Later this evening I heard David Milliband, one of the five contenders in the forthcoming Labour leadership contest, talking at a private function. In appearance and mannerisms he is eerily reminiscent of Tony Blair in 1994 (I was writing a study of the 1994 European elections in the UK, when John Smith unexpectedly and tragically died and Blair came to sudden prominence). But Blair was then towards the end of a long period in the wilderness of opposition for his party (he himself was elected an MP in Labour’s notorious 1983 rout), whereas Milliband was talking at the end of a long period in government (Milliband, first elected as an MP in 2001, has already got one of the great offices of state, Foreign Affairs Secretary, under his belt). Unlike in 1997, whatever weaknesses Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition may have, lack of front bench experience is not among them.