Everyone in the UK is up in arms over the Daily Mail and Ed Miliband. The Mail published a horrible article about Ralph Miliband, father of Ed and David (a former Labour MP). Ed M and many other people said it was horrible, the Mail refused to apologize.
The paper prompted an angry stream of reaction on Tuesday morning when it stood by the profile published on Saturday, which said the beliefs of Ralph Miliband “should disturb everyone who loves this country”.
The Mail agreed to print a right of reply by the Labour leader, but ran it alongside an abridged version of the original article and a trenchant 1,000-word editorial headlined “An evil legacy and why we won’t apologise”.
David Cameron and Nick Clegg waded into the row on Tuesday, backing Miliband’s response. Cameron said he had not read the original article but said that “if anyone had a go at my father, I would want to respond vigorously”.
Clegg wrote on Twitter: “I support Ed Miliband defending his dad. Politics should be about playing the ball, not the man, certainly not the man’s family.”
Ugly, isn’t it.
I very rarely link to anything in the Mail, and when I do I explain that I avoid it and do so only when I can’t find another source. It’s a horrible newspaper.
The Guardian reports on Ed M’s fury at the Mail’s refusal to apologize.
“I’m furious because what is political debate coming to in this country when this happens? That’s why I’ve spoken out,” he said in a television interview with BBC News on Tuesday. “It’s an unusual step to speak out. I don’t do it lightly but I am not willing to see my father’s good name undermined in this way.”
The Daily Mail prompted an angry stream of reaction after it stood by the blistering personal attack with a trenchant 1,000-word editorial headlined “An evil legacy and why we won’t apologise”. The newspaper agreed to print a right of reply by Miliband, but ran it alongside an abridged version of the original article.
“I was appalled when I read the Daily Mail on Saturday and saw them saying that he hated Britain. It’s a lie,” the visibly angry Labour leader told the BBC.
“I’m even more appalled that they repeated that lie today and have gone further and described my father’s legacy as ‘evil’. Evil is a word reserved for particular cases and I was not willing to let that stand.
“It’s perfectly legitimate for the Daily Mail to talk about my father’s politics but when they say that he hated Britain I was not willing to put up with that because my father loved Britain, my father served in the Royal Navy, he was a refugee who came here and found security in this country.
“What I’m interested in is defending my father’s good name. I don’t want the British people to think my father hated Britain – because he loved Britain. When the Daily Mail not only says that but publishes a photo on its website of his gravestone with a pun about it saying he was a grave socialist … I’m furious because what is political debate coming to in this country when this happens? That’s why I’ve spoken out.”
Here we have two things that poison politics and public discourse in general – lies and brutality. People should do better than that.