The conversation began with an acknowledgement of the decline, at least electorally, of centre left politics in the developed world. Alongside this Miliband argued that the balance of power globally is profoundly shifting.
Closer to home there was a clear acceptance that Labour’s performance at the 2010 election was exceptionally poor. When quizzed on his role now in Labour’s recovery he said “I have to observe the first oath not to get in the way. I have to look forward as well as back.” That said his future ambitions were perhaps exposed when he said it was right not to be in the shadow cabinet “at the moment”.
Brilliantly diplomatic with incisive questions from host and audience (not least about his allegiances to both Arsenal and Sunderland), he often cited the ‘do no harm’ principle before responding. Throughout he was careful and considered but this may be his weakness. Miliband is perhaps too accomplished a politician and his passion often gives way to pragmatism.