Miliband has a strong knack for crystallising the fervour that gripped the media after Glasgow East. With the Guardian article and subsequent public appearances, he has attempted to prepare for a leadership campaign that has not yet begun. The timing of the article was designed to satisfy the dissent in Labour ranks over Brown's poor performance: a 'show and tell' before the silly season starts when everyone retires to the seaside.
Is his timing poor and his vision wanting? Like Portillo, Miliband hovers as the nearly man, prepared to take the crown yet keep his hands clean. All are aware of his appetites but he has broken ranks at a time when a contest will not take place and within a media frenzy, where it is not possible to put down a coded marker. Miliband wished to indulge in coded signalling to Labour and ended up as a rebel.
Attacked by the dogs of Brown, Miliband does not appear to be the lightning rod for revolt. Given this challenge, the Prime Minister will need to assert his authority. Various articles have grimly foretold Miliband's future on the backbenches or at the Home Office. But this manoevre will consign him to a powerless position, and he lacks the charisma to maintain his influence.
If Miliband is sacked, he may yet become a mere footnote: a meteoric rise, followed by obscurity and media harlotry. One of the dispensible figures of late New Labour who belonged to its final, mediocre expression under Brown. Noted for his lack of political nous.