The Spectator

The world of Miliband

The world of Miliband
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David Miliband to the foreign office, the youngest holder of that office since David Owen. It is a huge job. In the words of Sir John Coles, former Permanent Secretary to the FCO: “The job comes as a terrible shock to them, just the sheer amount of travelling, for example, and the enormous range of subject matter. A Foreign Secretary can be concerned at one moment about drugs in Thailand, the next moment about civil war in Sierra Leone, and on it goes. I mean, it is an extraordinarily disparate and wide agenda” But Miliband has the brain for the task. He might recall the example of Ernest Bevin who on his first weekend was left with five red boxes and a note saying “Foreign Secretary, we thought you would like to do these five red boxes over the weekend.” On Monday the boxes were in same place with a note in Bevin’s handwriting: “A kind thought, but sadly erroneous.”