Tuesday, 22 March 2011

That Would Never Happen in America...

The British political system is pretty fascinating.
It's been a pretty interesting year with a coalition of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrat party in control of the country.

But today I'm going to talk about something that has received a little coverage here, but made me think about some of the social standards that differ between England and the US.  I'm going to talk about this man:

Ed Miliband is the leader of the Labour Party.  He was elected to the position after Gordon Brown's departure.  I don't actually know that much about Ed's politics.  I do know that his voice sounds a bit like a petulant teenager when he gets passionate.  

But that's not what I want to talk about.  Ed Miliband would never have been elected to such an important position in America.  Now this isn't because of his political views or his education or ability to perform in his job.  It's because of his personal life.  Ed has two young sons.  Ed is in a relationship with their mother and has been since they met in 2004.  Ed is not married to her.  *Cue the shock and horror!*  

Ed is in the fairly commonplace situation of having a "partner".  Now in America, partner is really only used for gay couples.  In England it is not uncommon for couples to be in committed long-term relationships, often with children, but not to be married.  In America it's pretty much reserved for Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell, Susan Sarandon & Tim Robbins (how did I miss that they broke up!?!) and Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie.

I just can't imagine America going for a political leader who's home life looked like Ed's... Which got me thinking.  What does it really matter?  Does the fact that he isn't married impact how he's going to run the country?  I don't know.  I do know that it does bother me.  Perhaps this makes me old-fashioned.  (Not really a term I would often apply to myself- though I guess in some ways it fits.)  I know for a fact that the aforementioned celebrity relationships bug the crap out of my mom.  Maybe it's rubbed off on me :)

Ed explains why he hasn't married his partner yet:  politics have "gotten in the way" and more recently he's "not ready yet".  Hmmm.  Yeah- it officially bothers me.

Am I alone on this?  Can anybody give me an explanation for this "partner" phenomenon's prevalence (alliteration, baby!) in England?


  1. Asking how many people he's slept with and when he lost his virginity seems a little strange to me too...

  2. Yeah... It was Piers Morgan after all... He's hardly a respected journalist. Though there is some what of a different attitude to the respect shown to politicians over here.

  3. I just wanted to stop by and say that I really enjoy reading your posts! I'm currently living in Texas [north of Austin] and am moving to London in September to begin my graduate studies. I lived in Europe as a kid and spent a summer in Cambridge as a teen so I have a vague idea as to what I'm getting into - but it's nice to read about adjustments and little idiosyncrasies all the same! x

  4. Welcome, Else! Thanks for reading and saying hello! Good luck with your move- so exciting!

  5. not everyone wants to be married. end of.

  6. To the first two commenters. I believe that you may beconfusing Ed Miliband with Nick Clegg (on the sex point). Easy mistake for Americans to make I suppose. Our three party leaders do look and sound the same :)

    Kind regards


  7. Sam- Welcome! Wiley was referring to the second article that I linked to at the bottom of the post. At the end of it, it says that Ed declined to answer Pier's question regarding his virginity. You have to dig a bit to find it- but that's how Wiley rolls :) I'd imagine it would be pretty easy to confuse Nick and David (esp. these days! :))

  8. I agree with one of the other comments, that some people just don't want to get married, for whatever reason. Also, from the point of view of him being one of our politicians, its not our place to comment or judge how he lives his personal life, only how well he does his job. Great blog by the way, finding it very interesting!