Ed Miliband has supposedly told his mother that he wants to stand for the Labour leadership, prompting all sorts of “Kane and Abel” type speculation given that older brother David is the current frontrunner.
One theory seems to be that Ed’s entry into the race would damage David, whose aides and allies are already braced for a contest once Gordon Brown has resigned. (Defence secretary Bob Ainsworth has been calling MPs to gauge support for the foreign secretary, I’m told*).
But here is a conspiracy theory for you to play with. Ed’s support lies to the left of the party, among some trade unionists, left-wingers and greens. In other words, the constituency that Ed Balls (and possibly Jon Cruddas) would seek to mine for support if they stood for the leadership**.
By splitting the left he could ease his brother into victory. As one MP puts it: “In a wide field that includes Ed, David Miliband has no excuse for not winning.” I’m not suggesting that this would be the deliberate plan; but it could be the result.
* Jason Beattie also reports in today’s Mirror that Ainsworth is on board the Mili-campaign
** The lefties case against Ed Miliband would be that he was too close to the ancien regime as an aide to Gordon Brown and author of the unsuccessful manifesto.
Oh, and James Macintyre in the New Statesman thinks Ed could step aside for David.
Incidentally, many Labour MPs are unconvinced by Brown’s last attempts to put together a Heath Robinson-style coalition of up to seven parties. (Including the Northern Ireland’s Alliance, the single Green, the SDLP, Plaid Cymru and the Scottish Nats.) “It makes us look desperate and ridiculous,” says one. “We should just face up to reality and sort out where we stand as the main opposition party,” says another.