The awesome ruthlessness of Ed Miliband

There is an excellent piece by James Macintyre on the Miliband brothers in this week’s New Statesman.  We recommend it.

It is surprising that more hasn’t been written about the extraordinary circumstance of these two brothers contesting the Labour leadership.  There have been endless passing references, but little of depth.

To all but the most partisan observer, it seems almost certain to be one of these two who succeeds Gordon Brown.

The magnitude of Ed’s decision to stand against his older brother has also been under-scrutinised.  This is no fault of his.  He has consistently said that it was the most difficult decision he has ever made.

He says so in an attempt to neutralise adverse reaction from those who see it as an unnatural act.  There are shades of Sophocles and Aeschylus in this younger brother’s eleventh hour assault on his beloved elder.

Imagine that your older sibling had been working towards a cherished and significant goal for 20 years.  Something to which some people occasionally said that you might one day also aspire.  But which it was rarely suggested that you might achieve before your brother.

The road to his dream is strewn with strife, but he navigates it. You follow in his shadow, keeping up the blistering pace, but always behind. Then, just as his Jerusalem comes into view, he seems to slow a little, whereas you feel stronger than ever. It begins to seem possible that you might strike him down from behind, leave him unconscious on the road, and stride – yourself – through the victory gate in his stead.  Your older brother.

That is Ed Miliband’s project.  It is breathtaking.

For some, such anti-nature will turn the stomach.  For others, it reveals the self-centred ruthlessness that they want to see in a leader. And which many think that David lacks (the ruthlessness, not the self-focus).

There is no doubt that the two brothers are genuinely close.  Which makes the younger brother’s cold brutality all the more awe-inspiring.

It is by far the most impressive thing Ed Miliband has done.  And the most leaderly.  And the most awful.

Bill Clinton electrocuted people to get elected.  And then he made a cult out of his charm.

Ed Miliband’s homicide is so far only attempted.  And it is metaphorical.  But it is his brother.

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18 Responses to “The awesome ruthlessness of Ed Miliband”

  1. John H says:

    Comparing Ed M’s candidacy with Bill Clinton’s electorally-motivated executions? Um, perspective, anyone?

  2. Of the likely outcomes, this really is the dream scenario………… Ed Miliband wins and takes the Labour Party further left and then Banana-Miliband throws the towel in and leaves politics.

  3. Hamish D says:

    What are you on?

    ” an unnatural act. There are shades of Sophocles and Aeschylus in this younger brother’s eleventh hour assault on his beloved elder”.

    Electrocution? Homicide?

    I prefer boring politicitians, or none at all.

  4. Is this written by Stuart Hall? A rambling narrative to describe something or someone utterly boring.

    “He comes on like a knight of Avalon. Merlin blessed his shining armour and a maiden’s lace handkerchief hangs around the great captain’s neck as a badge to mark both his chivalry and his night chamber’s desires… Dagenham nil – Brentford – nil

  5. P. Doff says:

    In true Ancient Roman fashion… I hope one stabs the other.

    But it won’t carry the same glory… so I don’t care who strikes the first blow!

  6. cuffleyburgers says:

    Slightly breathless what?

    Comparing the marx brothers to classical giants whose names redound down the millenia?

    Calm down and have a cup of tea!

    In 50 years no one will have heard of milliband major and minor (unless one of them turns out to ba an even more disastrous premier than Brown who seems to have set the bar pretty high)

  7. Robert says:

    “Imagine that your older sibling had been working towards a cherished and significant goal for 20 years. Something to which some people occasionally said that you might one day also aspire. But which it was rarely suggested that you might achieve before your brother.”

    But was this ever a realistic scenario? Because there’s no US-style term limit to provide an easy way out or a PM/President split to leave a nice way up: in the UK, all political careers end in failure – so wouldn’t the Miliband tag be a millstone if/when Mili-D fell?

  8. Demetrius says:

    Its called slip streaming, you see it all the time on motorways. The trouble comes when the one in front either hits the brakes hard or changes lanes unexpectedly.

  9. Trus Wrodbrochen says:

    Here’s hoping it all ends like the last Oasis tour.

  10. pseudograph says:

    What utter nonsense.

    Frankly that’s such a silly piece of writing the motives for it need to be questioned.

    It rather suggests that Milliband junior’s emergence as the better option has rattled cages. It’s just hard to judge which cage you’re writing from within, but my guess is that it’s Senior’s.

    It must be hard to realise you waited too long and that things changed and that you’re not as relevant as you might want to be. It must be hard to take, but – hey – it’s the nature of the defeat.

    New leader required with new approaches. Not merely defence of the last government and that tired, PM-in-waiting look.

  11. Nick says:

    The two guys should set up as a Mike and Bernie Winters tribute act. Who gives a shit? I back Balls. He will really consign the party to oblivion. Mind you David M is a nasty piece of work. He knocked me over in the street once (outside the Red Lion in WHitehall). I shouted, but the guy with machine gun snarled at me. He never even said sorry.

  12. Paul Linford says:

    One other interesting aspect of it is that they are playing Blair/Brown ’94 in reverse. The Brownite, Ed, is really the Blair of this contest, the ambitious newcomer seeking to usurp the Blairite, David, who is the established heir apparent. The only difference is that if David loses he won’t sulk for the next 13 years, he will simply quit politics.

  13. Talwin says:

    Perhaps the brothers could sort out their little conundrum, perhaps over a glass of charders, at, say, somewhere like Granita.

  14. Nick says:

    And why did DM adopt from America? There are thousands of kids in the UK needing adoption. I know, I have two. I asked him once, but got no reply.

  15. mark says:

    if ed and dave are the cream of labour’s talent, they can look forward to a very long time in opposition. both of them have the stench of the former govt hanging over them – and neither of them are people persons.

    the guy who empties my bins on a tuesday morning has more charisma than these two privileged chumps.

  16. Boudicca says:

    This is the first time I’ve seen normal sibling rivalry dressed up as awsome ruthlessness.

    Milipillock (senior) or Miliplonker (junior). Does it really matter? Neither one is electable.

  17. This should be by-lined. If you want to write a fairly sleazy and entirely incompetent hatchet job, at least have the decency to put your name to it.

  18. Curle says:

    “Bill Clinton electrocuted people to get elected.” What unmitigated claptrap (made no less so by its wide dissemination). Clinton simply stated his approval for a law that had been long on the books by the time he was Governor; a law enforced not at the direction of the Governor but by the appropriate mechanisms of the state, a county prosecutor and jury, against an individual who was more than worthy of the punishment (after committing two calculated murders). In the case of Mr. Rector, his mental incapacity occurred as a consequence of a post murder suicide attempt gone wrong. Rector, the man against whom justice was administered, was fully competent at the time he committed his crimes. Those who decry his death make a mockery of justice.

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