Conference Diary: Ed Miliband demands the right of reply over his denigrated dad in Daily Mail

 

In a highly unusual move, Ed Miliband has induced the Daily Mail to grant him the right of reply to an article attacking him. It is a right that  newspapers are understandably reluctant to concede, lest their columns be filled with nothing but the wailing replies from wronged politicians. But there again, it is unusual to attack a politician by going for his dead father.

The piece on Ralph Miliband  in Saturday’s Daily Mail, by its veteran star writer, Geoffrey Levy, was under the provocative heading “The man who hated Britain”. Mr Miliband will reply to it on Tuesday, with an article supporting his counter-claim. “My dad loved Britain, he served in the Royal Navy and I am not prepared to allow his good name to be denigrated in this way,” he said.

The case against the older Miliband rests heavily on a comment he wrote in his diary, attacking the “rabid” nationalism, not actually of the British but of the English, suggesting that “you sometimes want them to lose [the war] to show them how things are”. He wrote that at the age of 17.

This is supplemented with quotes in which he was delighting in the Labour election victory of 1945, attacking the “ruling orders” for wanting to “keep the workers in their place, strengthen the House of Lords, maintain social hierarchies…” and despairing at the political benefit Margaret Thatcher accrued from the Falklands War.

I might just add that Levy asserted that “Ed’s victory over David [was] made possible only with unions’ block votes”. Someone should update him that the union block vote was abolished in 1993. Even Ralph Miliband, who died in 1994, was around when that happened.

Minister not cowed

Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, believes that Ed Miliband’s promise to freeze energy bills is a vote-winner – for the Tories. “The sheer bovine stupidity of trying to engineer the rules of the market gives us a huge chance at the next election,” he told a ConservativeHome fringe meeting. This prompts two responses. One is the serious point that David Cameron’s flagship Help to Buy policy, which will use public money to help people to buy homes that otherwise they could not afford, is also an interference in the market. And on a frivolous note, what did the minister in charge of agriculture mean by making a derogatory remark about cows?

The barriers go up

Last week’s Labour conference in Brighton was remarkable for the almost complete absence of security: a barrier along the pavement behind the conference centre, checks on passes at the entrance, a few bag searches and that was it. In Manchester, it is back to what is now normal, with a chunk of the city centre turned into a no-go zone and every item of baggage passed through an X-ray machine. Inside the hall, it was quiet and almost empty. Outside, the streets rang with the din of thousands of protesters marching in opposition to cuts in the NHS budget.

Kicking up a stink

Relations between the Tories and their civil servants are not ideal, according to the new book, In It Together: The Inside Story Of The Coalition Government, by the London Evening Standard’s political commentator, Matthew D’Ancona. In one scene, he describes David Cameron’s political guru, Steve Hilton, telling the country’s most senior civil servant, Sir Bob Kerslake: “You fucking lied.” An unnamed cabinet minister is quoted on another page as remarking: “It’s unpleasant to say this, but Bob Kerslake really does have awful BO. I mean, really smelly.” Nice.

Sport
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice