At the start of the Labour leadership contest I was already a fan of David Miliband, but had reservations. While I thought he was the best leadership candidate in the field I worried how he would connect with people and provide the inspiration needed to help rebuild the Labour Party and turn it into the movement it needs to be.
But having watched him as the campaign has developed it is becoming very clearer that he has those qualities in spades. In this afternoon’s leadership hustings in Glasgow he shone brighter than any of the other candidates and won it by a mile. He looked like the only person on the stage who could take on David Cameron and his Liberal side-kick Nick Clegg.
In contrast Andy Burnham struggled and Ed Miliband seems to feel the need to constantly remind people that he disagrees with his brother. He did it today in Glasgow and on Wednesday at the Compass hustings. Ed Balls certainly came out in front in the battle of the Eds, but didn’t distinguish himself.
Diane Abbott is proving why she deserved a place in the line-up and had another good outing voicing support among other things for Harriet Harman’s 50-50% shadow cabinet proposal. She’s isn’t going to win, but there should be a place for her in the shadow cabinet.
When the Middle East question came up, David Miliband echoed his line from last year on the solution not being simply a two state solution, but a 23-state solution involving the Arab League plus Israel.
He had praise for Gordon Brown and said that the worst “thing that ever happened to the Labour and Tony Blair was George W Bush” and that President’s failure to tackle the Middle East continuing the work started by Bill Clinton and others.
He spoke well and was not only engaging, but came across as man with a vision and the ability to inspire not just a party, but the wider community and electorate and that’s really what is needed.