So, it did turn into a ‘geek’ tragedy after all, at least for David Miliband. Just as we were all digesting Brother Ed’s rather dull but worthy address to conference on Tuesday, and thinking that Labour had put the past behind it, a huge, ugly crack suddenly appeared in the facade of Labour conference unity. In a fatal lapse of self control, the defeated David turned to admonish his colleague, the deputy leader, Harriet Harman, for applauding Ed Miliband’s admission that the Iraq war had been wrong. “Why are you clapping?” said Miliband D, “You voted for it”.
Those eight words echoed around Manchester as David Miliband walked out of the shadow cabinet, the only action he could have taken. Had he remained, there was a real risk that a kind of civil war could have broken out. David Miliband wasn’t the only former minister to be outraged by Ed’s condemnation of their collective action over Iraq. Every member of the shadow cabinet is going to have to submit to the 'were-you-clapping' test now brother Ed has finally admitted on their behalf that Iraq was a disaster. How many, like Harriet Harman, privately agreed with him? Why did they allow it to happen?