Horrible histories


Is it fair to judge the modern Daily Mail on the basis that before World War II it was a friend to Hitler and opposed the flight of Jews from Nazi Germany to Britain?

If you think that’s OK, then you will be comfortable with the idea of judging Ed Miliband on the basis of something his father wrote in his diary at the age of 17.

You might defend the Mail by saying it has long ago shaken off its shameful past and proved itself a champion of the democratic right. But then you could say something similar about the Miliband family on the left.

England wouldn’t be England if the Mail wasn’t showing contempt for old lefties like Ralph Miliband. If it hadn’t wildly exaggerated its case it would have been reasonable to compare him with Ed.

England wouldn’t be England if people on the left weren’t dragging up the Mail’s horrible pre-war history and seeing a connection with its present day campaign against immigration.

You can’t libel the dead, but a newspaper can screw up its own reputation if it attacks someone’s dead parent unfairly.

And one thing is certain: no matter how big and scary you are, if you blacken a father’s name you’re likely to get a bloody nose from his son.