There might be a good reason for this - there’s not much point being next Labour leader. If I were Miliband, I’d be thinking thusly:
Forget all that pish about the great man theory of history. The key to great success in politics - as in the media or music - lies not so much in having huge ability, but in being the right person at the right time. Our four most successful prime ministers of the last 100 years - Churchill, Attlee, Thatcher, Blair - all had huge defects as well as merits. They (and in some cases the country) were lucky that they were around at the time when their merits were in demand and their defects could be overlooked.
However, the problem is that if I become Labour leader after 2010, I’ll be the wrong man in the wrong time, in at least three senses.
1. If the party repeats the pattern of Labour after 79 or the Tories after 97, it’ll retreat into an old leftism - accelerated by the fact that it’ll be disproportionately Blairites who’ll lose their seats in 2010. I’ll be leading a party of the last few dozen people in Britain who think big government is a good idea. The market for intelligent leftist ideas - which is thin even in good times - will be non-existent.
2. The public, or at least floating voters, seem to want someone who is apparently charming rather than apparently intellectual. This’ll change eventually, but not yet.
3. The Tories are unlikely to screw up too badly between 2010 and 2014-15. If economic forecasts are right, they’ll have the prevailing wind of an economic upturn. And Cameron’s popularity with the media won’t fade quickly.
So, if I become Labour leader, I’ll be like William Hague in 1997-2001. I might be smarter and more principled than my rival, but I’ve no chance of becoming PM.
This might have been good enough for Hague, who won the respect of the Westminster village and lots of money from directorships and speaking engagements. But I didn’t come into politics for those motives. I came in to become PM. And the best way to do that is to be Labour’s next leader but one.