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From 'Nation' Intern to Leader of the British Labour Party | The Nation

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John Nichols

John Nichols

Breaking news and analysis of politics, the economy and activism.

From 'Nation' Intern to Leader of the British Labour Party

The new leader of the British Labour Party, Ed Miliband, arrives with remarkable credentials.

The son of a brilliant Marxist theorist, Ralph Miliband; the brother of a former British foreign secretary, David Miliband (whom Ed narrowly beat in the leadership battle that finished this weekend); a former aide to the great British antiwar campaigner and radical parliamentarian Tony Benn; Ed Miliband is, at 40, a former cabinet minister and respected member of parliament who put together a muscular coalition of trade union and activist supporters to win the race to take over from former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown as the leader of the Labour Party.

 He is, as well, a former Nation intern. Miliband was in the 1989 class of interns.

 He will now lead an effort to renew the Labour Party, which lost the last election to a coalition of Conservatives and the Liberal Democratic Party.

 The Liberal Democratic leader, and current Deputy Prime Minister of Great Britain, Nick Clegg, is also a former Nation intern. Clegg was in a different intern class, however, and obviously took a different political path.

Miliband sought the Labour leadership as a thoughtful critic of the mistakes and misdeeds of former Prime Minister Tony Blair's "New Labour" government, arguing among other things that: "when it came to Iraq—the defining foreign policy test of our time in office—[the British people] lost trust in us." (One of the reasons Ed Miliband beat his older brother was a sense that David was closer in his thinking to Blair.)

But, now, Ed Miliband is focused on challenging the cuts proposed by the Tory-led government in which Clegg serves as the key coalition partner.

"It is essential for our democracy that this Government is held to account for its actions," says Miliband. 

Making the case against "simply swallowing the programme of cuts the Government is setting out," Miliband explained upon taking the Labour leadership: "It is not just that too often they penalise people who had no hand in causing the crisis, while protecting those that did. It is also that the wrong cuts at the wrong time will put recovery at risk. It is faulty economics to scrap school building projects and put construction workers out of a job at time when the industry is struggling. It is faulty economics to scrap government loans to British businesses that can create manufacturing jobs in the industries of the future. This approach is dangerous for our country and it is important that we make that case."

That sounds a little like a Nation editorial, albeit with a British accent. 

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