Miliband and the Mail — one to watch

Did Ed Miliband let the cat out of the bag when he said he was going to bring socialism back to the UK?

Did he then try and deflect that by accusing the Mail of insulting his late father’s memory? And did he further deflect by demanding the paper reveal its working practices to him?

The story has run non-stop over the past week.

This is is the timeframe which unfolded from the 2013 Labour Party conference:

Miliband elaborates on his statist intentions for government – September 24 — The Telegraph‘s Iain Martin analysed rEd’s speech as follows (note the leftist preoccupation with land):

Tonally and in policy terms this was quite simply the most Left-wing speech made by a mainstream party leader in several decades. The key line didn’t seem to register in the hall, but I suspect it is going to become a massive story. Those who own land and refuse to build on it, and ignore government orders, will see it stolen for housebuilding. Use it or lose it, he declared. That can only mean the government, or councils, swooping on land they want.

It sounds like a small thing, but it is not. It is philosophically very revealing. Property rights, the idea that outside a time of war or national emergency government cannot simply appropriate what it wants from private individuals who own property or land, are essential in a truly free society …

There was also a freeze announced for electricity and gas prices. Again, to a certain audience this will sound like a winner. But probe a bit and it turns out that this piece of 1970s-style price-fixing could cost the energy firms £4.5bn, which is guaranteed to hit investment. Government interference in the market can have big unintended consequences.

This was Ed Miliband’s best delivered speech as Labour leader by a long way. But he has just presented the Tories and his critics in the media with a giant target. Red Ed is back.

The Mail publishes its article about Miliband père to which Ed objected – September 27: It also revealed a political difference between the two brothers:

Miliband, father of Ed and David Miliband, died in 1994, aged 70, soon after the publication of his last book, Socialism For A Sceptical Age. In it, the venerated Marxist philosopher and academic continued to espouse his lifelong ‘socialist’ cause.

One voice, however, vehemently informed him that he was still pursuing a lost cause. It was that of his elder son David. He did not mince his words.

Having read the manuscript before publication, David wrote to his father asking, ‘whether you are restating a case that has been traduced in theory or practice, or whether you are advancing a new case. I think that the book reads like the former . . .’

The word ‘traduced’ – which means ‘disgraced’ or ‘denigrated’ – was surely rather harsh, considering his aged father had always included his two sons (even when they were small), in the trenchant political discussions with ever-present academics and Left-wing thinkers that took place round the basement dining table of the family home in Primrose Hill, North London.

Indeed, some family friends feel this episode, not long before their father died, could have been a contributory factor towards the younger – and considerably more Left-wing – son Ed unexpectedly deciding to fight his elder brother for the leadership of the Labour Party in 2010, and, of course, beating him …

The Mail‘s Stephen Glover points out Miliband’s hypocrisy about family with regard to Margaret ThatcherGuido Fawkes has the 2011 photo to which Glover refers:

Listening to Ed Miliband and his henchmen in the BBC and elsewhere, you would think that this newspaper was guilty of a smear against his late father unprecedented in the annals of human history.

Some hysterical commentators have suggested that the Right in British politics is well-versed in throwing rotten cabbages at its opponents, dead and alive, whereas the virtuous Left never said a nasty thing about anyone …

Compare the Left’s reaction to this supposedly disgraceful smear to its response to the death of Margaret Thatcher in April. The former Prime Minister was put through the mangle in a way Miliband senior certainly has not been.

Her body was barely cold, and her distraught family were mourning her, as various Lefties poured out their bile.

After Lady Thatcher’s death, Ed Miliband was relatively statesmanlike in his remarks in the Commons. Good for him. But a photograph taken nearly two years earlier shows him with his arm around a Labour councillor, Keir Morrison, who is wearing a T-shirt on which these words are emblazoned: ‘A Generation Of Trade Unionists Will Dance On Thatcher’s Grave.’

Mr Miliband must surely have seen this inscription, and yet was happy to put his arm around Mr Morrison. Both men are grinning in the photograph. Perhaps they are amused by the idea of dancing on Lady Thatcher’s grave …

Journalists appear on Radio 4 to discuss the article and freedom of the press — October 4: I cited this Yahoo! UK article in a comment here on Friday. It reveals many well-informed readers are aware of what is happening in the UK. But I digress. This is what journalists had to say:

Alex Brummer, the Mail’s City editor, said it was the paper that was entitled to an apology after some Labour Party figures suggested its attack on Ralph Miliband, a Marxist academic, was motivated by anti-semitism …

A member of Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry team said newspapers would be concerned if Mr Miliband’s tried to use it as “a cudgel to try to beat the press”.

George Jones, a former Daily Telegraph political editor and Press Association special correspondent who was an assessor on the inquiry, said issues of taste and decency in newspaper reporting should not be a matter for regulation.

“In my view, if you go down that road you do seriously compromise freedom of speech,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One …

Chris Blackhurst, group content director for The Independent and the Evening Standard, also expressed concern that the dispute could affect the Privy Council’s deliberations.

“To only have one article in their minds, in a way that would be really improper and I hope that doesn’t happen,” he told BBC News …

Appearing on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Brummer insisted the culture and practices at the paper were rigorous and that it had some “good ethical roots”.

He said that as a senior Jewish journalist on the paper, he had been asked by the Mail’s editor, Paul Dacre, to do the interview in order to nail the “canard” that the article about Mr Miliband senior had been motivated by anti-semitism.

The aim, he said, had been to try to understand the roots of the Labour leader’s policies in the wake of his party conference speech last week in Brighton.

The Mail apologises, not for the article, but for one of their reporters showing up at a memorial service for a Miliband relative at Guy’s Hospital – October 4: The paper explains:

The Mail on Sunday apologised ‘unreservedly’ to Ed Miliband yesterday after one of its reporters turned up uninvited at a memorial service to his late uncle.

The Labour leader, who was giving a speech at the service, said he was ‘appalled and shocked’ by the intrusion.

Geordie Greig, the editor of the Mail on Sunday, issued an apology for what he called the newspaper’s ‘terrible lapse of judgment’.

And last night Lord Rothermere, the chairman of Daily Mail and General Trust, which owns the Mail and the Mail on Sunday, also apologised in a personal letter to Mr Miliband.

The reporter concerned and an assistant editor have both been suspended and an investigation is being held.

The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday are autonomous papers with their own editors and separate staff …

On Tuesday, the Daily Mail ran an article by Mr Miliband dismissing the claim but has maintained that it was justified to carry the original piece on his father’s political views.

The paper said it respected the right of Mr Miliband to defend his father but that Ralph Miliband – to whom the Labour leader constantly referred in his speeches – was a prominent academic who had devoted his life to promoting a Marxist dogma that caused misery.

The paper’s position on the Ralph Miliband article was defended by John Whittingdale, chairman of the Commons Culture Select Committee, who said the Daily Mail’s robust stance was part of a healthy press …

Several days later and the Left are expanding their attempts to muzzle not only the press but also the Conservative Party.

Andy Burnham is threatening to sue Jeremy Hunt over a Tweet concerning failing NHS hospitals. On October 6, the Telegraph’s Stephen Swinford reported:

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, used Twitter to criticise Andy Burnham, Labour’s former health secretary over his record in government between 2009 and 2010.

In an unprecedented move Andy Burnham, who is now shadow health secretary, is preparing libel proceedings against Mr Hunt.

He is demanding that Mr Hunt should remove the comments from the social networking website or face further legal action.

The row comes after internal emails from the Care Quality Commission showed that Labour tried to stop the watchdog from informing the public about failings at Basildon University Hospital, where patients were dying needlessly on filthy wards.

The dossier of emails, released under Freedom of Information, state that Andy Burnham, the then Health Secretary, was “furious” when “graphic details” of the care failings became public …

Why is it important to document this timeline? Because Labour probably hope we will forget about it between now and 2015. Their water carriers might also distort what was said when and by whom.

This reminds me of the 2008 American presidential campaign. Obama was off limits for criticism, anywhere. Paid ‘astroturfers’ — one or more pro-Obama commenters — quashed free expression on blogs and mainstream media sites. Fox News were demonised because they asked questions about Obama’s policies, even though at least half of their commentators are left of centre.

The same is now happening here in Britain. It seems the 2015 campaign has started. Best to document it as it happens rather than risk the Left’s revisionism a year down the line.

2 comments for “Miliband and the Mail — one to watch

  1. October 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Amazing statement by Miliband. Trying to occupy the extreme left ground.

    • October 7, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      As well as the moral high ground! (Hello, leftists, how’s the air up there?)

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