IT’S A tricky thing being an older brother. Of course, you get competitive with your siblings, but more often than not you feel protective.
For example, back in 2010 I remember my biggest regret about not winning the Labour leadership was that I didn’t think Ed was quite ready for it. Don’t get me wrong, Ed is a very bright boy, but it must be hard when everyone (including Hillary Clinton) talks about your older brother as the good-looking one, as the one without the funny voice, as the one who has actually been Foreign Secretary and knows what is going on in the world,
I would love to impart some of that experience to Wallace/Ed, particularly as life has been so kind to me over the past four years. Here I am with the job I have always wanted – as head of International Rescue.
Ok, so it’s New York rather than Tracy Island and we don’t have any actual Thunderbirds, but I can do good for real people, rather than, say, blunder about from one crisis to another (I’m referring to no one in particular).
A couple of weeks ago I heard that Ed would be in town for a micro-conversation with Obama (handshake and a selfie). I called him. “Ed, come over for a barbecue. We have loads of space for you and your ‘advisers’, I can get my team of chefs cooking and we can kick back and maybe sort out a few of those policy mistakes which have been holding you back”.
But he was very sniffy. “I’m having hugely important talks with very, very, important people and I have, like, a flight to catch to somewhere, like, really secret and important, as soon as Barack and I have decided how our two great countries should act on the really, really, big things, which you probably haven’t been consulted on.”
Well, of course I know how difficult it must be as a powerless Opposition politician suffering in the opinion polls. I might have mentioned a few things to him, though.
For example, before you start playing politics with Gaza, it might be a good idea to check to see whether Auntie Sarah (the one he was hugging on his trip to Israel recently) has been down in the shelters hiding from Hamas rockets … only because an enterprising journalist is likely to do that.
Eddie just wants to help people. I earnestly hope he gets his chance one day.
I can do good for real people. Can my brother?
*As imagined by Simon Round