, 2013 at 10:59

    Terrific piece Frank! Makes my own seem almost, as it were, frivolous…
    What is wrong with us that we can’t take these political titans seriously? [Clue: Begins with N, ends with ‘ing’ and there’s a ‘th’ in the middle.]

    March 29, 2013 at 13:53

    “All of us, I suspect, can remember vividly the moment we heard that David Miliband had resigned his parliamentary seat.”

    Quite: I was drinking coffee in my dining room, reading the The Washington Post. I remember even better the moment after, when I thought “Who?” and “There’s two Milibands?”. And now I’m thinking “there’s only one ‘L'”?

    March 29, 2013 at 14:08

    His constituency, South Shields is one of those northern towns used by mediocrity as the back door entry to Westminster, the town has stagnated so much it has become fossilised, its voters unable to see the irony, claiming benefit as this nonentity heads off for some guaranteed goodies. Some inkling of the mindset of the local Labour controlled council can be gained by considering a town hall that once installed a lift at the cost of £100,000, making it easier to stock the hospitality suite with drink.

    March 29, 2013 at 23:06

    All of us, I suspect, can remember vividly the moment we heard that David Miliband had resigned his parliamentary seat.

    I can remember where I was when I heard almost every piece of news – important or trivial – that has broken since 2009. It will make for some tedious discussions if I have children. Where were you, they might ask, when Michael Jackson died? On Twitter. And when Osama bin Laden was declared dead? On Twitter. And when North Korea launched their…et cetera.

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