Saturday, 15 May 2010


I NEVER REALLY felt terribly happy about the two Milibands being in Gordon Brown’s Cabinet. Nor was I in the least at ease with the idea that Mrs and Mr Ed Balls were both Secretaries of State. It seemed to me during my extremely brief encounter with the awful civil service that, if members of the same family were not allowed to work in the same office at the most junior of ranks, then it was plain wrong for people at the “top” to be allowed to. However, I put their inclusion down less to their invaluableness than to the dire shortage of any talent of any kind available in the Commons to Brown government. The appointment of Jacquie Smith and continual adding to the Lords of dubious ministerial talent was indication that there was little to be found of any use in the elected house.

Now with old Grumpy Guts out of the way, it seems that the same lack of talent presents itself for election to the role of leader of the opposition..... the only opposition, now that Nick Clegg has deserted it for the Deputy Prime Minister’s seat.

So it was without much surprise that I heard today that along with his brother David, Ed Miliband was to run for leader. He announced his bid for the top job at the Fabian Society, telling his audience that the party had lost touch with its “values and people". He also criticised Labour’s recent record on civil liberties, including the ID cards scheme, and claimed its election campaign suffered from having “too many men and not enough women”. (I wonder if that was a bid to get the Harridan to vote for him.) So he was happy about the ID cards and now he’s not.

(I wish people would stop going on about not enough women, or not enough minority ethnics or gays or penguins or whatever. There’s nothing stopping people of either sex, of any sexuality and any ethnic origin getting involved [ok, there are issues over penguins]. Either they don’t want to or no one votes for them. It’s a democracy. Eat it up and get over it.)

Fortunately for all of us Yvette Balls has ruled herself out, but her husband is still testing the water, which would suggest he has no intention of standing unless he thinks he’s going to win, or at least not be humiliated like Peter Hain was when he came last in the Deputy Leadership race. I assume that Harriet Harman is not going to have the good grace to stand down and give the party the chance to elect a new team.

I’d like to see the New Politics (DaveNick) bring in a rule that will stop members of the same family being in the same Cabinet. I don’t think it is right that two brothers might have the top two jobs, or if Balls were to win that he might appoint his wife to some task well above her limited abilities to keep her sweet... or indeed sack her because she burnt the dinner!

Pics: The Brothers Miliband and the Balls.


  1. Good old “New Politics”© (now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Conservative Party). New Hogwash more like! What’s new about scheming your way to the top of the greasy pole and telling every sort of lie to get there. The Lib Dems supply the rhetoric and the Tories supply the policies and the Lib Dems can act as a sticking plaster for the Tories in Scotland.

    As to who becomes Labour leader....who cares?

  2. Oh damn Munguin. I thought you'd be interested too.


    Well, I'm wishing them luck because I guess we all need some, but I fear that you're right.

  3. Tris,

    Don't know what your problem is with brothers - you should recall that the Charlton brothers were hugely successful in helping England win the World Cup - if you don't recall it, perhaps you'll be reminded quite a few times next month.

    You will recall that the Grimm brothers were hugely successful in writing Labour's manifestos and dossiers.

    You will recall that the Alexander brothers were hugely successful in being Scotland's leading beat combos for 85 years. That recollection should send your sporran swinging.

    Could it be that if Balls or anyone else gets the most votes that the Milliband brothers will form a coalition and thus rule the Labour party.

    Could it be that, along with Munguin, no-one apart from Niko, really cares?

  4. Yes Brownlie, but the Charlton's, Grimm's and Alexander brothers all had one thing going for them.


  5. Brilliant Brownlie. Haven't stopped laughing yet.

    And QM, bang on, except....erm.... talent....erm.... have you ever heard the Alexander Brothers....erm sing?

  6. I think your being a little hard on Ed Miliband. He is a capable man who deserves to be at the head of Labour- he is the guy who rescued Copenhagen afterall, and [unlike his elder brother, David] was actually liked [even now] by the sage-in-chief Tony Benn!

  7. Plus, I think that a rule to prevent family members being in the same cabinet would be really bad. Surely what ought to matter, the ole measurement of entitlement to sit in cabinet, is merit and capacity? Once we start taking account for heredity- well-I don't like that one bit!

  8. Dean: I very much agree that merit and capability ought to be the qualifications for any job and I don’t like the idea of heredity one little bit either. Can we now transpose these worthy ideals to our head of state and upper chamber of parliament

  9. lol, I could live with applying those ideals to the upper chamber- reform of some sort has now become inevitable.

    However, it is not my place to question the Head of State, and the proper order of things.


  10. Dean: I see it is proper to question the “proper order of things” as far as the house of lords is concerned, now that its reform is part of the “New Politics”®, but not as far as the head of state is concerned?

  11. Does “New Politics”® just in actual fact involve cherry picking popular and easy quick fixes instead of the root and branch new approach promised? What is inclusive about that?

  12. Dean: I think that elsewhere in government departments members of the same family cannot work in the same areas...even the same buildings. I think that what is good for those down the bottom on £12,000 a year, should be equally good for those up at the top on £150,000.

    There are difficulties which arise from families working together with outsiders and the rules are there for good reasons.

    The assumption that the Milibands or Balls are above that kid of thing and we are not is a little insulting to us lesser beings.

  13. Niko... I'm glad you care....

  14. Tris

    Did you watch Thursdays Question Time with Michael Heseltine on the panel? He was asked near the end who he thought would be the best leader for Labour and his answer was priceless.

    "I couldn't care less" lol.

    I hold the same views as Hezza over who leads the Labour party but the point you make about having members of the same family in the cabinet is an interesting one.

    David Cameron has just appointed his wife Nicky to the post of Deputy PM, talk about keeping it in the family!

  15. No Allan... I was politicked ut by then mate. I think a lot of people feel that way. I suspect that Niko is one of the few that give a damn.

    Yep. LOL. Fair point about Cameron and Clegg. They do seem to be awfully chummy!!

  16. Tris

    Clegg and Cameron are both in the Toffty club

  17. Ha ha Niko... I guess they are though.

    But Brown was in the Boring Git Club, let's be honest.

  18. The Boring Git club? Now that is an elite club.

  19. Damn, and I thought our club was a secret. I usually fall asleep whilst chairing it.

  20. Allan, I suspect that the boring git club has a massive membership.... see, Brownlie is the Chairman (sorry Harriet) Chair Carbon Unit, of it.