I wrote to the 3rd Viscount Harmsworth some years ago. I told him my family had bought the Daily Mail for five decades but I was stopping buying it. I explained this was because I was fed up with its continual right wing bias.
Articles starting with words like “Last night the Labour party was reeling after….” were driving me mad and finally my anger was outweighing my love for Fred Bassett. I was off.
The reply from the Viscount spoke volumes. It gave me the impression that he was intellectually challenged. He said that the paper had always been patriotic since the days when it’s masthead carried the motto “For King and Country”.
I wrote back pointing out that Glasgow has probably had the greatest concentration of people dying for this country in service, and is not known for its right wing views.
It seems to me that Ralph Miliband did hate aspects of this country. They are the same aspects I hate about it. The Monarchy. Insufferable snobbery. The Aristocracy. The House of Lords.
These are “views antipathetic to a lot of people in this country” says the Mail’s deputy editor. Indeed. But they do not make me or the late Ralph Miliband unpatriotic.
Where I think the Mail is going wrong with its headline “The man who hated Britain” is that it is doing a grave disservice to those who served in the Royal Navy in the Second World War.
Miliband served for three years in the Belgian Section of the Royal Navy, tasked with intercepting German radio communications. He served on destroyers and other warships and achieved the rank of chief petty officer.
I think Paul Dacre of the Mail would do well to read “The Cruel Sea” by Nicholas Monsarrat. It gives a vivid picture, written by a former Royal Navy officer, of the hell of serving on ships during the war.
Imagine facing, each day, the risk of drowning while trapped below decks in a ship.
Quite frankly, the Dacre mob are not fit to polish the shoes of Ralph Miliband.