Much has been made in the media over the past few days about the psycho drama of Ed Milliband winning the labour leadership over his older brother David. Mention of Cain and Abel, even Isaac and Ishmael has been made. Plot and intrigue about the mathematics have been picked over, how David really won and the leadership is Ed’s on a technicality and now the “will he, won’t he” over whether David has a future in his brother’s cabinet.
There has been much doom saying, about how this will all end badly. With this in mind, I would like to offer another thought or two into the debate.
Commentators have so far picked out biblical and classical blood brother relationship stories where the ending is always a bad one for both in the end.
In great teams people talk of brotherhood, remember “Band of Brothers”? In military terms when recalling great teamwork men have talked of their “Brothers in Arms”, they talk of love, mutual respect and trust, of a relationship so close that they finish each others sentences, predict what their next move will be, exercise great judgement in the wider team because of that closeness.
For someone in a leadership position, having this closeness, whether this be with a blood brother or not can be a real strength, another trusted set of eyes and ears, someone who can say the things that need to be said but are prevented from.
This all boils down to the relationship between the individuals of course. Brown and Blair declared that their relationship was a brotherhood of sorts. However anyone who was there, or just a perusal of the first few chapters of Tony Blair’s biography reveals that this was not the case at all. Great division and two towering egos were already coming into play long before the wider world knew of B&B.
There appears to be genuine love between David and Ed, their body language simply cannot hide it, so comfortable are they with it that over the past few days they have said it over and over, to each other and to anyone else who will listen. David has been magnanimous in defeat, said the days of clique and division must come to an end, rallying the party behind his brother. Could it be that after both brothers experiencing the pain behind the scenes of the B&B years, and it is said that the two brothers did much of the peacemaking in that particular story. That they know that between them they have the makings of a strong, even powerful team, so much so that it possibly doesn’t matter which brother is “victorious”, are they two sides of the same coin, better together, Brothers in Arms?