David Miliband standing down
from front line politics is a massive blow to his brother. For Labour it's bad enough the more electable Miliband isn't leader, to lose him from the team completely is a disaster.
Yes he's a ditherer, yes he was cowardly for not challenging Brown when he had the chance, but the elder Miliband looks head and shoulders above all the other shadow cabinet candidates. And he knows it.
He's clearly calculated his brother's leadership will end in failure and defeat. He spins his standing down as a selfless act the give his brother Ed more space and to help him build party unity but his real motivation is self interest. He knows that when his brother fails the party may well turn to him. But they're only likely to do that if he keeps his half of the Miliband brand untainted by his brother's failure. By withdrawing now he's is indeed allowing his brother space or, more accurately, rope with which to hang himself. Then MiliD can come riding back into town and the Labour MPs and party members, that always preferred him anyway, will back him in greater numbers, enough this time to outnumber any Union vote for a left winger, if one bothers to stand against him.
David Cameron would do well to think about a nice rich gravy train of a role for David Miliband. One that ties him up for at least 5 years but not one with a very high profile in the UK. Something in the EU perhaps?