LONDON – After beating his big brother to take the helm of the Britain’s Labor
Party, Ed Miliband vowed to reunite the party in order to return it to
“Today a new generation has stepped forward to change our party,”
Miliband, 40, said, after defeating his older brother David, 45, the clear
favorite until the last day of campaigning, by only 1.3 percent.
united in our mission to transform Labor so that, once again, we stand up for
the hardworking majority who play by the rules and want a less divided and more
prosperous Britain. I know we have a lot of work to do, the journey starts
Both Milibands were competing to succeed Gordon Brown, who had
resigned after the party lost the May general election.
In his victory
speech, Miliband paid tribute to his brother: “David, I love you so much as a
brother and I have such extraordinary respect for the campaign that you ran, the
strength and eloquence that you showed. We all know how much you have to offer
this country in the future.”
The complex voting system – in which Labor
MPs, MEPs and affiliated organizations and activists, including trade unions,
vote – put David Miliband ahead in the first three rounds of voting. However,
the final round saw Ed creep ahead to win by 50.65% to 49.35%.
victory owed much to votes from the trade unions. The Conservative party
immediately jumped on this saying that this will mean that Ed will remain in
debt to them, while MPs who supported brother David warned that Ed’s dependence
on union votes was a “disaster” for the party.
Many of the top unions
support a call for a boycott of Israel and the severing of ties with the
Earlier month, the trade union federation, the Trade Union
Congress, stopped short of adopting a full boycott, instead vowing to support a
lesser boycott of goods and services from the West Bank while working closely
with a radical anti- Israel fringe group who support a blanket boycott of
Educated at Oxford University and the London School of Economics,
Ed was appointed a special advisor to Gordon Brown after Labor’s election
victory in 1997. Rising steadily through the ranks, he was made secretary of
state in the newly created Department of Energy and Climate Change in
Not an MP at during the Iraq war, Miliband has distanced himself
from the decision to go to war, saying he would have given the weapons
inspectors more time.
Most of the Miliband’s leadership campaign had been
directed towards the left of the party, declaring New Labor to be “dead” and
describing the direction of the party as “brutish US-style
In contrast, brother David, who was seen as a natural
successor to Tony Blair, focused on the center ground and the legacy of New
On Sunday, Ed Miliband insisted that Labor will not “lurch to the
left” under his leadership and that he will not be at the mercy of the trade
“I’m my own man,” he said in a BBC interview.
also said that he was on “the center ground of politics” and rejected the
nickname “Red Ed” he gained during the campaign as “rubbish.”
father of the Miliband brothers was Marxist intellectual Ralph Miliband, who
fled Belgium during World War II. Their mother is Polish-born Marion Kozak, who
is a signatory of the anti-Zionist campaign group Jews for Justice for
The Milibands lost over 80 family members during the
Holocaust, many in Auschwitz.
Ed Miliband was criticized during the
campaign for employing an anti-Israeli activist as an assistant.
Jewish Chronicle reported in July that Joseph Brown, a former student union
officer at London School of Economics, was working as a volunteer on Miliband’s
website during the leadership contest, despite also having previously been
sacked by another MP.
The community weekly reported that while at LSE,
Brown allegedly made comments about having “shot down a Zionist” during a
classroom occupation stunt to protest against Israel’s actions during Operation
Meanwhile Ken Livingstone has been chosen by the Labor Party
as their candidate for the mayor of London election in 2012. Livingstone, who
has a shaky relationship with the British Jewish community following his
outspoken views against Israel, will face Boris Johnson, the Conservative mayor
who beat Livingstone in the 2008 mayoral election.