The Daily Mail’s recent attack on Ed Miliband’s father, the late Ralph Miliband; respected academic and anti-fascist activist – who defended Britain during the war by manning a gun-ship – was justified because he ‘hated’ Britain, apparently.
What the Daily Mail meant, of course, is that he was a self-declared Marxist. That was his real crime. Miliband senior also eschewed traditional ‘British values’, the Mail thundered angrily. One might ponder just what kind of ‘values’ are held by a newspaper who enthusiastically espoused support for Mosley’s Blackshirts. The Mail’s current proprietor might complain that tarring his newspaper – and, by extension, himself – with the Nazi brush simply because of his grandfather’s infamous 1930s headline, would be a bit unfair. Hopefully, for his sake, he won’t make this point. After all, that would be rank hypocrisy of a particularly unsavoury type.
It would also be a bit stupid because the Mail’s love-in with fascism isn’t confined to the historical recesses of the pre-World War 2 period. Just last year, the paper advised its readers that, “despite her flaws, the only responsible vote in France next Sunday is one for Marine Le Pen.” Those unacquainted with Mz Le Pen might be unaware that she heads the French National Front. The Mail, though, knows exactly who she is.
Of course, there aren’t really any surprises here. The Mail’s virulent racism, bigotry and xenophobia can be discerned from even the most cursory glance of any one of its front pages. Of course it loves fascism. The real issue here, though, is the Daily Mail’s utter arrogance in assuming it and it alone can define ‘British values.’ What on earth might they be? Well, in Daily Mail-land they include immigrant-bashing, unquestioning obsequiousness regarding the Monarchy, a pathological hatred of the poor and a love of hard-right nationalism, all mixed up with a creepy and disturbing obsession with adolescent and pre-adolescent sexuality.
Sadly, it isn’t just the Daily Mail who continues to foist an entirely subjective definition of ‘British values’ on the rest of us. Just this morning, Ken Livingstone, on 5Live, while defending Miliband's dad, described Churchill as the "greatest Englishman who ever lived." Churchill, of course, would be the very epitome of those cherished ‘British values.’ A closer look at the man, however, reveals the former Prime Minister to have held ‘values’ that those with decency, humanity and compassion would reject out of hand.
Churchill's CV included ordering armed troops into Tonypandy in 1910 when, as Home Secretary, he broke the resistance of striking miners in the Rhondda, the creation of the brutal and sectarian Black and Tans in Ireland and, predating Hitler by some years – a man upon whom he would lavish fulsome praise and admiration – advocated the enforced sterilisation of the poor and their incarceration in purpose-built labour camps.
Bit harsh? Well, here's Winnie on Hitler...
"I have nothing but admiration for the courage, the perseverance, and the vital force which enabled Hitler to challenge, defy, conciliate, or overcome, all the authorities or resistances which barred his path. One may dislike Hitler’s system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations."
He was also a keen exponent of eugenics – something else he held in common with the Nazis – and urged that both mentally and physically disabled people should be forcibly sterilised. As he explained to Asquith in 1910, "The multiplication of the feeble-minded is a very terrible danger to the race".
Ralph Miliband, though, is to be damned because he didn't hold dear to his breast these ‘British values.' ‘Values' like racism, jingoism, colonialism, class-privilege and inequality along with the unthinking moronic patriotism, on which Churchill was so obviously keen.
If there are any such things as ‘British values,’ which, of course, there aren’t, then it’s patently obvious that these are class values. That being so, the ones most deserving of veneration are those held by people like the Chartists, the Levellers, the Suffragettes and the Tollpuddle Martyrs, to name just a few. These people are responsible for the relative, freedom and liberty we enjoy today. Freedom and liberty – it can’t be emphasised too strongly – that was won in the face of the most brutal and bloody resistance of ruling class tyrants like Winston Churchill.
Every single progressive advance enjoyed by the masses today was won and paid for with the blood of heroic men and women who were prepared to die so that others might live free. The ‘values’ to which the Mail, Churchill and the ruling class would hold up as somehow quintessentially ‘British’ are, in fact, bywords for oppression, intolerance, hatred and tyranny. If that’s the sort of Britain Ralph Miliband ‘hated’ then we should all be proud to declare that, yes; we too hate Britain.