The Top 10: Family Arguments

Why I have never really understood the phrase ‘blood is thicker than water’

John Rentoul
Friday 22 October 2021 12:30
Comments
<p>A depiction of the scene of Cain killing Abel, San Juan de la Peña monastery, Huesca, Spain</p>

A depiction of the scene of Cain killing Abel, San Juan de la Peña monastery, Huesca, Spain

Andrew Kitching suggested this as a follow-up to the Top 10 greatest political errors of all time, which included Harold’s decision to rush his exhausted troops from winning the Battle of Stamford Bridge, to meet William the Conqueror at Hastings, 1066. Harold had just defeated his brother Tostig. However, the Godwinson brothers had already featured as a footnote to the Top 10 embarrassing siblings, and so were ruled out of order, along with John Amery, Ed Miliband, Piers Corbyn and Boris Johnson. Fortunately, there are many more.

1. Cain and Abel. Obviously. A dispute that resulted in the death of a quarter of the world’s population at the time, as David Ross pointed out. Nominated by John Peters, Ted Morris, Lawrence Freedman, Paul Wingrove, Alex Massie and Niels Orlando Skaerbaek.

2. Adolf (“Adi”) and Rudolf Dassler, brothers who ran the Dassler Brothers Sports Shoe Factory until they fell out. Adolf set up Adidas and Rudolf set up Puma on the other side of the river. John Peters, Ian Harris, David Twizell, Sean Rogers, Dan Jackson, Steven Gray and Sam Freedman.

3. A S Byatt and Margaret Drabble. “Normal sibling rivalry” (Byatt), “terribly overstated by gossip columnists” (Drabble). Thanks to John Peters, Charlotte Morgan, Cosmo Graham and Hywel Evans.

4. Britney and James Spears. Nominated by ModSocDem, Itzik and Ali Hughes.

5. Jean-Marie and Marine Le Pen. Father was expelled by party led by daughter. Suggested by Patrick O’Flynn, Nick Clayton, Miranda Green and Allan Holloway.

6. Liz and Mary Cheney. Daughters of the vice president who fell out over Mary’s same-sex marriage. Thanks to Robert Shrimsley.

7. Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine. Fontaine, the younger sister, said: “I married first, won the Oscar before Olivia did, and if I die first [she did], she’ll undoubtedly be livid because I beat her to it.” Nominated by David J Mellor, An Owl Called Sage, Peter Hardy, Kathryn Walker, Exexpat19, Sheila Bailey, Allan Holloway and Mitchell Stirling.

8. Donald and Mary Trump. Mary, niece and author of Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Thanks to Peter Hardy and Martyn Griffin.

9. Henry VIII and his wife, Henry VIII and his next wife, Henry VIII and his subsequent wife, and so on. Thanks to Josh Blacker.

10. Queen Caroline, wife of George II, said of her son Frederick, Prince of Wales (father of George III): “My dear first born is the greatest ass, the greatest liar, the greatest canaille, and the greatest beast in the whole world, and I most heartily wish he was out of it.” Thanks to Andy McSmith.

Lots of good nominations this week, including “Every game of Monopoly ever”, from Chris Hodder, and the First World War, from John Oxley, Dan Frank, Paul Smyth, British Electoral Politics, Henry Anderson and Richard Williams.

Next week: Words for nothing.

Coming soon: Actors who changed careers as a result of playing a part, such as Virginia McKenna, who set up the Born Free Foundation after playing the part of Joy Adamson in the film.

Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to top10@independent.co.uk

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in