Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

The Paper that Hates Britain

Interesting article by Ian Aitkin in today’s Guardian (I know leftie paper etc.), but its conclusion is of wider interest:

For the central tenet of Marxism is that those who have nothing to sell but their labour have diametrically opposed interests from those who own the means of production – the owners make their profit by paying their hired workers less than the true value of their labour. That is a proposition implicitly endorsed by anyone who seeks higher pay, either through a trade union or individually. Even high-flying bank employees think they get less wealth than they generate – that’s why they want those bonuses.

But the idea that being a Marxist, whether consciously or unconsciously, makes you a de facto traitor is both absurd and outrageous. No one … supported the Soviet version of Marxism, and Ralph Miliband was the most eloquent among us in denouncing it as a distortion of true Marxist teaching. He believed passionately in the good old British values of tolerance and generosity, from which he had benefited.

Yet those, of course, are precisely the values that the Daily Mail rejects, not only in the case of Ralph and Ed Miliband, but in its overall coverage. Its aim is a strange one: each morning it wants to enrage its readers about some feature of contemporary British life, such as a judge being over-lenient with a criminal, a hospital messing up an operation, or too many crooked Romanians getting through our borders.

The message is: there you are, that’s what Britain is like these days, isn’t it awful? So we can deduce that the Britain the Daily Mail is loyal to is not contemporary Britain but a legendary Britain of some golden age in the distant past, when everything was shipshape and Bristol fashion and Oswald Mosley was firmly in charge. If anyone hates contemporary Britain, it is the Daily Mail.
The Guardian Comment is Free Website 4 October 2013: The Ralph Miliband I knew embodied the British values the Daily Mail rejects (my emphasis)

On the Today programme this morning (BBC Radio 4, 4 October 2013), a, Alex Brummer, Mail Group editor was defending the original offending article saying that the headline has to be taken with the article. I find this strange; you can write a sensationalist headline that is a distortion of the truth (and is probably scanned by every reader) but that is OK if the article (read by only a few) does not quite stand up to the headline.

I think Aitkin’s quote above stands up to my headline.


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