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David Miliband's Departure - A Worrying Sign of the Times

27/03/2013 10:03 GMT | Updated 26/05/2013 10:12 BST

I'm a Muslim. I stood against the Iraq War. I am against illegal renditions. I am not a Zionist. I am passionate about the Palestinian cause. And yet I am still, despite all of these things, incredibly sorry to see the back of David Miliband.

Usually when I have some television to do, people will rush to my blog to find out what I think about things, and so I try to make sure there is something there of interest. And sometimes I don't. Its hard to keep both readers engaged simultaneously. When I did Any Questions a few weeks ago, I wrote a piece which had been simmering in the back of mind for sometime. Amidst a heady mix of by-elections and shady dealings between Ukip and the EDL, was a broader narrative which some altogether missed. At the heart of it resonated the words of David Miliband in a speech he gave at the LSE in 2011 on the failings of the left in Europe. It was a dark premonition of the shape of things to come and how the political vacuum would potentially be filled by the right. In fact, it has been the far right.

I speak as a critical friend to the left when I say there is no doubt that they are in crisis right now. As Ian Birrell so eloquently stated this week, the immigration debate has become more misinformed than ever before and incredibly rancid. The Eastleigh by-election proved that in a 96% white English speaking constituency, which suffers little or no detriment at the hands of immigrants, with little or no pressure on local services or unemployment at the hands of immigrants; fear, xenophobia and utter paranoia over immigration can become a winning policy (almost). Palatable. Swallowed. If the UK electorate was aware that immigrants to these shores contribute between £1bn - £2.5bn per annum more to the exchequer than they take out in payments and benefits; they would be yearning for immigrants to come and help plug the deficit - they are our lifeblood. This should in theory, be a bread and butter issue for Labour. However, it is not. The political machinery is in full motion; morality and sensibility is an inconvenience it cannot afford ahead of 2015.

We have a situation today where the far right tail is wagging the politics dog. Worryingly, there seems to be no desire for the left to become a unifying force which can stand-up against the rise of the far right (incidentally, this new far right is not the old far right, it is a new far right). For the left to do that will require men of gravitas, perhaps imperfect men, who can lead from the front. Despite all of his flaws, his Blairite credentials and involvement in much of the murky world surrounding Iraq - David Miliband knows what the left should be and where it is failing, and it is here where we share our common ground. The door being left open by an unreformed left allows in a monster which neither of us wishes to see.

Can we ignore some of David Miliband's absurd commentary on Iraq or the debacle over Harman and his brother's speech? No, absolutely not. In many ways, I am unsurprised to see David Miliband leave and move on to pastures new at the IRC. Despite his calls for a renewal of the left, it never came. Or more accurately, it came in the shape as a morph into Blue Labour. The centre has shifted. In fact, it has shifted so far to the right that any sensible person will begin to lose their bearings. Blue Labour and Glasman's contention that Ed Mili must be all things to all men will inevitably create a party which is an "industrial political complex", far departed from its roots, unions and real coal face socialism. It becomes a phase shifted shadow to a Tory party now de-facto lead by a Ukip pace-setter in bed with far right interests. David Miliband's departure signals a weakening of the ties to the intellectual left and an ushering in of an age of ignorance; an immigration arms race and our political classes merging into one, horrible mass.

George Orwell wrote about the dangers of intolerance and the death of liberalism. Even though we struggle to recognise them in their sharp suits and language of the common man, I can but be reminded of what he wrote: "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

It is beginning to feel a little like that.