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Miliband vs Mail reveals Labour leader’s belief about the role of politicians

4 October 2013

4 October 2013

It’s hardly a surprise that Ed Miliband has called for another inquiry following the row about the Daily Mail’s treatment of his father. The Labour leader is always calling for one inquiry or another. But normally these inquiries are led by someone outside the organisation that Miliband is taking issue with: his latest call is in fact for Lord Rothermere to investigate the culture and practices of his own newspapers.

Now, there is nothing wrong with the Labour leader wanting to defend his father: that is quite natural and few would disagree with such an instinctive reaction. And there is nothing wrong with him objecting to a reporter turning up at a family memorial service. But Ed Miliband, a politician, is trying to set the standards of ‘decency’ in the press by telling a newspaper to run an investigation. He also thinks that what a politician has to say about what a newspaper should cover is important, rather than the, er, readers. His most telling line in his LabourList interview was:

‘If we’re going to have those massive debates about the cost of living, we need to have proper standards of decency in our press.’

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Before the allegations about the Mail on Sunday reporter, the Labour leader had already set up a petition calling for decency in British politics, although it wasn’t clear who he was petitioning. He wants to make this fight about good character and bravery, because politicians normally quail when faced with the Mail. He laid down the same challenge to David Cameron in his conference speech, saying he would relish a 2015 election battle fought on the issue of leadership. There is a great deal of mileage in this David vs Goliath narrative that he is trying to weave. But there’s something else worth noting.

Miliband’s latest foray – which should be regarded as separate from his own personal outrage at the way his family has been treated recently – tells us a great deal about what he thinks the role of a politician should be. They shouldn’t just draw up laws and decide how public money is spent, but should also have a moral role in society, like a bishop in a red tie. The Labour leader is not the only one who thinks this way: Conservative ministers like to lecture people about the most moral way of paying tax, rather than what is legal. Lib Dems tell parents how they should talk to their daughters. And countless men and women in government have come a cropper for lecturing the public on how important marriage is. There are legislative implications of this latest row, too, which Fraser examines in his Telegraph column this morning. But it’s worth noting what Miliband’s actions have told us about how he wants to do politics, for better or worse.


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  • whs1954

    Dear Ed Miliband

    How dare you, a politician, think you should be telling newspapers what they can and can’t write about. How dare you think you can tell newspaper what is and isn’t “decent” according to your standards. Your actions make it quite clear that if you were elected you would have a system of press censorship in place – newspapers not allowed to say negative things about your Marxist dad will very soon become newspapers not allowed to say negative things about your Labour Government.

    The thought of you being elected terrifies me and millions of decent Britons who do NOT want their newspapers censored by you and your Labour commissars; not censored by a formal regime and not censored by this childish Daily Mail-hating atmosphere of trying to “shame” the Mail.

    Millions of people read the Daily Mail, millions of people disagree with you and your politics, we will not stand for this.

  • Fergus Pickering

    That last paragraph is very good, Isabel.

  • fathomwest

    Could Milliband have communistic leanings?

  • Radford_NG

    Nobody-apart from a few of us-would have taken any notice of the DMs attacks on Adolphie [aka Ralph] Miliband’s views,if Ed had not had hysterics about it.Nor would anybody have known the Milibands were Jewish.

    • Radford_NG

      And as someone said : It’s the Trotsky’s that make revolutions;and it’s the Bronstein’s that have to suffer for them.

  • Smithersjones2013

    [Yawn] And who says Miliband isn’t milking this for every piece of cheap squalid publicity he can? He’s behaving like the player who having scored an open goal gets his second yellow card for taking his shirt off and gets sent off. Frankly he’s getting as bad as Cameron with such self defeating posturing. Now he’s the one taking it too far and getting carried away with the sound of his own voice.

    I’d further have a little more respect for him if instead of sanctimoniously posturing about yet another bloody enquiry about the media he actually did something about the revelations inside Damian McBride’s book and the putrid and malevolent culture which has infected the Labour party since 1994. Where’s the public inquiry into how his party has turned into a festering boil on the rump of British politics?

    Of course he’s far too spineless to do something as important as that (just like his Labour predecessors were far too gutless to investigate the behaviour of the media when they were breaking the law). Does it not matter that one of the major parties in this country is in a permanent state of fetid putrescence? McBride hasn’t even been kicked out of the party…..

    Milband is just proving he is yet another product of that vile and cancerous organisation that is the modern day Labour party. He is truly a ‘Son Of Brown’

  • 15peter20

    “Miliband’s latest foray […] tells us a great deal about what he thinks the role of a politician should be. They shouldn’t just draw up laws and decide how public money is spent, but should also have a moral role in society, like a bishop in a red tie.”

    Am baffled that this is regarded as strange or noteworthy. Most leading politicians see at least some moral component in what they do. And it isn’t just Labour politicians. Granted that the ruling elite has lost most of its moral purpose since the end of Empire, but I’m fairly sure that even David Cameron does not see his role as simply drawing up laws and doling out money.

    • Fergus Pickering

      I do not need politicians to tell me about my morality. It is none of their damn business.

  • Colin

    Comrade Ralph didn’t hate Britain. How could he? This country helped him acquire the assets of a millionaire and, this country provided the tax system that helped him and his offspring protect those assets. If he did actually hate Britain, like most of his marxist comrades and acolytes, he’d just be another hypocritical millionaire, marxist, muppet. And, that would never be the case…

    I’m sure there are one or two McPoison related e-grenades kicking around, ready to be rolled into Miliband’s trench, come the time.

    Lastly, what kind of creature writes to complain about the highly personal abuse of the memory of a loved one, in order to publicly convey a sense of possibly justified personal hurt and at the same time manages to squeeze a load of political point scoring into the missive?

    • Alexsandr

      one who can grandstand on the front pages during the tory conference.

  • Hello

    Ralph Miliband was a public figure, an academic who wrote books in order to influence political debate. He is perfectly fair game even if Miliband was not in the public eye.

    Miliband wants to storm into Downing Street on the back of a platform that blends nationalism, socialism and political control of the media. Three very dangerous and mutually reinforcing concepts that are more than capable of damaging society’s institutions to the point where, in order to change anything, everything has to change. Not to mention the fact that in the meantime you have developed a political system where any populist lunatic can ride to power very easily.

    • Pootles

      ‘nationalism’ ? Which bit of Mili’s platform is nationalist?

      • Hello

        The way the Labour rose has disappeared to be replaced by a “One Nation” union jack. The way he kept repeating “Britain can do better than this” (his emphasis) as if Britain is entitled to “better”. Evidently he does agree with his father on that little detail, and is attempting to appeal to the nationalist within to deliver him the keys to Number 10.

        • Pootles

          Yes, ok, I suppose so, but it is very feeble, and, of course, doesn’t mean anything concrete at all – it’s entirely rhetorical. The amusing thing is that there is a possibility that the Scots will vote for ‘independence’ (but in the EU – uh?!), so Labour will have to come up with a different ‘British’ rhetoric.

          • Hello

            I agree that it’s not an all out nationalism, but it brings up the question of how he would behave if he faced a spot of unpopularity in office. I suspect he’d try to fall back on nationalism again.

          • Hello

            Just one other thing on the Scottish element. Take a good look at the One Nation flag. It’s barely a union jack — it’s the England flag imposed on top of a faded Saltire. Miliband is appealing to English nationalism.

            • Pootles

              Mmm, that’s interesting. I had only registered that it wasn’t in the correct colours (what is it with putting the Union flag in different colours?). Mind you, the label ‘British’ is much, much less likely to be taken as a self-descriptor by English people of English descent; it’s much more likely (according to the last census results) to be used in conjunction with some other identifier, e.g., British-Indian. Not sure where that gets us. But I hadn’t picked up any sense of English nationalism myself.

              • Hello

                Well, maybe I’m just getting carried away…

                • Pootles

                  I wish someone would carry me away … from the ghastly modern world.

                • anyfool

                  That’s what the Daily Mail wants to do to the benighted multicultural ghastly modern world called England, Britain can go hang.

                • Pootles

                  Well, for me, the DM is part of the ghastly modern world – I’m off to my cave. If I could afford one.

  • BigAl

    Once the papers are gone we can rely on the impartial BBC to communicate to us………

    • Alexsandr

      but where will they get their copy from if there is no guardian?

  • jazz606

    There is nothing that Milliband would like more than to neutralise the Daily and Sunday Mail ahead of the General election.
    Let’s face it the fast waning Guardian isn’t going to be much help and people like Milliband never pass up a chance of playing the victim.

  • Swiss Bob

    This pitiful whining has one purpose only, Miliband wants the press controlled.

    Funny that he never seemed bothered by the excesses of the press when in Govt with News International on side and Dacre being such close friends with McMental.

    He has as far as I know never condemned McBride for his disgusting smears. Nothing he says can be believed, he will take any position in furtherance of political advantage, he is the perfect heir to Brown.

    • telemachus

      Would it not be true to say they brought it on themselves
      Or more precisely that the Mail brought it on the rest
      The public has a right to insist that we do not have very public dancing on dead men’s graves

      • Swiss Bob

        The public has a right to insist that we do not have very public dancing on dead men’s graves

        Well done, 100% wrong. It doesn’t, in fact the Labour party made very many public displays of dancing on Thatcher’s grave without any of this faux lamentation from the Tories or demands that ‘something must be done about it’.

        • telemachus

          There cannot be any justification for trying to get at a politician through his dead relatives

          • Colonel Mustard

            You have said several times here that to win in politics all is justified and that the end justifies any means.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              Agreed, but that would require consistency and integrity so don’t hold your breath.

          • Denis_Cooper

            When a politician publicly invokes a dead relative in his efforts to further his career then he must expect that the character of that dead relative may be publicly scrutinised and if necessary criticised.

            If Miliband didn’t want people to investigate the character of his “Dad” then he should never have mentioned him in public; instead he deliberately chose to drag his dear old “Dad” into his speeches to try to get a more sympathetic hearing; so now he must put up with the consequences of his own loathsome behaviour, as well as that of his father.

            • telemachus

              And the grave picture
              And the memorial service invasion

              • Denis_Cooper

                All sprang from Miliband’s loathsome attempt to use a dead relative to further his political career, just as loathsome as when other politicians do it.

              • Fergus Pickering

                Nothing much, old fruit.

          • telemackus

            Are we not attempting to smear the current Viscount Rothermere by the words and actions of his grandfather? What is that word to describe this? Hypocrite?

            • Alexsandr

              where has the mail said ‘Look at our past, and at the ancestors of our proprietor? If they did then raking through their past would be justified.
              Milliband has said -look at my Dad. so we did. And now he cries foul. Hypocrite.

        • telemackus

          We agree. Only papers supporting our progressive national socialism should be permitted to publish. As the Daily Mail supported us in the 30s this creates a dilemma.

      • Andy

        So when is Ed going to apologise for standing arm in arm with some Labour Party scumbag wearing a ‘T’ shirt with ‘Millions of Trade Unionist will dance on Thatcher’s Grave’ ??

        YOU, one assumes, unreservedly apologises for that, as a paid up member of the Fascist Party ?

      • HJ777

        Well, there was plenty of that in The Independent and The Guardian when Margaret Thatcher died.

        Did Ed Miliband call for press regulation to control that? Did anyone on the right call for press regulation to control that?

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        But I assume it is perfectly acceptable for the left to dance on a dead woman’s grave? A disgusting spectacle we saw in abundance a few months ago.

      • Smithersjones2013

        No instead Miliband just laughs at the thought of dancing on their graves:

        http://orderorder.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/deadthatcher.jpg?w=480&h=310

      • rubyduck

        Dead women’s graves are ok, though

      • Fergus Pickering

        But it’s OK to dance on dead women’s graves. In fact laudable.

    • rubyduck

      and probably more unelectable

  • telemachus

    I would go further
    *
    I suggest immediate suspension of the Mail and Mail on Sunday pending internal inquiry
    And if not satisfactory permanently

    • Colonel Mustard

      Which is the real agenda of you and your socialist comrades. To shut down any dissent from left wing orthodoxy. You are simply a fascist.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Right little fascist, aren’t you?

    • Holly

      Would you go as far as to suggest immediately suspension of Labour, after Campbell, McBride, Whelan, Draper, Blair, Brown, Miliband, Balls and Burnham, pending an inquiry?
      And if not satisfactory, permanently.
      This lot did a lot more harm, to a lot more people, who without them, would still be alive today.

      Do you see the point yet.

      This morning we have Miliband, once again, moving the goal posts in his demands from the Mail/Mail on Sunday,(He did it to Cameron on Syria) while the Tory-led government are changing rules on dangerous criminals getting out half way through their time served in prison.

      Have a guess which politician is ‘closer’ to what the public are desperately screaming out for.

      • telemachus

        Ask anyone who prospered from 1997 to Lehman if they are thankful to Gordon

        • rubyduck

          You mean public sector managers ?

    • Smithersjones2013

      Yeah but nobody cares what a teletubby thinks

    • Fergus Pickering

      You mean this newspaper should be closed by the state. I think that has already been tried in many socialist countries.

  • Russell

    Just post a picture of Miliband next to the labour supporter with ‘dance on Maggies grave’ T shirt next to any article that mentions Miliband and decency! He was grinning and laughing like the hypocrit Socialist he is. He only wants his socialist views in newspapers, no criticism of him or his raving mad big State Socialist party, just like the USSR/China days his father longed for (whilst taking advantage of the freedoms here in Great Britain).
    Miliband is a disgrace….like father like son.

    • telemachus

      Perseveration old man
      *
      We heard that tripe yesterday

      • Russell

        Spelling old man…..we hear your tripe every day!

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Perseveration? Kindly explain. The picture of Mr Miliband embracing the wearer of that T shirt is freely available on the internet etc and so cannot be dismissed as tripe.

        • telemachus

          perseveration is the repetition of a particular response….
          Russel said exactly the same yesterday

          • Jimmy R

            Only once? Your repetition is like a record with a sticking needle every day.

  • George_Arseborne

    He is standing strong on the powerful. That is leadership. Others as you know will not dare. Weak!!!!!!!! Good job Milliband.

    • Holly

      Does Miliband, by his incessant, bordering on dictatorial idea of ‘leadership’, make him, or the public think HE is/should be MORE powerful?
      And by being this ‘strong leader’ does he think the public are crying out for a Prime Minister who thinks that only left wing politicians/Miliband should have any power,(not newspaper editors/owners) about what the public read/hear or see?

      Miliband does everything he can to show the public how ‘strong a leader’ he would be, but all he succeeds in achieving is, showing the public what a dictator he would be, by trying to ‘silence’ anyone who says anything about him, or his family, that, by the way, he has dragged into the public eye for the last three years.
      It was Ed Miliband who courted public opinion on how HIS dad had a great influence on him,. It was Ed Miliband who thought it a great idea, as a potential British Prime Minister, who would then represent Britain on the world stage, to snog his wife, like a love struck juvenile, in public.

      It happens every day on here, we argue our point/opinion, and get cursed.
      We disagree with each other, and that IS healthy.

      Being in control of the levers of power is something completely different, when deciding who can say what, and about who, however offensive.

      The MoS has apologised, but again, this is not what Miliband is really after.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Standing strong on the powerful? What on earth do you mean, Arsebone? Do you mean he is attacking the Daily Mail? Why don’t you say so?

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