Love us love our elite

Friends of Ralph Miliband’s say the Daily Mail’s version of him is grotesque.

Tariq Ali, a long-time friend of Ralph Miliband, who worked and campaigned alongside the academic from the 1970s until his death, has described the Daily Mail article attacking him as “utterly grotesque”.

Ali said: “It is a wild assault both on Ralph and his son, and the aim, of course, is to try and discredit the family as a whole, which is what one expects from a newspaper like this … completely crazed stuff.

“Ralph’s position was, of course, much, much, better than the Daily Mail, which was a pro-fascist paper until the war broke out – so to get lessons from the Daily Mail on this is quite extraordinary.”

Well the farther Right you go the more everyone to the Left of you looks like the parody Socialist monster (and likewise if you reverse all the terms, no doubt).

Hilary Wainwright, who worked with Miliband in the 1980s, on the Socialist Society, said the attack on him was a case of “playing the man not the ball”.

She added: “They are not dealing with what they are really concerned about – which is the fact that Ed has actually identified some popular policies.

“Ralph did not treat Britain as homogenous. He was extremely committed and engaged with the British labour movement and in a way you could say he spent his life outlining what they were up against … He would, at the same time, be highly critical of the British establishment and the British elite, but that was not a sign of a hatred of Britain but of a hatred of the ruling class and inequality.

“He was a passionate advocate of social justice and in that sense was very much part of the British tradition of dissent from the Levellers … he would situate himself within that dissenting tradition.”

Well if you think Britain (or the US or whatever country is hosting a particular dispute over dissent) is the establishment and the elite, and everyone else is just some pesky outsider rabble there to do the dirty work and shut up about it, then being highly critical of the establishment and the elite is the same as hating the whole country. And we know that is how some members of the elite and the pro-elite party do think. Remember Romney and the 49 percent?

Update: Illustration via Gnu Atheism.



  1. Anthony K says

    Remember Romney and the 49 percent?

    Minor correction, Ophelia: It was Romney and the 47 percent.

  2. Minnow says

    The Daily Heil smear was grotesque, and stupid, and low (par fr the course then) but the last thing Miliband needs is Tariq Ali of all people standing up for him. Check out the great Norm Geras instead:

    By the way, to give a bit of context for US readers, the reason for this attack is not just a general hostility toward Labour but because Miliband Jnr has led the movement to regulate the press in the UK. And the Heil are right on this issue (they think it is none of the state’s business what get’s written in newspapers within the law) and Miliband is wrong. So it is going to get complicated.

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