Sunday, 26 September 2010


Posted by Tania Kindersley.

I feel oddly melancholy about the Labour leadership outcome. I used to love Ed Miliband, but the campaign brought out the worst in him. He became tribal and oddly petulant; I saw one interview where his underlying assumption seemed to be how dare you lowly reporter question brilliant me? It was most unedifying. David Miliband I thought behaved with grace and good humour. So I think the Unions, and it was they who decided it, chose wrongly. I think it will be bad for the Labour Party and bad for the country, because strong, principled opposition is vital for the next few turbulent years. I am most Sunday-nightish about the whole affair.

Also, the more I ponder it, the odder I think it is to run against your own brother. I know there should not be a coronation sort of thing, just because someone is older, or got there first, but I still find it emotionally peculiar. I try to imagine if my sister wanted more than anything to be Prime Minister (I would vote for that party) and after she had gone about her campaign, I decided that I would step in and challenge her. It would be perfectly within my rights to do it; it would make sense on paper; but I know I could not perform such an act of familial hubris and treachery in a million years. People are saying that it shows that Mili E has the necessary ruthlessness, the chip of ice in his heart that all successful leaders must have. I think this is an old canard. I think it shows that he learnt his lessons in loyalty too well from all his years in the Treasury.

I am in danger of thinking: bunch of showers, the whole lot of them, and I hate that unworthy thought.

To cheer myself up, I made some polenta chips and started to look forward to Downton Abbey, a perfect Sunday night period drama, filmed at Highclere, written by Julian Fellowes, and starring two of my all-time favourites: Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville. (Together at last, I kept thinking.) I consulted the television guide to see what time it was on, only to discover that IT IS NOT SHOWING IN SCOTLAND. Instead, there is a thirteen-year-old programme about Billy Connolly in the Arctic. I am incandescent with rage. I am being treated as a second-class citizen on account of geography. What were the programmers thinking, when they fixed up the schedule? Scots are far too chippy to want to watch a programme about English aristocrats? It is prejudice and foolishness, and I am considering taking my case to the European Court of Human Rights.

I shall just have to console myself with conkers and roses:





  1. I have very mixed feelings about the Milli Band (of brothers) issue.

    One half of me agrees with your discomfort and lack of comprehension of young E's thinking. The other half (my Yang) says, what the Hell - Get over it and get on with the task ahead in spite of.

    Interesting point in the booklet about Parliament in reference to the " official opposition has a mandate to provide the voters with an alternative viewpoint to the government."

    One thing Milli E , in his acceptance speech, appeared to hold at arms length, suggesting that support and agreement was desirable when applicable. I found that interesting. Time will tell if it holds water.

    More worrying to me, as understandable as it was given time and place, the first few minutes of the speech concentrated on massaging the egos of the 'party' and the losing candidates - the populace came a fairly poor third.

    I think the next few months could be fascinating politics.

  2. Yes, it's so odd. I caught it on the news last night and thought I'd heard wrong. As it's not been at the forefront of our doom and gloom (wrong end of the world) it hadn't really registered with me. Now I'm fascinated, not least because at first glance I thought they were US looking congressmen!

  3. I agree standing in the first place is treacherous. Hope Ed realises he didn't exactly win by a resounding majority and threats his brother rather better from now on.

    Downton Abbey is all you would expect - intrigue above and below stairs. Definitely try and see it on ITV's iplayer thingy.

  4. It may have been showing down here in London but I couldn't watch it either because my TV is old* and only gets the five terrestrial channels and the reception is bad at the best of times (not quite sure why, the arial seems to be pointing the right way) and when it gets wet or windy (and it was both this evening) it goes very fuzzy indeed and gets those funny lines going up and down.

    I watched How to Read A Church on iPlayer instead and it was brilliant.

  5. * hmm, it's actually only about 6 years old, since when was that old

  6. I was rather worried about Ed
    I was rather worried about
    Ed Miliband winning because of his reliance on the unions for support - we don't want a re-run of the 1970s! But David Miliband seems to me a less principled character, more interested in power than altruism - though of course I may be wrong. It might be good if David Miliband were Shadow Chancellor, being more similar to the Coalition - he might counteract the frightening spend-spend impulse of the Labour Left, but it's obviously a very difficult choice for him, being in no 11 with brother in no 10! Why were two brothers contesting the Labour leadership? I think it might be genetic!

    "Downton Abbey" is very good: at first it seemed like a costume drama but now the relationships are becoming more explained it's gathering strength, especially through the excellent acting of Brendan Coyle as the valet, John Bates, and Jim Carter as Carson, the servants' manager. It's a sign of the times that the accents which the aristocrats would have had, have been toned down - it's becoming a lost accent - not a bad thing in a way. It'll be interesting to see what happens to the characters in a changing world (1st World War, 1920s). Nothing can beat the TV serial "Brideshead Revisited" for the depiction of that changing time - good films and TV serials are often based on the book of a great writer, like Waugh. But still, Downton Abbey is food for thought - thank goodness those days of domestic service have gone (it does still exist now, I know, in a different way) but people are able to be more independent, without being reliant on the lord of the manor for their housing and relationships - a theme which is depicted very well in the programme. Ah well - deep subject!....

  7. PS - Of course, David Miliband wouldn't be in no 11, he'd be Shadow Chancellor. Sorry - it's a bit late!

  8. No-one should be denied Maggie Smith, it's unconstitutional!

  9. I did not like Ed's first speech.

    I'm all mixed, I like you used to like Ed, and worked with the Cabinet Office when he was there and it seemed like he was doing good things. He capitulated too early to Humphries on the radio back then, and now it seems he has gone the other way. Quite concerning.

    My brother was devastated at the idea of David but my sister is only consoled about Ed because she is on a Greek island at the moment. We shall see.

    I missed Downton Abbey as I fell asleep. Hopefully it will be on ITV's Iplayer thingy

  10. I too found Ed petulant...on the Andrew Marr show I found myself wondering if Ed had had any media training atall as he seemed unprepared, slightly cross, impatient. Hmmm. Meanwhile conkers - I hear it's a poor conker harvest this year on account of the dry summer.
    The rose image is beautiful. I hope your Monday morning brings better Sunday night.
    Lou x

  11. Tania
    Forgive the off topic post but a couple of weeks ago before I was away I had warning messages preventing me from accessing your Blog. Seemed rtging link to a Sunday Suppers website.

    I hope that clear access now means that was either my own over sensitive security system or else since sorted.

  12. Just thought that I would drop you a line to say how much I like your blog. I am a former lawyer turned Personal Stylist with no interest in politics whatsoever. However, I like the juxtaposition in your blog of politics with flowers/food. Plus whilst politics is of little interest to me,I admire how passionate you feel about what is happening in the world - so I read your blog and learn! Mission accomplished! Beth

  13. Well since Brightyangthing brought it up I was also denied access to your blog for about a week. My computer kept telling me your site was harbouring malware or something.

  14. I totally agree with your comments about Ed Milli-I had the sam thoughts going through my mind as I listened to him.

    It is a Shakespearean moment though -waiting today to see what David will do


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