The late Ralph Miliband made his name as a Marxist theoretician through detailed elaboration of the proposition that the Labour Party can do absolutely nothing for the working class. His two boys, or so the lefty joke has it, have very loyally done their best to prove the old man right.
Now it looks as if Ed is trying to vindicate his father’s analysis of Britain’s royal family as well. On p.189 of his 1973 book, The State in Capitalist Society, Ralph displayed a sophisticated understanding of how the bourgeoisie utilises the House of Windsor for its own ideological ends:
The unifying and socially emollient role of the British monarchy, for instance, has long been recognised and understood …The monarchy is not simply another element of the constitutional system; much more important at the present time is what Bagehot called its ‘dignified’ function which, properly understood, means the element of reverence which it helps to create towards the state and the traditional order of things, and the sense of national unity, beyond the ‘mere’ conflicts of class, which it is intended to foster.’
National unity beyond the mere conflicts of class? Right on cue comes @Ed_Miliband on Twitter:
Fantastic news for Kate, William and the country. A royal baby is something the whole nation will celebrate.
Filial piety just doesn’t get any better than that.