David Miliband returned to the news last week for a plethora of reasons. Miliband served in the cabinet in the early 2000s, working as Minister for Schools from 2002 – 2004 and Minister for Communities and Local Government from 2005 – 2006. From 2007 – 2010 he was the Foreign Secretary. It was in this position that he strongly attacked the abhorrent notion of torture. But where has Miliband been since losing the Labour Party’s leadership election September 2010?
The reason for Miliband’s “absence” from the political sphere is because he himself chose to withdraw from the bigger positions and roles. Leaving the Shadow Cabinet soon after the leadership election, Miliband has been a much quieter force in politics. In 2013 he resigned his position as Member of Parliament for South Shields and moved into advisory and charity work.
David Miliband now serves as the President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian organisation that gives assistance to refugees and victims of war from across the globe, as well as victims of natural disasters. In the past the IRC has assisted victims of conflicts in Kosovo, Africa and, under Miliband’s tenure, Syria. In between his work for the IRC, Miliband has served as an advisor to several corporations, institutions and individuals such as Oxford Analytica.
By his own admission, Miliband is not able to make great commentaries on the political news and aspects of today – the IRC cooperates with the current government, so it would be counterproductive to criticise it!
So why does Miliband return to the news now? Last week he voiced his strong support for the Labour Party and its campaign to gain office in May 2015. Without openly attacking the Coalition government, he has expressed his confidence in the Leader of the Labour Party, his brother Ed, whom he stands by and believes is capable of becoming the leader of the next government.
But he also has been accused of playing a huge role in the new scandal concerning the cover-up of instances of torture. In 2009 he expressed his disgust and avoidance of torture in the New Statesman magazine; despite this, Miliband attempted to cover up many recordings and documents concerning Britain’s involvement with the torture of suspected terrorists. According to the Daily Mail, there were many occasions where Miliband promised that the government didn’t know anything about torture cases, or was in no way involved in them or supporting the use of torture in the United States; but there were also many occasions where Miliband was attempting and failing to silence anyone who brought genuine cases to light.
Commentators are speculating on the prospect of David Miliband returning to frontline politics. Some people would welcome him with open arms: his brother Ed was recently announced to be less popular than the leader of the disgraced Liberal Democrats (who are seemingly to be made extinct in less than four months). Some people never forgave the current Leader of the Opposition for “knifing his brother in the back”. However, others are sceptical of the possibility. David Miliband seems perfectly comfortable in what he does now, and he also seems to be doing a lot of good around the world too! Furthermore, with the May election such a short time away, is it really possible for David Miliband’s divine intervention to have a positive vote-swaying effect for the Labour Party?