With words likely to exacerbate family strains as well as fuel speculation, David Miliband quipped on Wednesday that he was part of a Labour team that "figured out how to win elections rather than lose them." After Ed Miliband led the Labour Party to its worst electoral performance in 30 years, his brother said the party had been sent "back to the classroom for the second time in five years."
Speaking at the Harvard Kennedy School graduation address in Massachusetts, the former Foreign Secretary called for “deep and honest thinking” from his party, before launching a biting attack on Prime Minister David Cameron’s foreign policy, which had put Britain "in retreat."
"The UK is one of the most open and globally engaged cultures in the world," said the 49-year-old. "The Department for International Development is a world leader in aid programming but politically we are in retreat. The defence budget is going down; there is a referendum coming on whether to stay in the EU."
Miliband, who is currently president of the International Rescue Committee in New York, lamented how deteriorating relations between the US and Russia has hampered international peace, while warning that Syria had "descended into hell."
He said: "Syria is where all the problems, and the absence of solutions, of modern foreign policy come together -- so much so that the human consequences are losing their capacity to shock. No, the truly shocking aspect of what is happening in Syria is the extraordinary absence of a political process to seek to solve the problem."
"Deteriorating relations between the US and Russia over Ukraine, the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and rifts between the backers of Syria's fragmented opposition have sapped hope that a meaningful political process can take place," he added.
Miliband blamed the "mistakes" of Iraq and Afghanistan for sapping the "confidence that western powers will do anything other than make things worse," which he said explained the UK's "complete absence rom the political as well as military battlefield."