It was a relief to Ed Miliband that his defeated elder brother took a step back from frontline politics after losing the Labour leadership race in September. But David Miliband has remained, like Banquo at the feast, a visible presence on the backbenches from where he could – at some theoretical later date – still return to wreak revenge.
A survey in yesterday’s Sunday Times makes troubling reading for Ed. It suggests that 12 per cent of the public think Ed would be the better Labour leader, far below the 37 per cent for David. That is a very similar finding to surveys published during the summer.
Meanwhile pollsters found that 40 per cent of the public do not rate Ed Miliband’s leadership skills, compared to 27 per cent who do.
Back then Ed’s allies shrugged off those polls. Within a few months, they argued, people would have seen Ed in action and would have warmed to him. (David’s position as foreign secretary had given him a higher profile).
That shift in public opinion does not seem to have happened, however, although Labour as a party is now consistently ahead in the polls. The unknown unknown is where Labour would be polling if it had a more charismatic and decisive leader.
David is keeping his powder dry in terms of any remaining Labour ambitions. This morning he was quoted in his local newspaper saying:
“I’ve got to admit I wish the leadership campaign had gone differently, but who knows what will happen in the future?…I think Ed’s done well. It’s a very difficult job being the leader of the