After the speculation, kremlinology, rumours of plots, and Closer-style commentary, the brothers-at-war psychodrama the media loved to obsess about is over. In the biggest piece of expected news since, well, last week's budget David Miliband is to announce (and has in fact, pre-announced) his resignation to head up International Rescue in New York.
There is very little that can be added to the coverage already oozing from the commentariat's every pore. And because it's not the done thing to speak ill of the dead, even if it's only a political career that's snuffed it, I'll leave it for someone else to ask the tough questions about extraordinary rendition, the business interests, and expenses.
Weirdly, I have always quite liked David. Not enough to vote for him when it mattered, but he was a strange attractor for those of a wonkish, geeky bent. But I never understood his appeal beyond that milieu, especially as it was the other Miliband who was supposed to 'do human'. And of all the candidates who duked it out for the Labour leadership, it was David's candidacy stamped most clearly with continuity. As far as I was concerned, his position was too managerial, too technocratic, too tied to an austerity agenda, too close to those who would reduce the influence of unions, and too willing to fight the next election as if it was 1997 again. Unlike the candidacies of the two Eds, I did not think he'd learned the lessons of the crash and what it meant to politics. And when you had "crafty" Tories "letting it be known" to the press they feared a David leadership, well, faint praise coming from that quarter certainly damned him in others.
Another problem with David was the absence of any hint he would challenge powerful interests. Could you imagine Labour under David making the running against Murdoch? Attacking the Tories for their millionaires' tax cut? Committing to reversing the Tory privatisation of the NHS? Or sticking up for the very poorest by opposing the 1% cap on social security payments and the spiteful bedroom tax? Would David have proved any more effective in appealing to those swing seats Labour needs to capture in 2015? It is, of course, a question that will never be answered. But every activist in their marrow knows it's much harder to sell the technocratic politics of detail on the doorstep than a different but credible way of doing things, which, of course, will be the actual choice come the next election.
As far as the party is concerned, there will be a bout of mourning for some, and others will take David's departure as a body blow against the Blairites. But the truth is that current has long been a busted flush. It has no organising centre, no network of would-be stalking horses ready to defenestrate Ed when the time comes. In fact, the prominent figures most associated with that most ancien of regimes are entirely dependent on the leader's largesse for their position. As the axis of politics has shifted so too have the balance of factions and groupings within the party. Ed-Ed's position is unassailable and - at last - unions are playing a more active role at all levels of the organisation again. Even Progress these days reads like a proper social democratic journal (well, most of the time). If anything, what David's resignation underlines is the final extinction of the Blairite/Brownite paradigm. The shadow they cast over the party's dynamics have finally faded for good.
For those who still hold a candle for David, I'm sorry, he won't be back. He's done. But there's still a difficult job to hand. There is a labour movement to be rebuilt, a party that needs to be much larger, and the most ruinous government since the 1930s to be defeated. So, as you were.