The Miliband Streak
As Dave Miliband surges on, it's interesting to note how he got into Parliament in the first place. He became the MP for South Shields in 2001, and here's Red Pepper's assessment one month before that election:
"This truly is payback time for the backroom boys. If the 1997 intake was marked by spotty student politicians and legions of bland "Blair's babes" plucked from local government and the voluntary sector, this list is older, almost entirely male, and dominated by ministerial advisers and the old trade union right.
Many of our guaranteed new MPs arrived via an interesting route. Some were imposed from the centre when their predecessors conveniently announced their retirement too late to follow a full democratic selection...DAVID MILIBAND was a last minute parachute as David Clark announced his retirement days after the election was called."
As you fans of the Mallen Streak will know, South Shields is in Catherine Cookson Country, where dependable clogs-to-clogs Labour MP David Clarke had a shock-proof majority of 21,153. Alas, young Miliband immediately managed to reduce it by a third, to 14,090. Despite the second Labour landslide.
Still, he would have been an unknown quantity, and folk in them parts like to be introduced proper like. At least he then had four years in which his constituents could get to know him. Unfortunately, having done so, they cut his majority still further in 2005- to roughly half of Clarke's total.
You mark my words- there's trouble brewing up at the big house.