Labour leader - Ed Miliband - might be mulling over the old adage this morning - 'You can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends'.
Because one of Ed's friends - Lord Glasman - who was plain old Maurice Glasman until Ed nominated him for a peerage in the House of Lords last year - has spoken up about the poor performance of the Labour leadership.
In a candid article for the New Statesman - a Labour friendly London-based magazine- Lord Glasman doesn't pull his punches and says:
‘On the face of it, these look like bad times for Labour and for Ed Miliband’s leadership. There seems to be no strategy, no narrative and little energy. Ed is going to have to show some leadership and courage if the political dynamics of this year are to be different.’
Lord Glasman then turns his attention to Ed Balls - the shadow chancellor - who is accused by many Labour MPs of simply re-running the same tired old economic policies developed under the last Labour government - when Gordon Brown was party leader.
Lord Glasman says witheringly:
'Endogenous growth, flexible labour-market reform, free movement of labour, the dominance of the City of London – it was all crap, and we need to say so.
Old faces from the Brown era still dominate the Shadow Cabinet and they seem stuck in defending Labour’s record in all the wrong ways – we didn’t spend too much money, we’ll cut less fast and less far, but we can’t tell you how.’
Warming to his task Lord Glasman went on to say that the Labour leaders appeared to be following a narrow ‘sectional agenda’ - aimed at public sector workers and disaffected Lib Dem voters - before adding:
‘But we have not won, and show no signs of winning, the economic argument. We have not articulated a constructive alternative capable of recognising our weaknesses in government and taking the argument to the Coalition.
We show no relish for reconfiguring the relationship between the state, the market and society. The world is on the turn; yet we do not seem equal to the challenge.
If Ed is going to offer the possibility of a transformational Labour government, then he is going to have to break the grip of progressive policy rationalism and grasp a bigger political change.
He should leave behind state orthodoxies and trust his instinct that change is essential. Now is the time for leadership and action. So far Ed has honoured his responsibilities but has not exerted his power. It is time that he did so.
And we all need to show him love and support in return. I’m backing Ed Miliband.’
Now Lord Glasman's comments will infuriate the Labour leadership - understandably.
But the real issue is whether Glasman is speaking the truth - is he behaving as a 'critical' friend - or just putting the boot in to an old friend?
I see no reason to believe the latter - though I wouldn't have sent Lord Glasman to the House of Lords - in fact I wouldn't send anyone to the House of Lords - I'd abolish the place.
But Ed did - the Labour leader hand-picked Maurice Glasman to become a Labour peer - he is Ed Miliband's friend and former adviser.
So if the Labour leader has any sense - he'll reflect carefully on what Maurice Glasman says - because to me it seems to be both honest and heartfelt advice - even if it's not ideally what Ed Miliband wants to hear.