#MyDadHatedBritain …

… is trending on Twitter, thanks to the appalling UK Daily Mail, which ran a full length attack on the late Ralph Miliband, socialist academic and father of Opposition Leader Ed Miliband. On the strength of a scathing diary entry Miliband wrote as a 17-year old refugee, and his opposition to the Falklands War, the Mail claimed that Miliband “hated Britain”. Illustrating the proverb about glass houses, the attack only served to draw attention to the fact that whereas Miliband served in the Navy in World War II, the Mail backed Hitler and the Blackshirts throughout the 1930s, and has continued to push racist hatred ever since (unsurprisingly, it has seized on the spurious notion of “political correctness.” [1]

The Mail’s attack on Miliband has divided the UK right into three groups (google x+Mail+miliband)

* Those who have condemned this appalling and dishonest slur, including Michael Heseltine and Nick Clegg
* Those who have stuck to a weaselly line scripted by Tory minders that “of course Miliband should defend his father” such as David Cameron, William Hague and Boris Johnson
* Those who have backed the Mail all the way, notably including James Delingpole, Rod Liddle and Michael Gove[2]

It’s notable that all those I’ve listed in the third group are prominent climate delusionists. As we’ve seen again recently, the Mail is the source for many of the lies about climate change that are reproduced in the Murdoch press[3]. This is, as they say, no coincidence. Climate delusionism isn’t a mistaken belief about the world, it’s an expression of tribal hatred, all the more effective because most of those who push it know, at some level, that their arguments are false. Putting forth such arguments is an expression of tribal solidarity, like asserting that Obama was born in Kenya. Naturally, the tribal haters love the kind of stuff that the Mail dishes out.

Hopes are often disappointed, but it does seem as if the global party of stupid is starting to reap the whirlwind it has sown. The continued publication of delusional nonsense has produced a rightwing base that embraces delusional strategies like the US shutdown, or attacks on a man’s dead father, in the belief that everyone else will share their positive reaction.

fn1. It’s also being claimed that the father of Mail editor Paul Dacre didn’t serve, but this (sauce for the gander) claim hasn’t been verified AFAIK. Another tidbit is that the Mail was the target of Churchill’s Stanley Baldwin’s famous jibe that it sought “power without responsibility – the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages”.
fn2. Gove hasn’t stated this, but he has tried to stop schools teaching anything about climate change. He has the additional motive that his wife has a highly paid job with the Mail.
fn3. It’s a striking commentary on the weakness of people like Bolt and Oz “environment reporter” Graeme Lloyd that, as well as being incapable of telling the truth, they also seem to be unable to come up with original lies.

44 thoughts on “#MyDadHatedBritain …

  1. Pr Q said @ #23

    Happy to oblige. Here’s the Mail backing Marine Le Pen

    I bothered to read the linked article and it did not even mention the issue of race or religion, let alone promote any discriminatory policy. A lone, half-hearted op-ed in support of a much moderated nationalist candidate in one foreign election. And this in an era when terrorist cells and and ghettos of rioting “youth” are carving a trail of destruction through the cities that host the world’s most respected national culture. So call me unpersuaded.

    If this is what passes for a generations worth of “pushing racist hatred” then the professional anti-“racist” and anti-“fascist” warriors of Left-liberalism will soon be trudging down to Centrelink. Oh wait a minute, they mostly are, which perhaps explains the incessant need to define racism down.

    The DM is a populist national rag, much needed in an age when post modern liberal elites have more or less dropped the ball on policy and openly despise the general populus in politics. TBS it deserves to be castigated for its delusionism on the Climate Wars. But its campaign against the global bankers show that it has some sound instincts on the Class War. And of course its campaign against tribal gangstas running riot in urban Britain puts it on the side of reason and common sense in the Culture War.

    In short, its a mixed bag and a fair-minded academic would recognize that.

    We pay intellectuals to make critical distinctions and not join in the general tribal war-mongering. Or is that too much to ask?

  2. Marine Le Pen is a racist and the Daily Mail backs her. Enough said.

    I’ve let this slide until now, but I’m reimposing the ban on anything from you relating in any way to race, genetics, migration, nationalism, or any associated topic.

  3. @John Quiggin the winning of the cultural war may have more to do with demographics. older populations tend to be more conservative on most things.

    the economics of religion spends a lot of time on the rise of strict religions these days.

    Laurence Iannaccone writes lots of interesting stuff on why strict religious behavior is rational in terms of piety and also club goods in the here and now.

    He attributes the explosive growth of conservative Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and the slow decline of more genteel denominations as the result of forming a small community of people deeply involved in one another’s lives and more willing than most to come to one another’s aid. Strictness makes a church stronger and more attractive because it reduces free riding.

    expressive voting on social issues would be one of the prices of admission to a small church full of passionate members

    rising incomes changes the demand for the quanitity and quality of children. the fewer children per couple receive more attention and more worry about outside temptations to go off the rails.

  4. @John Quiggin

    I said “Sadly there is also plenty of weirdness on the Left as well, altho it is of a lower order.”

    That isn’t false equivalence.

    Surely you must have noticed the continued left leaning social scientist and intellectual infatuation with socialism. I find that depressing.

    ps. Brian said Malenie Klein and I assumed he had that right. Turns out he meant Naomi Klein.

  5. @Mel

    “Surely you must have noticed the continued left leaning social scientist and intellectual infatuation with socialism”

    I haven’t noticed anything of the kind. I made a conscious decision to use the term “social democrat” when I started this blog, and it seems to me that I was in line with the zeitgeist on this. Social democracy refers to a concrete set of policiies and achievements whereas socialism (given the failure of “actually existing socialism” in the USSR) means whatever you want it to.

    In this context, the capitulation of a number of European social democratic parties in the face of austerity may lead to the revival of “socialist” as a self-description, but for practical purposes it now means “social democrat with spine”. Note that, despite the absence of anything resembling a socialist movement in the US, a plurality of young Americans say they prefer socialism to capitalism http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/29/young-people-socialism_n_1175218.html

  6. @jack strocchi

    And of course {DM’s} campaign against tribal gangstas running riot in urban Britain puts it on the side of reason and common (sic) sense in the Culture War.

    Common sense and reason are rarely good friends and often cross the street to avoid each other.

    The notion that the Daily Mail (commonly known as the Daily Fail) purveys reason is of course ludicrous. I recall not all that long ago (2011?) thinking Queensland was a country run by Bob Katter, or some such silliness. It’s a damned shame this aspect of the culture war failed to make it to Blot or Grahame Lloyd’s columns …

    I’m not against the stupid and the ignorant having a paper that offers back to them the most outrageous of their intellectual shortcomings. I also defend the right to sell junk food.

    But if someone calls it gourmet reading, or even bread and butter, what can one do but laugh out loud, either at the cant involved, or the spruiker’s admission of arrant stupidity.

    Sidebar: I note that Strocchii, despite persistent correction, continues to spell populace as “populus”. I’m not sure if this is some Latinesque affectation, or some gap in his education, but it is amusing.

  7. @John Quiggin

    Well John, you are an economist and I think the best thinkers on the Left are very often economists. I’m a sociology graduate but a rather depressed one who thinks most sociologists have nothing interesting to say.

    BTW, I think Marx did have some genuinely profound insights but these could easily be explained on a single A4 size typed page.

    Also thanks for that survey. Very interesting.

  8. Pr Q said:

    The Daily Mail…ran a full length attack on the late Ralph Miliband, socialist academic and father of Opposition Leader Ed Miliband. On the strength of a scathing diary entry Miliband wrote as a 17-year old refugee, and his opposition to the Falklands War, the Mail claimed that Miliband “hated Britain”.

    The DM should be ashamed of itself for traducing the memory of a good serviceman, penetrating intellectual and a progressive activist whose sons are a credit to their up-bringer. They are obviously trying to get at the Labour Party leaders in much the same way as REPs tried to get at Obama by attacking his Marxist father.

    Ralph Miliband was one of the better sort of post-war British Marxists, sort of pommie version of C. Wright Mills. He was one of the founders of the somewhat misleadingly named British “New Left” (others included John Saville & E P Thonpson). So called because they criticised Stalinist communism after Kruschevs “Secret Speech”. In fact there was nothing ” New” about their Leftism, they held fast to the original worker traditions of the Old Left.

    Not coincidentally they all had good War records – Saville was a Marxist RSM. I’d would have given anything to be a fly on the wall in his Sergeants Mess!

    In the early eighties I remember feeling a wave of relief washing over me when I came across Milibands “State in a Capitalist society”. We poor conscripted Arts elective students were being force fed a diet of “cultural Marxist” hogwash that was being piped out of the academic slums of Continental Europe and Bi-coastal USA. How reassuring it was to finally find a Leftist intellectual who wrote comprehensible English and did not come across as stark raving mad.

    The same could not be said for his intellectual rivals on the academic Left. Does anyone now remember the leading lights of the real New Left at the time – Poulantzas, Althusser & Foucault? What a gruesome crew. Miliband made mincemeat of Poulantzas in a debate on the bourgeois state. As did EP Thompson with Althusser.

    You would think that these thrashings would have been enough to bury the Continental New Left in the Anglo sphere. But not a bit of it, the post-modernist tsunami carried the Continental Left onto bigger and better things. Post-modern Left-liberalism is now in its Brezhnev stage, 53,000 tanks parked on Uni campuses right the world over, menacing dissidents with with no independent souls believing a word of what they say. Which only goes to show how little intellectual validity has to do with political potency.

    Although Poulantzas et al actually did get put six feet under, finding various unpleasant ways to physically self-destruct. Perhaps they re-read their own works and could no longer look at themselves in the mirror.

  9. Just a general question for the commenters who go on about “socialism”:

    I just watched “Iraq For Sale” – the salient points are that Haliburton (thanks to its former CEO Cheney) got billions of dollars from US taxpayers (more correctly – on their credit via Wall Street and the Federal Reserve) in “no bid” contracts which were “cost plus” (meaning that the more taxpayers money they wasted, the more profit they made).

    That is the “free-market” championed by the people who throw around “socialism” as an epithet. You own that form of free-market fundamentalism.

    So, what exactly is your argument again?

  10. Why would Jack Strocchi imagine that anyone who had read and understood Milliband, Poulantzas, Althusser, Foucault or indeed E.P. Thompson want to talk to him about it? That is self delusion in an extreme form. I spent many years reading and discussing them and others but I would not dream of discussing them with him. Why would anyone? If you want to have a serious conversation about 20th century Marxism just do it.

  11. But not a bit of it, the post-modernist tsunami carried the Continental Left onto bigger and better things. Post-modern Left-liberalism is now in its Brezhnev stage, 53,000 tanks parked on Uni campuses right the world over, menacing dissidents with with no independent souls believing a word of what they say.

    Say what? This is so far off the mark as to suggest you haven’t been near a university for decades. BTW, the 1990s called and want their culture wars back.

  12. Happy to oblige. Here’s the Mail backing Marine Le Pen

    john, The Daily Mail is a polarizing paper and a voice of old-fashioned British values and of opposition to meddling bureaucrats and political correctness. The Mail is powerful because it is delivers swinging votes – the working class which has middle-class aspirations

    as for racism, the Daily Mail led a 15-year campaign to bring justice for the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence when in 1997, the paper named 5 men as his murderers and dared them to sue.

    The Daily Mail campaign led to the documenting extensive institutional racism across virtually all the ranks the police. See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2080159/Stephen-Lawrence-case-How-killers-finally-brought-justice.html

    Two of the men the Mail named on its front page in 1997 were convicted in 2012 when the laws on double jeopardy were amended.

    Stephen Lawrence’s mother was recently raised to the House of Lords as a working peer specialising in race and diversity.

    It is routine for London newspapers to have a strong political stance in news coverage as well as editorials. Is the Guardian any more biased than the Daily Mail?

    It is routine for London newspapers to have a strong political stance in news coverage as well as editorials. Is the Guardian any more biased than the Daily Mail?

  13. @Jim Rose

    The Daily Mail is a polarizing paper and a voice of old-fashioned British values

    I rather doubt Edmund Burke would have read the Daily Mail with approval. The Daily Mail is a populist tabloid pitched at the values of people who are indifferent to anything but their own comfort.

  14. OT, but I wonder what proportion of each countries population thinks that they are the greatest country on earth? And does it vary with political persuasion?

  15. Jack Strocchi is quite right about Miliband pere. He was a left power elite theorist who demonstrated how self-perpetuating ruling elites in Britain captured the institutions of the state and defined the ‘national interest’ in terms of their own interests. He even counted among the ruling elites various groups such as professionals and even labour leaders to the extent they pursued elite interests at the expense of their constituents.

    This analysis was tantamount to heresy in the circles of dogmatic communists from Trots to Maoists to Moscow-liners. For these folk class analysis explained all social and economic phenomena – talk of elites was trivial tinkering with the superstructure. Moreover, the last thing Moscow or Beijing wanted was someone noticing their own self-perpetuating elites.

    At any event, trying to paint Ralph as some sort of traitor beholden to the ukases of Moscow is at best McCarthyist hysteria. Trying to tie son Ed to this rhetorical house of cards is worse than pathetic and reminds me of the paranoid nonsense found in the publications of the Citizens Electoral Council.

  16. @jack strocchi
    Jack Strocchi: “And this in an era when terrorist cells and and ghettos of rioting “youth” are carving a trail of destruction through the cities that host the world’s most respected national culture.” Please explain?

  17. The best comments on the Daily Mail (for those on Twitter) can be found at #18thCenturyDailyMail

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