Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cold Feet

An interview with Justine Miliband in the Mirror has muddied the historical waters of her on-off relationship with Ed - and Ed's connections with Stephanie Flanders.

Justine tells the Mirror “I first met Ed when I went to a friend’s house for dinner. I was interested in him, I thought he was good looking and clever and seemed to be unattached. But we just went down a conversational cul-de-sac. Apparently we had nothing in common. He wanted to talk about economics – one of my least favourite subjects.  He didn’t know my friend Adrian. None of our conversations went anywhere. Then I found out he was secretly going out with the woman who had invited us for dinner. I was furious."

"I bumped into him a couple of times after that, but we didn’t start seeing each other for at least a year.”

Most newspapers and websites think the couple's first meeting was in 2002, when they were in their early thirties. Ed was special adviser to Gordon Brown from 1997 til July 2002, when it was announced that he was taking unpaid leave from the Treasury, to teach at Harvard. John Rentoul of The Independent, no fan of Miliband, thinks the dinner party hostess was Stephanie Flanders. Stephanie joined Newsnight some time in 2002, having spent the previous year with the New York Times.

However, other papers put that first Ed/Justine meeting in 2004. Stephanie was still with Newsnight, and Ed had come back from the States, appointed by Gordon Brown to lead the Treasury's Council of Economic Advisers - as a replacement for Ed Balls.

Previously, we were led to believe that Ed's dalliance with Stephanie came just after his graduation from Corpus, Oxford in 1992. Ed was a researcher on Channel 4's A Week In Politics.  Stephanie was either at the London Business School or the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Meanwhile, back to Justine:“Canvassing in the rain always reminds me of falling in love with Ed in 2005”. That fits more with a 2004 first meeting, but the Mirror's timeline is still confusing....

The next time they met, Ed and Justine found they did have shared interests. Ed was about to be made Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. Justine had just written a book on the subject They also shared a similar sense of humour. 

That appointment was made in October 2008. I think we need a full infographic on all this...  Much more fun than politics.

  • 0830 Friday update: Front page of the Mail has more than you might wish to know....

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