Charles Moore Charles Moore

Why didn’t the Daily Mail stick to the ‘red angle’ when it came to Ralph Miliband?

For those of us of a certain age, Ed Miliband’s speech last week was exhilaratingly nostalgic. His promise to freeze energy prices reminded us of happy times when Labour policies were patently, shamelessly idiotic.

At last, after a generation of loss, we began to hope to find reds under the bed again. In its understandable excitement, the Daily Mail made the mistake of finding only a dead red — Mr Miliband’s late father, Ralph. It then compounded its error by saying that Miliband senior ‘hated Britain’, on the basis of some angry remarks he made when aged 17.

So the Mail managed to offend against taste and decency on multiple counts — attacking a man for his deceased father’s views, misrepresenting those views, attacking a Jew, attacking a refugee from Hitler. Why did it not stick to the red angle?

Although it is true that a significant minority on the left was actually treacherous in its support for the Soviet Union, even more harm was done by honest, decent patriots, such as Ralph Miliband, who thought that state socialism was the answer to our woes.People are so anti-Tony Blair these days that they have forgotten how heroically he squashed such views and thus made his party electable. Young Miliband took a giant step backward last week. That is the point that needs making all the time.

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