Peter Hoskin

Why fraternal rivalry will be good for Labour

Why fraternal rivalry will be good for Labour
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With the Sun reporting that Ed Miliband is going to stand for the Labour leadership, it's probably a good time to dig out Anne McElvoy's profile of the Miliband brothers for the Sunday Times last month. To my mind, its opening neatly encapsulates the choice between the wonkish one and the slighty-less-wonkish one that Labour may have to make:

"When David and Ed Miliband were teenagers, their north London household rang to the chatter of some of the most prominent left-wing names of the era: Tony Benn, Tariq Ali, the ANC leader Joe Slovo and the late Michael Foot.

David, one regular guest recalls, would sit 'absorbing it all' and asking interested questions of the grandees. His less interested younger brother, Ed, would slip away to the TV room to watch Sue Ellen, JR, Bobby and Pam slogging it out in Dynasty - 'my secret vice', he admits."

Either way, making a choice – whether it's between two siblings or not – will surely be a good thing for Labour. Gordon Brown's unilateral assumption of the throne in 2007 meant that the party avoided the kinds of questions about direction and ideology which could have made his premiership smoother and more coherent. This time around, a multi-candidate field should help give some shape to Labour in opposition.