The Daily Mail’s Ralph Miliband editorial: annotated version

For those who don’t want to visit the Daily Mail website but want to know what all the fuss about, here is a helpfully annotated version.

Red Ed’s in a strop with the Mail. Doubtless, he’s miffed that his conference was overshadowed by the revelations of his former friend, the spin doctor Damian McBride, serialised in this paper, which exposed the poisonous heart of the Labour Party.

Ed Miliband is annoyed by something else.

or did he see the funny side when we ridiculed the yucky, lovey-dovey photographs of him and his wife, behaving like a pair of hormonal teenagers in need of a private room.

And something else.

But what has made him vent his spleen — indeed, he has stamped his feet and demanded a right of reply — is a Mail article by Geoffrey Levy on Saturday about the Labour leader’s late father, Ralph, under the arresting headline ‘The Man Who Hated Britain’.

Well OK, he’s mainly annoyed that we accused his late father of hating Britain. Weird.

Of course, it was not the Mail that first drew the prominent Marxist sociologist Professor Ralph Miliband — a man who was not averse to publicity — into the public arena. This was the decision of his son who, for two years running, has told Labour conferences how his refugee father fled Nazi persecution to Britain.

But he asked for it really, banging on about his Jewish father fleeing the Nazi invasion of Belgium.

More pertinent still, McBride argues that Miliband Jnr is obsessed with maintaining Ralph’s legacy.

Winning the leadership, he writes, was Ed’s ‘ultimate tribute’ to his father — an attempt to ‘achieve his father’s vision’.

Although we recently described McBride as “destroyed by his own malign tactics” and “spreading a series of mendacious allegations about prominent Tories”, he is clearly a man of integrity whose insights should be taken as fact.

With this testimony before us, from a former Labour spin doctor who knew Mr Miliband inside out, the Mail felt a duty to lay before our readers the father’s vision that is said to have inspired our would-be next Prime Minister.


How can Ralph Miliband’s vision be declared out of bounds for public discussion — particularly since he spent his entire life attempting to convert the impressionable young to his poisonous creed?

Today, we stand by every word we published on Saturday, from the headline to our assertion that the beliefs of Miliband Snr ‘should disturb everyone who loves this country’.

In his tetchy and menacing response, which we publish in full on these pages, the Labour leader expresses just pride in his father’s war record as a volunteer in the Royal Navy.

We granted him the right to reply but fuck his right to reply, basically.

But he cites this, and his father’s affection for his shipmates (which, as shown on these pages, was riven by class hatred), as if it were conclusive proof that he loved this country.

So how is it that shortly after his arrival in Britain, the 17-year-old Miliband senior had confided to his diary: ‘The Englishman is a rabid nationalist. They are perhaps the most nationalist people in the world . . . you sometimes want them almost to lose [the war] to show them how things are’?

Isn’t it permissible to surmise that a man who had expressed such views joined the Royal Navy not so much to fight for Britain as to fight, like the Soviet Union, against the Nazis?

Despite having just arrived in Britain, Miliband Snr did not love his adopted country as much as he hated the people who would have rounded up him and his family and sent them to concentration camps. There is no chance that his feelings about Britain may have changed one iota during his three years in the Royal Navy, therefore it is fine to discredit his military service. Tragically, all this bloodshed could have been avoided if the British government had heeded the wise words of the Mail’s former proprietor, the 1st Viscount Rothermere, who wrote to Hitler in 1938, congratulating him on his annexation of the Sudetenland: “Frederick the Great was a great popular figure in England. May not Adolf the Great become an equally popular figure? I salute Your Excellency’s star which rises higher and higher.” And to Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler’s foreign minister, on July 7 1939: “Our two great Nordic countries should pursue resolutely a policy of appeasement for, whatever anyone may say, our two great countries should be the leaders of the world.” Here he is doing his bit for Britain.

Yes, as his son argues, Mr Miliband Snr may have felt gratitude for the security, freedom and comfort he enjoyed in Britain. But what is blindingly clear from everything he wrote throughout his life is that he had nothing but hatred for the values, traditions and institutions — including our great schools, the Church, the Army and even the Sunday papers — that made Britain the safe and free nation in which he and his family flourished.

Loving these institutions is synonymous with loving Britain. Please don’t think it’s different. It’s not. It’s exactly the same.

The constitutional monarchy, the bicameral legislature, property rights, common law . . . even ‘respectability’ and ‘good taste’ — all were anathema to this lifelong, unreconstructed Marxist who craved a workers’ revolution.

To repeat, you cannot be left-wing and love Britain. It’s not possible. That’s just scientific fact.

Significantly, when he defended students for silencing a visiting speaker with whom they disagreed, he wrote: ‘Freedom of speech is not always the overriding criterion.’

Unfortunately we can’t explain the context because this is the only citation of this phrase on the entire internet.

As for the Falklands war, our defence of British sovereignty so appalled him that it moved him to four-letter words of disgust.

He was the only person in Britain to oppose the Falklands War. Why didn’t he just hand the keys to Number 10 to General Galtieri and have done with it? As for the foul language, we believe our editor has made his position perfectly clear.

At the London School of Economics, he was taught and heavily influenced by the extremist Left-winger Harold Laski, who said the use of violence was legitimate in British elections. One of his closest friends was Eric Hobsbawm

He was friends with another left-winger – one whom the Mail trashed as a “traitor” the day after he died. Normally the Mail believes that “bilious hatred and lack of respect for the dead is a disturbing new low in British life” but come on, he was a Marxist. That’s different.

(though, as we reported, at least Miliband wouldn’t join his fellow Marxist in refusing to condemn Stalinism’s mass murders or the brutal Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956).

Miliband Snr didn’t defend Stalin. In fact, his biographer Michael Newman writes: “you see signs of his shift away from [seeing] the Soviet Union as a kind of beacon early, in the 1940s. A long time before Hungary, in other words. He was someone who never had uncritical enthusiasms.” But let’s just throw it in there to make it seem like he almost did.

It is all too easy today to forget that Marxism supplied the philosophical underpinning to a monstrously evil regime.

Under Stalin’s Communism, countless millions were murdered, tortured, starved to death, executed or sent to endure a sub-human existence in the gulags.

Religion, the family and the very spirit of the individual were brutally crushed. The arts, newspapers — justice itself — were ruthlessly controlled by the commissars.

Freedom of expression was purged. Even as late as the Seventies, dissidents were locked in mental asylums, while the Press was controlled by the State for another two decades.

Not to be confused with the regime of General Pinochet, of whom the Daily Mail columnist Paul Johnson said: “I regard the demonisation of General Pinochet as the most successful, mendacious propaganda exercise ever carried out in the 20th century.” Nor indeed with that of Mr Hitler in 1939, to whom the 1st Viscount Rothermere wrote: “My Dear Führer, I have watched with understanding and interest the progress of your great and superhuman work in regenerating your country.”

Truly, Ralph Miliband and Hobsbawm were, in the withering phrase often attributed to Lenin, the ‘useful idiots’ who validated this most pernicious doctrine, which has spread poverty and misery wherever it has triumphed.

That’s why the Mail — which is not Pravda

Just clearing that up

— said that readers who love this country would be truly disturbed if they understood about Miliband’s father’s views.

To be absolutely clear, you cannot love your country if you’re a Marxist, only if you’re a fascist.

We do not maintain, like the jealous God of Deuteronomy, that the iniquity of the fathers should be visited on the sons.

On no account are we to be confused with the jealous God of Deuteronomy. Not even sure why we brought that up to be honest.

But when a son with prime ministerial ambitions swallows his father’s teachings, as the younger Miliband appears to have done, the case is different.

True, Ed Miliband has said: “My father’s strongly Left-wing views are well known, as is the fact that I have pursued a different path and I have a different vision.” But he’s probably lying.

Indeed, his son’s own Marxist values can be seen all too clearly in his plans for state seizures of private land held by builders and for fixing energy prices by government diktat.

Fixing energy prices today, building gulags tomorrow.

More chillingly, the father’s disdain for freedom of expression can be seen in his son’s determination to place the British Press under statutory control.

Getting to the gist here.

Next week the Privy Council, itself an arm of the state, will meet to discuss plans — following a stitch-up with Hacked Off over late-night pizzas in Mr Miliband’s office

Filthy Italian grub. Someone who loved his country would have served roast beef with all the trimmings.

— for what will ultimately be a politically controlled body to oversee what papers are allowed to publish.

Put to one side that Mr Miliband’s close involvement with degenerates such as Damian McBride gives him scant right to claim the moral high ground on anything.

[Is this the same “degenerate” whose word we took as bond when he was sticking it to Ed Miliband earlier on? Subs to check.]

If he crushes the freedom of the Press, no doubt his father will be proud of him from beyond the grave, where he lies 12 yards from the remains of Karl Marx.


But he will have driven a hammer and sickle through the heart of the nation so many of us genuinely love.

You can’t drive a hammer through a heart but come on, that’s good stuff.

Update: Lots of good responses to the Mail’s smear out there, including Ralph Miliband’s biographer Michael Newman, who puts the angry teenage diary entry in context, insights from Miliband’s old friends and colleagues, and the LSE’s Bart Cammaerts who quotes Miliband on the subject of the British press.


  1. he spent his entire life attempting to convert the impressionable young to his poisonous creed?

    “he was a university professor”.

    he had nothing but hatred for the values, traditions and institutions — including our great schools, the Church, the Army and even the Sunday papers

    whatever he may have said about the Army, he said the Navy was the closest he’d come to living in socialism.

  2. Also, did they give McBride any money?

  3. Umm, Mr. Dacre? Paul? Can I call you Paul? No? Good.

    So Paul, I’d hold off using the word “Degenerate” if I were you. What with how we’re talking about a Jewish guy who escaped the Nazis. You remember the Nazis, don’t you? Your paper was a big fan, and judging from your continued anti-semitic drivel seemingly still is.

  4. Wonderful, Dorian. Thank you for going after those bastards at the Daily Mail.

  5. […] Ralph Miliband, who fought the Nazis in World War II, being criticised by the Daily Mail, which supported the Nazis in the […]

  6. Thank you Dorian. This is a much-needed response to the Mail’s disturbing diatribe..

  7. And so,TheMail writes what the right like to read,Iknow it,you know it,they know it,so are we shocked by this slur,no no no.

  8. Thanks for this. He was my Professor at Leeds in the mid 1970’s. As a man he came across as academic who really enjoyed teaching (in a way many don’t). In tutorials he was warm and unexpectedly funny although intellectually intimidating. His lectures were always full despite (with his accent) him sounding much like an ancient petrol driven lawnmower starting up!

  9. Well done on this!!!

    I rarely read the Daily Mail as it is complete garbage, but it will be a cold day in hell before I ever buy another copy or read anything on their website.

    The lowest of the low, attacking someone’s dead father and twisting the facts into nothing but lies. You don’t get much scummier than that.

  10. “..the father’s disdain for freedom of expression can be seen in his son’s determination to place the British Press under statutory control.”

    That would be the non-statutory press industry self-regulator that needs to be approved by the non-statutory Royal Charter recognition body.

    “..what will ultimately be a politically controlled body to oversee what papers are allowed to publish…”

    That would be the independently-appointed, independent Recognition Panel where politicians are banned from the staff, the Panel, and the Appointment Committee for the Panel, and the terms of which politicians are not allowed to alter without a two-thirds majority in both Houses of Parliament, which itself could not be achieved without the consent of the press industry.

  11. While not a fan of either, I feel that the Mail played a dirty game of entrapment with Ed. As we all know, pageviews = advertising revenue, and so a high profile attack on a Labour leaders controversial father would always be a big draw and get a large reaction.

    Having met a Mail journalist in the past, a bit of insight always stuck with me. The Telegraph and Guardian write articles for people who are like them. The Mail writes articles to piss off their audience. Much like a market maker, always willing to take either side of the trade, so long as they are creating liquidity.

    While the paper has a dirty past, in its current incarnation as a pageview hungry transatlantic/gossip rag, I would suspect that ventures into Politics are reserved for sensationalised pageview harvesting, rather than political advantage.

    They must have thought it was Christmas when he chose to post a riposte in their own paper… heightening the completely manufactured ‘situation’. He could have easily talked to any number of publications who would have bitten his hand off for the chance.

    Maybe conscious of reaching the elder, paper copy voters who are not in touch with the world of social media, Ed chose to reply on the same platform. If he didn’t take this decision for a tactical reason, then I fear he has just shown some naïvity, and that he is open season for pageview hungry publications looking for a reaction.

  12. […] of linking to what they’ve said about David Miliband’s father, I’ll send you to Dorian Lynskey’s  annotated version […]

  13. ‘jealous God of Deuteronomy’ – neat little reminder of Miliband’s Jewish heritage. And a neat little reminder that no form of prejudice is strange to that disgusting rag.

  14. […] Suddenly an old post here, all the way back to mid-2009,  became flavour of the day. In large part, admittedly, because a couple of more interesting sites hot-linked to that post. […]

  15. Wonderful, Dorian. Thank you for going after those bastards at the Daily Mail.

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