Damn right

So if it all comes down to this: “Should the Leader of the Opposition be able to unseat a newspaper editor for being horrid about his father?” The answer must surely be no. Better a society where the Daily Mail is free to be nasty than one where its editor can be dismissed by a disgruntled politician.

I care very little for the Mail, for Dacre, and quite possibly even less for Red Ed and the socialist buffoon that sired him.

But I do rather care for the freedom to stand up and tell our rulers to fuck off. Which is what is actually the issue here. We’ll not be having with that, where we lose the right to say so.

38 comments on “Damn right

  1. One of those unfortunate situations in which one is forced on principle to support somebody who is, in general, utterly despicable.

  2. “The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.”

    -HL Mencken

  3. But Ralph was a loveable socialist buffoon who no doubt would have deeply regretted the mass murder and totalitarian oppression required to make Britain a fairer place.

    Besides, criticism of the Milibands can only be motivated by hatred of Jews.

    I wonder what would have happened to everybody’s favourite dead Marxist theoretician if he had lived to see his socialist wet dreams come true? Surely the new regime would have elevated him to a position of responsibility befitting of his superior intellect. I bet there were lots of Marxist academics in Stalin’s inner circle.

  4. More concern to Miliband and the leftists is the underlying theme of the Mail article pushing the ideological parity between Marxists and fascists. This “difference” has remained ones of the core mainstays of leftist rhetoric enabling them to fight against the “right-wing” using fascist labels without having the same undesirable ideological heritage applied to them.

    The “danger” (from a leftist perspective) of mainstream media and the public in general finally equating fascism and left-wing politics is very real, whilst the enlightened have known for years that they are cut from the same cloth, there has always been a general fluffyness surrounding communists and their kin, even after the Berlin Wall came down, the fur is starting to wear a bit thin these days.

    Dustbin of history and all that …

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Che-Guevara-was-a-murderer-and-your-t-shirt-is-not-cool/121326814549885

  5. Steve: it is far too simplistic an analysis to suppose that everyone on the left during the Cold War supported the Soviet Union. There were such people as democratic socialists, who were quite genuine in opposing repression and totalitarianism in the Soviet Union. They were, of course, utterly wrong on the economic question. But we should not play the Left’s favourite game of demonising our opponents as thoroughly corrupt and immoral simply because we disagree with large parts of their policy platform.

    Ralph Miliband is claimed by people who knew him well to have been such a democratic socialist. That would make him misguided and wrong, but not unpatriotic, not a monster and not a totalitarian. From the few open sources I have found [1], I can believe it: as I understand it, he was a leading light in the anti-authoritarian New Left. So I should sooner take their word for Miliband senior than that of a Mail writer, even allowing that they may have personal reasons for wanting to gloss over any unpleasant opinions he might have held.

    [1] The best source is a Staggers bio from ’10 (link), which quotes his biographer as saying, “you see signs of his shift away from [seeing] the Soviet Union as a kind of beacon early, in the 1940s.”

  6. “The simple fact of the matter is that capitalist democracy, for all its crippling limitations, has been immeasurably less oppressive and a lot more democratic than any communist regime, whatever the latter’s achievements in economic, social and other fields.” – Ralph Miliband

  7. Ralph Milband believed (and said) that if Labour couldn’t effect change by democratic means, it shouldn’t hesitate to use violent revolution. So, to understand Ed you need to understand his legacy do you? Well then, there are a couple of questions our puttive Primer Minister shhould answer.

  8. I care very little for the Mail, for Dacre, and quite possibly even less for Red Ed and the socialist buffoon that sired him.

    But I do rather care for the freedom to stand up and tell our rulers to fuck off. Which is what is actually the issue here. We’ll not be having with that, where we lose the right to say so.

    The rumour was that Dacre was being shown the door this year before this Miliband fiasco blew up. So it could be a scorched earth thing by Dacre. Who knows?

    Charles Moore is right this: ” It is part of an ideology which, though ultimately pauperising and totalitarian, will always have an appeal when capitalism gets itself into a mess.”

    The thing with the energy companies (re prices), Amazon, Google etc (re tax) and property developers / land owners (not building) is they are perceived to be taking the piss. And people wouldn’t be so bothered if they weren’t themselves feeling the pinch. Fertile ground for someone to come along and say, “hey we’re going to freeze prices / make them pay tax / take the land / nationalise and therefore make everyone’s lives better”.

    (before anyone jumps on me, do note the word “perceived”, I have not said whether they are taking the piss, I am saying they are perceived to be.)

  9. I regard the Mail as the only real newspaper we have.

    The only one that goes out looking for stories rather than waiting for somebody’s press release to land on their desk.

    What matters here is not whether every nuance of this story is balanced but (A) whether it is broadly correct, (B) whether it is important that the public know what the formative political ideals of the would be next PM are, (C) whether any paper other than the Mail would have, indeed did, report it & (D) whether the current lynching, orchestrated by a BBC which is already undeniably a state funded, wholly corrupt, totalitarian fascist propaganda organisation whose previous campaign emasculated Sky & the Sun, is likely to deter publication of politically unapproved but real news in future.

  10. “the socialist buffoon that sired him” was no buffoon – his wickedness should be measured along a Nazi-like axis.

  11. If the Mail is a “real newspaper”, God help us. Its entire reason for existence is to guide and intensify the prejudices of fuckwits.

  12. “The only one that goes out looking for stories rather than waiting for somebody’s press release to land on their desk.”

    Can’t agree with that. The Guardian has pursued several high profile scoops, like them or loathe them – wikileaks, NSA, hacking.

    The Telegraph did well with MP expenses a while back, and The Times has inherited some of the investigative apparatus of the NOTW.

    When the papers size themselves down, I don’t think their investigative journalism is going to be replaced by anything in the blogosphere, even if blogs provide a wider range of comment and are better for technical and subject-specific analysis than generalist journalists aspire to.

  13. “Should the Leader of the Opposition be able to unseat a newspaper editor for being horrid about his father?”

    Surely the answer is: Of course he bloody should if he wins the fight. What’s the point of politics if it’s not a very entertaining blood sport?

    Whether he should be allowed to change the rules of the game to handicap the press is another question and one that really isn’t been asked, however much the telegraph columnist strains to pretend it is. His dog in the fight is getting its assed handed to it, and the columnist ain’t happy.

  14. Philip Walker – “it is far too simplistic an analysis to suppose that everyone on the left during the Cold War supported the Soviet Union. There were such people as democratic socialists, who were quite genuine in opposing repression and totalitarianism in the Soviet Union.”

    No there were not. At least not once the last of the Old Labour figures passed away. The democratic socialists remained, by and large, former Communists who had a very soft spot for Stalinism. When Pol Pot came to power, who on the Left did not cheer?

    “But we should not play the Left’s favourite game of demonising our opponents as thoroughly corrupt and immoral simply because we disagree with large parts of their policy platform.”

    I agree. We should calmly and correctly demonise them because they were thoroughly corrupt and immoral.

    “Ralph Miliband is claimed by people who knew him well to have been such a democratic socialist. That would make him misguided and wrong, but not unpatriotic, not a monster and not a totalitarian.”

    That is just spin. He was a Trot. That does not make him democratic as a normal person would understand that word. His politics were the likely end result of Stalin’s campaign against Cosmopolitans – Miliband would have found the party in 1945 less welcoming than the party in 1939.

    “I can believe it: as I understand it, he was a leading light in the anti-authoritarian New Left.”

    The New Left was hardly anti-authoritarian. They were just Stalinists with better spin doctors.

    “which quotes his biographer as saying, “you see signs of his shift away from [seeing] the Soviet Union as a kind of beacon early, in the 1940s.””

    Signs of his shift? So not actually a shift? This means that in 1940, when he wrote his famous loathing Britain comment, he was supportive of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact? Notice he did not join the Belgian Navy until 1943.

    ukliberty – ““The simple fact of the matter is that capitalist democracy, for all its crippling limitations, has been immeasurably less oppressive and a lot more democratic than any communist regime, whatever the latter’s achievements in economic, social and other fields.” – Ralph Miliband”

    Dates are such interesting things. He wrote that when? It would have been 1989 wouldn’t it? So basically he finally managed to notice, at the end of his life, after 40 years studying the Soviet Union and socialism, that capitalism had done a better job of guaranteeing human rights.

    Frankly I would take that as an indictment of his stupidity, gullibility if not out right evil if I were you.

    By the way, crippling limitations? What would that be then? This was a man who spent his life denoucing Parliamentary democracy and the Labour party.

  15. I suggested over at the Libertarian Alliance blog that it’s time we started calling these apologists “Communism Deniers”. It is frankly appalling that these people got away with supporting what they did.

    It is doubly appalling considering that the Left- including and indeed especially the New Left- have ruthlessly denounced and ostracised anyone they have felt has got in their way. They do not deserve to be given the benefit of any doubt, for they have never given the benefit of the doubt to anyone else, not least (but far from exclusively) by denouncing anyone vaguely right wing as “fascist” and thus tainted with Nazism.

    The fact is that people like Miliband, nestling in the free-er West, took enormous advantage of the idea of freedom of speech, only to demand it be denied to their opponents as they have gained power since the 1960s. Miliband was not a kindly old professor, he was part of a ruthless totalitarian movement that uses the word “democracy” in the same manner as any country calling itself “THe Democratic Republic of…”.

    To hell with this evil man.

  16. “But I do rather care for the freedom to stand up and tell our rulers to fuck off.”

    Agreed. Now, which one of Paul Dacre and Ed Miliband is one of our rulers?

  17. Whoever invented the Daily Mail,
    Ought to be cut down to size.
    Pulped and reduced to a nauseous juice,
    And dried out at flattened ’til ready for use,
    Then covered in newsprint and lies.

    (Leon Rosselson – Whoever Invented the fish finger) :-D

  18. it is an interesting question: would Trotsky have enabled the killing of more people than Stalin if he had taken over from Lenin…. Most students of the matter would conclude that Stalin was a moderate. And in the Indie today, there was a hagiography of the appalling monster General Giap – the guy who can be blamed for the deaths of all those boat people. Strange that the obit did not mention that his version of society was of the mass-murdering variety.

  19. Diogenes – “And in the Indie today, there was a hagiography of the appalling monster General Giap – the guy who can be blamed for the deaths of all those boat people. Strange that the obit did not mention that his version of society was of the mass-murdering variety.”

    He killed Americans. Therefore one of the world’s heroes as far as the British Left goes.

    Trotsky almost certainly would have killed more. You can see that by the support the more famous Trots gave the Khmer Rouge – Chomsky in particular. And needless to say, Miliband. Who well after the war opposed military intervention to end Pol Pot’s rule. Pol Pot’s crimes were not, he said, serious enough.

  20. So much for all those whining articles about the effects of police cutbacks meaning we’ll never see a bobby on the beat again…

  21. @JuliaM

    Of course we won’t see any bobbys on the beat – the ones that are left are too busy sat down the nick, checking their twitter feeds for possible crimes.

    Or possibly they are all enjoying driving about at high speeds, safe from prosecution. I was overtaken by a marked car the other night, while doing 50 in a 50 limit, on an empty rural road. He had no blue lights or siren on. I sped up to follow him at a respectful distance to see how fast he was going – I got to 90 mph, and he was still pulling away from me.
    Had he nicked me at that sort of speed, it would have been bally expensive for me – but there we go, one rule for them, another for us proles.

    I’m with the mail on police officers – individually some of them are doubtless good blokes, but the system means they all end up behaving as little hitlers.

  22. See the post & a few of the commentators are adhering to the ritual abuse of the Mail.
    Can’t say I care for it much myself. But I do find myself enormously encouraged it exists. As has been said many times,successful newspapers reflect not decide the views of their readers. And Mail readers’ views have the healthy schizophrenia of normal people who are quite capable of adopting two mutually contradictory positions, simultaneously. Much more frightening are journals serving those whose philosophies must be adhered to irrespective of circumstance facts or outcome.

  23. SMFS,

    Dates are such interesting things. He wrote that when? It would have been 1989 wouldn’t it? So basically he finally managed to notice, at the end of his life, after 40 years studying the Soviet Union and socialism, that capitalism had done a better job of guaranteeing human rights.

    As was pointed out to you elsewhere, he was strongly critical of the Soviet Union earlier than that, describing it in such terms as “massive and arbitrary repression”, “terrible and monstrous”, “its horrors”, “millions upon millions of people were subjected to [its repression”, “monstrous tyranny”…

    By the way, crippling limitations?

    You tell us, you seem so anxious to tell people what they think.

  24. Ian B may I suggest that the fact free nature of your criticism of the Mail looks like prejudice. Perhaps even fuckwittery.

    Do you dispute my point that if it were left up to the Guardian/BBC etc the political culture Ed grew up in would be wholly censored & that it is only because the Mail, actually looks for news, that such censorship has not been total?

    The Mail is clearly thousands of times better as a news provider than the corrupt totalitarian fascists of the BBC/Guardian though I will grant that does not mean we are not in trouble.

  25. ukliberty – “As was pointed out to you elsewhere, he was strongly critical of the Soviet Union earlier than that, describing it in such terms as “massive and arbitrary repression”, “terrible and monstrous”, “its horrors”, “millions upon millions of people were subjected to [its repression”, “monstrous tyranny”…”

    For the Left those are not bugs, they are features. Did they push him in the direction of criticising the Soviet Union and all its works? No, those alleged criticisms come in the middle of great praise for Stalin’s work in Eastern Europe after WW2. My favourite is his comment on the death of Ruth First. Does he say she was a Stalinist and as such wanted to impose a terrible and monstrous tyranny where millions upon millions of people would be subjected to massive and arbitrary repression? No of course not. It is a love letter to an unrepentant Stalinist.

    He said a lot of things. Some of them presumably for the purposes of plausible denial.

    “You tell us, you seem so anxious to tell people what they think.”

    I am happy to draw everyone’s attention to it and let them decide for themselves what RM thought. As I am with your words.

  26. SMFS,

    Did they push him in the direction of criticising the Soviet Union and all its works? No, those alleged criticisms come in the middle of great praise for Stalin’s work in Eastern Europe after WW2.

    Where is the “great praise for Stalin’s work in Eastern Europe after WW2″ in the article I quoted from?

    “there is proof in plenty that Stalinist repression, quite apart from its human cruelties, retarded Soviet development and actually crippled every area of Soviet life, beginning with Soviet agriculture which has yet to recover from Stalinist collectivization” – seems unequivocal criticism.

  27. Does he say she was a Stalinist …. It is a love letter to an unrepentant Stalinist.

    Oh I see, you’re conflating Marxism with Stalinism….

  28. @UK Lib
    You might find it illuminating to follow this link:
    http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/Articles/The%20Road%20to%20Nowhere.htm

    It’s an open letter to Ralph Milliband from his one-time friend & fellow marxist, David Horowitz & discusses Millibands’ rejection of Stalinism. The point he makes is that Milliband rejects Stalinism but continues to support the system inevitably brought Stalinism about. And the way marxists continually move from each failure of the philosophy, lessons unlearned, expecting its next iteration to be successful. His accusation is that it’s marxism itself that is responsible for each failure so Milliband’s rejection of Stalinism is meaningless.

  29. I was brought up in the Labour Party — two of my earliest memories are a Labour Party Conference (oo, fun) and marching against Thatcher in the ’79 election. My mother was a four-times Labour Party parliamentary candidate — never elected, thank fuck. I read stuff now about how the British Left didn’t support the USSR, and I can only conclude that it comes from people who lived in some other universe. Or they’re just lying, of course, but some of them seem so sincere. I was completely surrounded by these people and their ideology, and can assure everyone that there were two broad views of international politics: one: the USSR was better than any Capitalist country; and two: OK, the USSR was quite bad in some ways, but it was still better than the USA.

    Also,
    http://blog.squandertwo.net/2004/11/great-cop-out.htm

  30. Incidentally, to those of you who are throwing various Ralph quotes at each other to try and prove something…. Surely the point is, as you yourselves are demonstrating, that he said various things at various times, some of them apparently contradicting others or indicating possible changes of mind, and so his writings can be interpreted in different ways by reasonable people, which means The Mail comment was perfectly reasonable and legitimate even if one disagrees with it. Unfortunately, that may mean that some of The Guardian’s comments are reasonable too, but I suppose I can live with that.

  31. @Squander Two,

    Incidentally, to those of you who are throwing various Ralph quotes at each other to try and prove something….

    AFAICS only one person in this thread has quoted Ralph Miliband. Another person has attributed – absent evidence – a view to Miliband and then criticised him for that view. Like wot the Daily Mail did…

  32. ukliberty – “seems unequivocal criticism.”

    But you can’t be sure it isn’t praise. He was a Marxist after all.

    ukliberty – “Oh I see, you’re conflating Marxism with Stalinism….”

    Ruth First was a Stalinist whatever RM was.

    Ruth First’s parents, Julius First and Matilda Levetan, immigrated to South Africa from Latvia as Jewish immigrants in 1906 and became founder members of the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA), the forerunner of the South African Communist Party (SACP). Ruth First was born in 1925 and brought up in Johannesburg. She too joined the Communist Party,[1] which was allied with the African National Congress in its struggle to overthrow the South African government.

    ukliberty – “Another person has attributed – absent evidence – a view to Miliband and then criticised him for that view. Like wot the Daily Mail did…”

    An accurate representation, an accurate criticism.

  33. XX
    Philip Walker
    October 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm
    There were such people as democratic socialists,XX

    Aye RIGHT Laddie, and you believe in “Military intelligence” as well….right?

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