Friday, May 21, 2010

Ed Miliband's Marriage Problem

One thing which I don't think has been mentioned in relation to Ed Miliband's leadership bid is that he isn't married but instead lives with the mother of his son.

In theory his personal life is just that- personal- and his situation is perfectly normal nowadays. Marriage might well important building block of society but each couple have their own reasons for having whatever arrangements they prefer and it would certainly be unedifying if prospective leaders started getting married in order to benefit their prime ministerial aspirations.

However given the focus on the leaders' wives during the election it is unrealistic to expect his private life to remain off limits. Back in 2000 there was a leaked memo from Tony Blair in which the former PM expressed his astonishment that he could be viewed as hostile to marriage:
It is bizarre that any government I lead should be seen as anti-family.
In other words he grasped that people view the party's committment to family issues through the private lives of their leaders. It is unfair but there you go. Whilst Ed Miliband's situation is really quite common I suspect that if the subject of marriage comes up- for example when the tax system is adjusted to take account of it- any criticism that he makes will be seen as an attack on traditional values and the institution of marriage itself.

5 comments:

Peter said...

Hague got a lot of grief for not being married to the lovely Ffyon when he became Our Leader, so yes, it could count against Mili Minor.

Laban said...

On the other hand Clegg is an open atheist and proud of the notches on his bedpost, which have almost destroyed its structural integrity.

Doesn't seem to have done him any harm.

Ross said...

Peter- I remember that, there was some fuss somewhere because he shared a hotel room with Ffion before they were married.

Laban- True. Although Clegg didn't really claim to have slept with 30 women, it was mischivous questioning by Piers Morgan.

Mark said...

Across the water, Bertie Ahern conducted a LTR with his 'consort' Celia Larkin which the Irish public accepted without demur. Ed Miliband's domestic arrangements will probably elicit a similar shrug of the shoulders over here.

Ross said...

Mark correct me if I'm wrong, but when Ahern separated from his wife, divorce was illegal in Ireland at the time, so it was the same as conciously avoiding marriage.