David Blackburn


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No doubt attempting to affect affability and languid charm, one of the Milibands has goaded his team into mastering a hybrid of semaphore and tic-tac to bring him early news of the leadership election result. It’s unclear which of the brothers has descended into total monomania, but it’s sobering to think he may have his finger on the button one day.

The ballot closed yesterday, but idle speculation about the shadow cabinet has opened. The Miliband that loses is expected to be encouraged to run for shadow chancellor, though from what I hear Yvette Cooper or Ed Balls are the favourites for that prize.

A deadwood edition of the Telegraph (available here) gossiped that one of the defeated candidates (likely to stand and win for the shadow cabinet, so Burnham or Balls rather than Abbott) will not serve under ‘divisive Ed Miliband’. John Rentoul speculates that Burnham is the candidate because Balls and Miliband were brothers in Gordon Brown’s malign arms.

It’s a sensible summation, but I doubt Burnham would actually do anything so drastic - it would end his career. He has had a disappointing campaign, but he began to show promise in the latter stages – the only candidate to offer something obviously different. Surely he wants and will get another crack at the top job?