Wednesday, 2 October 2013

BEING UNBRITISH

The Daily Mail's attack on Labour leader Ed Milliband's dead Marxist academic father is almost unprecedented in recent British media history for its virulence and lack of, well, Britishness.  To call a Jewish refugee from Nazism evil takes some gall, and to call one who fought for the British against Nazis evil is even worse.  Perhaps the most obscene aspect of this tirade, which reeks of anti-Semitism, is the photograph of the grave of Ed's father, that was put online as part of the original story.  Given that graves of Jews are often desecrated by fascists, it is rather unsettling to have done so.  It is also unseemly and cruel.

Imagine if your own deceased loved one was so vilified?  Moreover, it is not "unBritish" to be a left-wing academic.  Britain's greatest poet and prose writer of the last century, WH Auden and George Orwell, were, at one time or another, rather socialist in bent, to put it mildly.  England's greatest indie band, The Smiths, is openly anti-monarchist.  Is one unBritish for questioning the status quo?  Quite the reverse - Britishness has a healthy streak of non-conformity, and many great Britons have been socialists, and Marxists.

Meanwhile, as Kevin Higgins the ex-radical socialist Irish poet reminded me, it was the Daily Mail who hailed the election of Herr H****r as a good thing all those years ago.  If they can be forgiven their premature fascism, why does Prof Milliband have to bear the brunt of history's later judgements?  The paper should retracts its editorial and apologise.
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