Thursday, 7 October 2010


So the Labour party now has a new leader in Ed Miliband. Irrespective of political views we’re all now in a position to make balanced decisions when voting because this major party can now display the direction in which it is now heading..... or so we hoped when the vote came in.

It was a shame that the media decided to put more of its attention on the relationship between Ed and brother David, who also ran for the leadership. Any message that Ed tried to put over as to Labours political direction was certainly heard but dully in comparison to the more prominent message of brotherly love .... or not.

It was a very brave step for both brothers to stand against each other in such an open and public forum. Obviously knowing from the start that one or other of them would fail in their bid, they showed enormous dignity in both the battle and the result. That is where the media should have left it, but news isn’t worth reading or hearing unless it has sensationalistic value and Ed’s priorities for the future of his party were dreadfully overshadowed by cameras and microphones homing in on every facial expression and every word uttered by his brother during the rest of the Labour conference. Whether or not it was the original intention for the defeated brother to step away from front line politics, both brothers must have felt frustrated at the menial and very intrusive gaze into their relationship.

Family rivalry did not have a place in the case of the Milibands’ but the media knows too well that blood being thicker than water can sometimes turn to blood being as dangerous as poison and they spoon fed us all the intoxicating liquor.

Family relationships have more difficulties than the poets would have us believe. It’s programmed into us that we MUST love our family, it seems to be an unquestioned rule that family love is unconditional and that it deserves our loyalty whatever the cost. Some are lucky enough to have such without difficulty. In all honesty, it isn’t automatic nor should it be viewed by anyone as a solid expectation. We don’t have to look far to see people around us who struggle to hold together those expectations which are drummed into us.

Certainly children have to depend on family ties in order to learn the social skills required in later life. It goes without saying that a child’s innocence is dependent on the actions of the adults around them, not only on a protective and nurturing level but also such things as conversations, arguments, tolerances and other everyday behaviours which lay the ground for how they will interact with others in adulthood. Once the child becomes an adult the learning process doesn’t stop, it begins to broaden as our lessons acquire more teachers and we begin to make our own decisions on which teacher provides the best information. Making those adult decisions can sometimes mean that the values taught to us as children are not the values we want to take forward. Obviously the case with the Miliband brothers or they wouldn’t have turned out so opposite in political viewpoints.

It’s at the stage of making our own decisions that, if we still lived as part of the greater animal kingdom, we would wave goodbye to our family and face the world as individuals. None of this ‘family ties’ business exists with our animal friends.

Having a close family must be wonderful and surely the envy of all who are not part of such a strong unit but the reality is that to remain within the strong childhood bonds is rare and that the urge to drift away is with more of us than we dare to admit, and stands against all that we’re taught.

Whatever the relationship away from the cameras of the Miliband brothers, we should view their struggle to ‘smile for the cameras’ as a failing on the part of our race to accept our natural desire to move on and be who we are.

Cherish all your relationships but never force a feeling that isn’t there. Be true to yourself.
GBWY (or whatever spirit rocks your boat)

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