David Miliband, does this really mean it’s over between us? | Barbara Ellen

How long does it take to get over a broken heart? How much time should you give a lost love to change his mind and return to your tender embrace? Oh, and does it make any real difference if you’ve never actually met and he lives thousands of miles away?

I ask, because I was reading a news item about David Miliband being in the running for the top job in the United Nations development arm. Nothing odd about that, except I realised that I was poring over the details (very high-profile international position… based in New York) as emotionally and furtively as though I were snooping on an ex’s social media page.

“So, what’s ‘David’ doing now? Oh, look, he’s after a new job at the UN, the United Nations development programme. He’s moving on. Which means… he’s not planning a British political comeback! He’s not returning to save the Labour party or the centre ground. Not even a little bit. He’s forgotten about Britain. (Sound of hair-tearing and rending of clothes.) He doesn’t love us any more!”

And so on. All I needed to do was chain smoke, crack open a couple of bottles of wine, stick on some moody music, let tears drag the mascara down my swollen cheeks and I’d have been the perfect embodiment of embittered heartbreak. In my mind, “David” would be standing in golden light, a centre-left halo faintly glistening above his beautiful (electable?) hair, immortalised 4evz as “the One Who Got Away”.

This is the David Miliband effect on a…


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