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Should we prepare for a by election in South Shields?

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david milibandSpeculation mounts on Miliband’s EU stance.

We would have to go back many many years to recall the last time that a South Shields MP sat in high office previous to David Miliband, James Chuter Ede was a Labour Home Secretary from 1945 to 1951, but as far as I know no other South Shields MP has attained such high political position as these two. Miliband, it seems, could eclipse the political career of the man whose name is etched above the door of the constituency Labour Party’s HQ in Westoe Road, South Shields.

Speculation continues to mount and there is a growing feeling that his name is on a “virtual shortlist” of candidates to fill the post of High Representative of the EU Commission (European Foreign Minister) drawn up by the centre left parties in the EU Parliament. So much so that other commentators are now talking more in terms of ‘keep an eye on David Miliband and forget about Tony Blair.’ Blair’s stock would appear to be falling according to who you read or listen to, whilst Miliband’s star is on the rise.

Gordon Brown sounds irritated that Miliband may be offered the position thus causing an unwanted by election in South Shields, and some in the Labour Party are already holding a healthy debate over the former Blair protege’s future. Alex Smith, the saviour of LabourList, after it was trashed by ‘Dolly’ Draper, has this to say of Miliband:

“Labour members would never forgive Miliband if he bailed on the party so close to the general election; like Hazel Blears, he would become an instant pariah.”

Whilst that stalwart of the left’s cyber politics Alex Hilton says in Labour Home:

“David has said he doesn’t want the job, but if he did, then I don’t see who would have a problem with that.”

Oh really Alex?

It would look OK for the Foreign Secretary to resign his South Shields seat and swan off to Brussels for five years enjoying life living in the lap of luxury complete with driver, housing grant, entertainment allowance, colossal salary and tax exemptions? Somehow, I doubt whether too many of the faithful would be so comfortable with that as they struggle through Brown’s debt induced recession (which shows no sign of bottoming out yet, let alone returning to growth.)  The only ones likely to be comfortable with the thought would be local activists in South Shields keen to see the back of a career politician foisted upon them by his mentor and political guide, one Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, former PM who Miliband spent seven years polishing boots for as his Head of Policy Unit. There is nothing that some Labour Party members in South Shields would like better than to seize the opportunity of returning a local man or woman to the House of Commons, so they can return to the quiet life of running the local council and sending the relevant enquiries to an MP who hopes to have more time on their hands than a globe trotting private jet fuelled CO2 emitting banana faced Foreign Secretary who likes to spend his time comparing the Tories with Nazis and tarring Eastern European politicians with the anti semitic brush (surprising for one with Polish blood in them).

Even staunch Euro sceptic MEP Dan Hannan is slowly warming to the idea of Blair’s mini me taking the job of Foreign Minister of the Euro super state, although he’s probably still yearning to hear that longed for apology.

“In his case, it is impossible to avoid the suspicion that he has been intriguing to get this promotion when he should have been concentrating on his day job. He knows that most EU states are governmed by parties affiliated to the  palaeo-federalist European People’s Party. And how better to suck up to the EPP than to trash its Euro-sceptic rival, the European Conservatives and Reformists? If this means badly damaging Britain’s bilateral relations with Poland and Latvia (see here) so be it.”

Kevin Doran suggests that Miliband and Blair may possibly end up with neither of the posts on offer, agreeing with Stanley Crossick’s suggestion that the EU Foreign Minister post goes to former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten, and that the EU Presidential post may go to Belgian Prime Minister Herman van Rompoy.

I’m sure that the vast majority of people in South Shields couldn’t give two brass figs who gets what, it’s only the few who are remotely interested in Europe, despite the fact that the multi-state organ interferes with our life on a daily basis and our own Parliament cannot pass laws on our behalf without first informing the great and good in Brussels, but in discussing the possible futures of Blair and his pupil David Miliband I had to chuckle at this comment in a thread at Political Betting:

I think a more interesting question is “Why is Brown backing Blair?”. I think it’s a lame attempt to wrongfoot Cameron but maybe it is to keep David Miliband in Westminster as Brown’s anointed successor?

FPT: suggestion that the real danger for Brown is that Miliband goes to Europe, Blair goes to South Shields and then replaces Brown in Number Ten!!

Oh no! It’s bad enough when they come to town to enjoy Coleman’s fish and chips just once a year, but does South Shields really need the press circus descending on us day after day, and the hordes of Labour luvvies bussed in when it’s time for him to say bye bye and ride into the sunset once again?

I don’t think so, neither do I think there would be too many tears in South Shields if David Miliband hops over to Brussels for five years.

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Written by curly

October 30, 2009 at 8:56 pm

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