Before I launch into a tirade against David Milliband, I should explain the Edge of Darkness reference that will be drawn into it. Whilst I find it impossible to contemplate a universe without Edge of Darkness, (it was a factor in my becoming so interested in parapolitics), I am aware that some people had not only never watched this seminal drama, they have not even heard of it. Anyone falling into that category is a victim of a cultural tragedy equivalent to have never being exposed to Merrie Melodies.
Edge of Darkness is probably the best drama ever produced by the BBC. It is certainly the best conspiracy drama ever produced. I know most conspiracy researchers will be going into toxic shock and shouting: “The Manchurian Candidate,” very loudly at the screen when they read the previous sentence, but there is no contest. Despite the ambiguous trapping of fantasy that could be taken as nothing more than the delusions of a grieving father descending into madness, Edge of Darkness accurately depicts what a real political conspiracy is like. It delivers a better glimpse into how the world of shadows works than any other work of fiction in any other medium ever has. Trust me, it really is that good.
It is also the pinnacle of TV drama excellence. Edge of Darkness has it all. White-hot acting performances from ever cast member. Emotional depth with such a distilled essence of reality it shakes you to watch it. Characters you will never forget (especially the greatest fictional CIA Agent of all time - Darius Jedburgh). The most multi-layered, but resolutely non-poncey script around. Michael Kamen and Eric Clapton’s powerful score. The most disturbing use ever of a Willie Nelson song ever recorded. Humour so sharp it could cut diamonds, (it is impossible to not love anything with the line: “Have you seen Come dancing? Boy, nobody dances like the British. They deserve the Falklands.”) Everything about Edge of Darkness radiates the rare power of perfection.
Despite being made in 1985, the script has not aged. What it has to say about Westminster machinations, MI5 operations, the CIA, radical politics, environmental terrorism, the Knights of Malta, how petty local corruption forms part of bigger webs of deceit, US corporations and private enterprise and a host of other issues is just as relevant and truthful more than 20 years on. Though many believe the end of the cold war redefined all of the issues surrounding the nature of the nuclear state, watching Edge of Darkness pulls rug from under that cosy notion. It forces you to remember that plutonium has always been at the heart of nuclear power and plutonium has always meant political power.
Therefore, when I say David Milliband is behaving like a minor character in Edge of Darkness, this is not a good thing. As the current Secretary of State for Environment, Milliband is going to have a big role in deciding whether a new generation of nuclear power stations gets built. To discover at the weekend that he has been receiving money from Alan Donelly worries me incredibly. Donelly owns Sovereign Strategy, a lobbying company representing US nuclear company Fluor who have a multi-million dollar reason for wanting an expansion in nuclear power. Donelly is also behind the Transatlantic Nuclear Forum (an organisation any aspiring conspiracy theorist should keep an eye on).
I am not suggesting some grand plot where dark forces (one of the original titles floated for Edge of Darkness) have put Milliband into a position of power. I am just commenting when a MP does not declare gifts from the like of Donelly in Common’s register of member’s interests, I get suspicious. It gives the appearance that Milliband is too close to the pro-nuclear lobby to make impartial decisions. Less than a week in the job and he is already too tainted for anyone with any savvy to trust anything he says about one of the most important decisions this current Government will make in the next couple of years.
Of course, despite the revelations about his links to Sovereign Strategy his job is safe. Who needs the conspiracies of the nuclear state when you apathetic response of fourth estate and the arrogance of New Labour?