Miliband vs Cruddas
I'm not sure the Torygraph is a very reliable source of Labour gossip but it claims No10 wants a "dream ticket" of Brown for Leader & David Miliband for Deputy Leader - with the aim of keeping Jon Cruddas out of the Deputy Leadership.
I'm relaxed about and can see the merits of the eventual result of the election being something that can be labelled up as a Blairite/Brownite dream ticket but I don't think a pre-result campaign as a "ticket" is appropriate - there are a range of good candidates and Brown - or for that matter any other leadership candidate or the current PM - should stand back from the Deputy race and let them all fight it out and let Party members have a genuine pluralistic choice. There shouldn't be a "line" on who to back for deputy from No10 or No11 and if there was it would probably backfire and hurt the annointed candidate(s).
If there was a "dream ticket" result I don't think the Blairite half of that ticket should be Miliband.
In the unlikely event that it did come down to a choice between Miliband and Cruddas I would definitely vote for Cruddas.
I think that's mainly a cultural thing.
I hear only good things about Miliband from people that know him (I've not met him) and he is clearly very able, but I worry that he is too much an "inside the beltway" Whitehall figure who went straight from No10 to Parliament. Yes Cruddas did too, but he had a pre-history before going to No10 in the party and the unions and just comes across as a more gritty, grounded character. I find Miliband too academic and theoretical and his speech to Spring Conference this year was very bland.
If Brown is leader - a hugely able and academically gifted man but not really having a "common touch" - we will need a more down-to-earth populist Deputy to balance that.
Up against smooth upper-class Tories like Cameron and Osborne we shouldn't try to copy them - we should be trying to contrast Labour with them as being led by people who have more in common with the average voter.
That's why I expressed support for Blears a couple of days ago, and why in casting second or lower preferences I will be giving them to candidates who I perceive to have the ability to connect with ordinary voters rather than splitting hairs over their exact position within the sensible end of the Labour Party - hence under the Torygraph's scenario I'd go for Cruddas over Miliband.
At 41, Miliband has a lot of time to play with as a politician and may well develop into a strong enough player to go for a top job in the not-so-distant future - but for the moment I think it's premature for him to take a run at deputy.