Miliband v Miliband

David and Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband has told his local party that he will contest the Labour leadership.  That means David and Ed Miliband are presently the only two politicians competing for the leadership.  That could make for some interesting campaign literature.  What does one say about one’s opponent?

Harold Macmillan was criticised for the number of his relatives he appointed to Government.  In the US, John Kennedy appointed his brother as Attorney-General.   Political blood can run in families.  Indeed, it is interesting the number of MPs, on both sides of the House, who are the sons or daughters of former MPs or are related (in some cases married) to other politicians.  We now wait to see whether competition between brothers for the Labour leadership is complemented by competition between a husband and wife.  Perhaps parties should introduce provision for joint-candidatures!

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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5 Responses to Miliband v Miliband

  1. Jonathan says:

    Political blood can run in families: is this an argument in favour of the hereditary peerage? I remember Tony Benn once on Question Time or similar saying that if your doctor was there simply because his father and grandfather had been, you’d be worried about whether he was doing a good job. It’s ironic when you consider his father and son were/are both politicians (although admittedly not the son who is his heir).

    I suspect that it’s a case of nurture rather than nature. Parents often have an influence over their children’s career, not just in politics, although in my case it was a determination not to go into the same profession as my parents!

    • Lord Norton says:

      Jonathan: I am sure you are right that it is a case of nurture. Being in a political environment can generate early interest and open up avenues of which others are not aware.

  2. Dave H says:

    Ed will be able to come up with all the stories about how his brother swiped his sweets and generally behaved as older brothers do, whereas David will be able to come up with all the stories about how he’d build something with bricks and his younger brother came and knocked them down.

  3. Frank W. Summers III says:

    Lord Norton,

    Among the Acadians of south Louisiana there are certain family names that make any candidate a formidable political contender (five are in a unique ultra category (Summers is not such a name although I am closely related to all and descended from most). However, your comments remind me of one perennial elected official possessed of one of these names. Allegedly he struck his wife quite hard. He and his direct ancestors had not been out of local office in nearly a century. The alleged crime came to nothing in court but his ex-wife ran against him in the next race with the slogan “He’ll never beat me again”. He did not. Other cousins keep the family name around but he has been out of office in past decades.

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