2 October 2013

Life imitates art......

Last evening I decided to watch an episode from Series 1 of 'The Thick of It'. Peter Capaldi does a great turn as the spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker and I was left wondering just how close to reality was the representation. Astonishingly, it is really close because, having watched Episode 4, I switched over to BBC2 and dropped into the middle of an amazing exchange on Newsnight between Alastair Campbell and Jon Staefel of the Daily Mail. Having just watched 'Malcolm Tucker' I can only say that watching Campbell and Staefel going at it was a bizarre, almost hallucinogenic experience.

But behind the thrust and parry of Campbell and Staefel lay the more serious issue of the Daily Mail's proxy attack on David Milliband by attacking Milliband's father who the Mail claims 'hated Britain'. Now its pretty clear that the Daily Mail see's itself as the house paper of the Tory party and, given that the Tories are holding their conference at present, the Mail's attack on Milliband senior and, by implication, junior is clearly undertaken at the behest of the Tory Central Office. What is interesting is that the Tories have so little ammunition to fire at Milliband that they are forced to attack his father.

And that brings me to Ralph Milliband, about whom I knew next to nothing until the Daily Mail caused me to do a little research. That research suggests that Ralph Milliband was a very interesting, capable and passionate individual who was also a prominent Marxist, and that may be the Daily Mail's problem.

Ralph Milliband grew up in a time when there was real political debate and wrote extensively and passionately about the conflicts that he saw between society on the one hand and 'capital' and the State on the other. So, I must thank the Daily Mail for bringing Ralph Milliband to my attention. I think that I'll get a copy of Ralph's last book, 'Socialism for a Sceptical Age' which was published in 1994, the same year that he died.

Needless to say, I won't be reading the Daily Mail.