David Miliband Is An Embarrassment Strutting The World Stage
22 January 2009
: David Miliband, aged 44 but with the face of a 30-year-old, has proved yet again he is even more immature than he looks. His performance in India was rude, stupid and politically and diplomatically naive – pretty impressive in a Foreign Secretary. Mercifully it was of little consequence to anyone but Labour MPs and their rapidly diminishing number of party activists when Miliband foolishly flirted with the leadership of the party last summer; Gordon Brown at the time was down but not quite out. What does matter, though, is that this so-called intellectual is allowed to strut his stuff on the world stage, desperate to prove he is still a big player, and in the process deeply offend India, one of Britain's staunchest allies. The charge sheet makes grim reading. Why did he think it was tactful or clever to deliver a speech declaring there was no such thing 'as the war on terror' in the Taj Hotel in Mumbai where dozens of innocent people were killed in a hail of machine gun bullets by terrorists? Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group linked with the murderous attack, welcomed our Foreign Secretary's 'positive comments!'. Good work, Dave. Miliband, was, apparently trying to match his rhetoric to the post-Bush era. Oh, please. As if President Obama gives a hoot what Miliband thinks about anything, assuming he even knows who he is. He also caused outrage with a simplistic approach to the Kashmir crisis which triggered outraged accusations in India of meddling and appeasement. I don't imagine Margaret Thatcher, John Major or Tony Blair would have taken too kindly either to a wet-behind-the-ears Indian foreign minister lecturing them – in public of all places – about how to contain the IRA. Miliband, Oxford educated and a Kennedy scholar – which apparently makes you clever – showed off in private meetings hence the official complaint about his conduct from Delhi. He also caused grave offence by addressing his host, Pranab Mukherjee, 73, by his first name even though the veteran foreign minister called Miliband 'Your Excellency'. My, little David must have loved that. If Miliband had any political courage, and had forced a leadership contest last year, I suspect he would have been steam-rollered to defeat even by a weakened Gordon Brown. In the next reshuffle, the Prime Minister should dump Miliband, he of the trademark gormless gunning grin, whose gift for PR saw him photographed at the party conference proudly clutching a banana. He is an embarrassment not just to Labour – he is in good company there – but also to the country. Mr Bean, a child in a grown man's body, is a hoot on the television but it's not funny when the comedy character is the real life Foreign Secretary. As a big fan of Abba's Mamma Mia! I asked a friend's teenage daughter what she thought of the film version. She screwed-up her nose and sighed loudly. 'Gross. So embarrassing. It's like watching your Dad dancing or singing in public.' Her friend concurred. President Obama take note. The next time he, or any other almost 50-year-old man, contemplates the dance floor, trampling all over their wives shoes and hem lines, watch Mamma Mia! Or, in President Obama's case, he could always ask his delightful daughters for advice. I think we know what they would say. 'Don't Dad. It's too embarrassing.' They would be right. A friend, who is a member of the Labour Party, received an email the other day from Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, detailing his latest botched attempts to save the banking sector. Curiously, it came with a warning: 'This email may be a scam.' You can say that again.