The rumours swirling around Ed Miliband's future have an unmistakeably Shakespearian character about them. The lean and hungry look on the faces of some back benchers may be ambition or just simple fear. Miliband supporters have been taking to the air to defend their leader and everyone is consulting the oracle to try and divine who might play the part of Brutus. This is the stuff of politics of course, but as Shakespeare knew, at its heart is a profound moral question about the nature and limits of loyalty. When is loyalty a virtue and when does it become a vice? Friendships are among the most profound expressions of our humanity and it's hard to imagine them flourishing without loyalty. Many of us, not just the politicians, will know the pain of betrayal. But loyalty is a powerful strand in many other relationships: families expect it and, mostly, we're happy with that. Organizations often demand it, but the regular rows over whistle-blowers in institutions like the NHS demonstrate the moral lines between standing up for your principles and being disloyal to your colleagues aren't clearly drawn. Countries do what they can to foster it, but how many of us would today claim to have the same loyalty to Queen and country that lead so many to volunteer in the First World War? Are we a less loyal society today? Does the collapse in membership of political parties, trades unions and organised religion indicate a society that's less willing to pledge loyalty to an idea or a belief? In an age of zero hours contracts, diminishing pensions and portfolio working does the idea of being loyal to your employer sound hopelessly outdated? Or have our loyalties just shifted and we now have a more nuanced, informed and healthy perspective and what and who deserves our loyalty? Moral Maze - Presented by David Aaronovitch.
Panellists: Michael Portillo, Giles Fraser, Anne McElvoy and Mehdi Hasan.
Witnesses: Dr. David Whetham, Corinne Sweet, Professor Matthew Flinders and Jonathan Hartley.
Produced by Phil Pegum.