Letter to the Evening Standard
The Daily Mail’s attack on Ed Miliband’s father as ‘the man who hated Britain’ because he criticised the country’s institutions and values is a replay of the McCarthyite assault on the left in the US as being un-American, during the 1940s and 1950s. It is a classic ploy: if you do not disavow your radical beliefs, you do not belong to the national community. It led to persecution and injustice – not a path we want to go down.
The Daily Mail has form in this respect, though not one it may wish to recall. On 10 July, 1933, its leader defended Adolf Hitler on the grounds that he had to do something about Israelite provocation. ‘In the last days of the pre-Hitler regime’, the leader explained, ‘there were twenty times as many Jewish government officials in Germany as had existed before the war. Israelites of international attachments were insinuating themselves into key positions in the German administrative machine’.
The delegitimating rhetoric of international attachments was reprised against Miliband snr., whose loyalty to his ‘adoptive country’ was also called into question. Perhaps the paper should learn from its past mistakes, and not allow toxic bile to poison the country’s politics.
Professor James Curran
Goldsmiths, University of London