Disclaimer: I am not a fan of Ed Miliband. I think that he is far too timid in his opposition to the Tories. I wish he would dispense with Liam Byrne’s services and adopt a stridently anti Tory agenda, but he won’t. Miliband is a rather moderate politician.
On a bad day I can be terribly cynical, but even I was astonished at the Daily Mail’s attack on Ralph Milliband.
Emily Maitlis is particularly great on Newsnight in examining the malicious, ill informed and scurrilous character assassination of Ralph Miliband, and by inference his son, Ed.
The Hacked Off campaign is good, if too brief.
Michael Newman hits the nail on the head:
“But, of course, Levy’s real target is not Ralph Miliband at all, but Ed, whom he accuses of being determined to bring about his father’s vision. Apart from being absurd, this is also ironic for, ever since my biography was published, I have constantly been asked to explain how both of Ralph’s sons became politicians in a party that he had often regarded as a barrier to the attainment of socialism. “[My emphasis.]
Even Lord Heseltine, who served under Thatcher, knows that the Daily Mail has crossed a line:
“Heseltine told The Daily Politics on BBC2: “This is carrying politics to an extent that is just demeaning, frankly. The headline isn’t justified. It is completely out of context. As everybody knows the guy fought for this country and we now live in a totally different world to the clash between communism and fascism.”
Just a simple reminder of who the Daily Mail boss, Viscount Rothermere, liked. He is the man in the middle.
This is what Rothermere wrote in September 1933:
“It is Germany’s good fortune to have found a leader who can combine for the public good all the most
vigorous elements in the country. President von Hindenburg and the Crown Prince form, with Herr Hitler, the keystone of the national structure.
The world’s greatest need today is realism. Hitler is a realist. He has saved his country from the ineffectual leadership of hesitating, half-hearted politicians. He has infused into its national life the conquerable spirit of triumphant youth.”
So when faced with the evil that Hitler represented, what did the Daily Mail proprietor, Rothermere do?
He applauded it.
That tells you all you need to know about the Daily Mail. Not much has changed.
Update 1: Daily Mail widens attack on Ed Miliband.
Update 2: Stephen Fry gives his tuppence worth:
“But there’s form here. The Mail still can’t quite live with the shame that it has always, always been historically wrong about everything – large and small – from Picasso to equal pay for women. Because it has always been against progress, the liberalising of attitudes, modern art and strangers (whether by race, gender or sexuality). Of course they’ll leap on a Stephen Lawrence bandwagon once the seeds of their decades of anti-immigration racism (read a 1960s or 1970s Daily Mail) have been sown, but deep down they have always come from the same place and had the same instinct for the lowest, most mean-spirited, hypocritical, spiteful and philistine elements of our island nation.
Most notoriously of all, they loved Adolf Hitler when he came to power, and as the Czech crisis arose they were the appeasement newspaper. And woe-betide any liberal-minded anti-fascist who warned that the man was unstable and that consistently satisfying his vanity, greed and ambition was only storing up trouble. The whole liberal left, not to mention Winston Churchill, were mocked and scorned for their instinctive distrust of Hitler. The Daily Mail knew better.” [My emphasis.]
Update 3: This Buzzfeed is superb. The Best Of The Internet Vs. The Daily Mail.
Update 4: Where is Paul Dacre? is funny.
Update 5: Channel 4 on The mythical power of the Daily Mail.