Mail on Sunday’s shocking Ed Miliband revelations

Ed Miliband has a big job ahead of him, to bring the Labour Party back to power following their second worst general election result since the second world war.

I wish him well and congratulate him on his victory. Whatever concerns people may have about the way he came second among both MPs and party members, he’s won fair and square by the rules the Labour Party set for the contest.

Personally, I would have problems being in a party that thought that particular setup was a fair and democratic way to run elections, but I’m not in that party and I’m never likely to be so it’s really not my problem.

He will be judged on the way he leads his party, the policies he pursues and the electoral success, or otherwise, he enjoys.

Unless you read the Mail on Sunday, in which case he’ll be judged variously on who his father is, his marital status and whether his name appears on his son’s birth certificate.

Be shocked to your core as you learn that Ed Miliband is living with his partner and young son out of wedlock.

Mutter under your breath about the fecklessness of young people today as you discover that although there’s no doubt Ed is the father of his partner’s son, he hasn’t yet filled in his name on the birth certificate.

And nod sagely in a “that expains it” sort of way as you find out that Miliband Pater was a North London Marxist intellectual (along with half the middle class back then).

On the positive side, the Mail on Sunday tells us that Justine Thornton (Ed’s partner) was a child star in the ’80s TV show Dramarama. That was a pretty great show (sort of a children’s version of Play for Today) so big bonus points there.

I guess the sad thing is that the dear old Mail on Sunday should be so predictable.  It’s not as if there’s any shortage of policy issues to tackle Labour on (such as the minor detail of finding out whether their new leader stands by Labour’s General Election platform of cutting £44 billion in public spending between now and 2017).

And yet here we are, with the Mail trying to persuade us that we should care about Ed’s father, his marital arrangments or his son’s birth certificate.

Sorry, I don’t and, to be honest, I don’t think many other people do either.

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44 Comments

  • Colin Green 26th Sep '10 - 9:09am

    If the mail annoys you, don’t buy it. It only encourages them.

  • Howard Wilkins 26th Sep '10 - 9:30am

    I can’t see how Labour can be electable under Ed Milliband, given the muckraking press, the fact that the unions put him into power, and the narrowness of his victory over his brother. There are going to be so many internal feuds going on will the party be able to get its act together?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 9:35am

    “And yet here we are, with the Mail trying to persuade us that we should care about Ed’s father, his marital arrangments or his son’s birth certificate.”

    It seems you care enough to repeat them in detail.

    Still, I suppose you deserve some credit for refraining from trying to make political capital from the fact that he’s Jewish.

  • Huw, quite so. I might have been forced to break the habit of a lifetime and buy it.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 11:03am

    Oh, come off it. It’s the oldest one in the book.

    “The Mail prints some disgraceful muck-raking stuff about Ed Miliband. Here it is in detail …”

  • @Howard Wilkins wrote: “I can’t see how Labour can be electable under Ed Milliband, given the muckraking press, the fact that the unions put him into power, and the narrowness of his victory over his brother.”

    Totally agree. Labour have lost their mind. I saw him speaking on the Andrew Marr Show. Totally unconvincing in terms of policy and leadership. My Labour activist sister has threatened to tear up her membership card, she’s so disgusted that the party picked ssuch a duffer.

  • @Howard Wilkins

    I also think that a significant portion of Labour members are not interested in REALLY getting back into power. But I don’t think the Labour Party will split at all, though.

  • The Mail in unprincipled muckraking designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator of those who delude themselves into thinking they are part of the country’s elite. Film at 11.

  • Chill out Anthony – we’re liberals over here, and couldn’t care less.

  • Anthony Aloysius St: YAWN

  • Anthony>“The Mail prints some disgraceful muck-raking stuff about Ed Miliband.

    Interesting you think any of that could possibly count as muck-raking.
    Whereas everyone else here laughed at it as the DM being pathetic. It was spelled out to show how much the DM are scraping the barrel. Do you think there’s anyone in the country who gives a stuff about the birth certificate? Or anyone here who didn’t already know who his dad was?
    If that’s the worst they can come up with, Ed should be laughing.

    Wonder if they’ll now lay off Lib Dems a bit, or just alternate between who they attack with non-stories?!

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 12:24pm

    Cassie

    Of course some people are still affected by these things. That’s why the Mail printed them, and that’s why Iain repeated them.

    Sometimes I think many of the party “activists” who post here have never knocked on a door or talked to an elector in their lives.

  • BarnsleyBoy 26th Sep '10 - 1:10pm

    Regards the Mail and Mail On Sunday: hate them but respect them.

    The Mails know their readership better than almost any other national newspaper imho. What they say is what the readership thinks / what the readership thinks is what they say. That’s a lot of votes and we need at least some of them.

    No, I don’t mean “Go Right”, just listen hard and don’t write off the savvy, hard working, misguided people who read the rags…

    BarnlseyBoy

    PS No, I don’t but my Mum does!

  • I think Ed Miliband will show to us at somepoint that genuine anti-semitism is still a phenomenon of the right, not the left.

  • Anthony, I’m having a hard time believing that your criticism of this article is meant seriously, but in case it is… Yes, some of the Mail’s readership may still live in the 50s and care about EdM’s domestic arrangments, but LDV’s readership is hardly likely to fall in that demographic. Hands up who in this party gives a toss about whether a politician is married or not? Didn’t think so.

    Iain clearly meant this as a piece poking fun at the Mail, and couldn’t have written it without reciting what they actually said. In case you don’t remember, LDV re-printed most of the press attacks on Nick Clegg during the election too – was that also a snide way of attacking him? No, just like in this article LDV was only repeating the stupid attacks in order to ridicule them. As I would’ve thought is pretty obvious unless you’re reading anything this site says as having some sinister alternative meaning…

    @mpg – personally I like both the brothers, and agree that David has more credibility in some ways, but surely that’s because he’s been more high profile up til now? I’d expect Ed to grow into the role and by all accounts he has quite good ‘people skills’. He’s demonstrated an awareness of Labour’s need to reconnect with its base, but also I’m sure he knows he has to reach out to swing demographics, as his speech today about standing up for the middle classes shows. So he could have a lot of potential if he can throw off the ‘union stooge’ line the Conservatives and parts of the press will inevitably try and stick him with. He also has reasonable liberal credentials and supports marriage equality and AV so I wish him well (so far anyway!).

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 2:13pm

    “If he thought readers of LDV would be influenced by such smears, he wouldn’t have repeated them.”

    I’d be more convinced if it weren’t for LDV’s long history of repeating the smallest bit of dirt on even quite minor representatives of other parties.

    And if it weren’t for the delicious irony of Stephen Tall’s pronouncement on Miliband’s election “There’s no doubt the right-wing press and the Conservatives will do all they can to show Ed Miliband is little more than a puppet of the unions” – considering only a short time before he had told us that Miliband had been elected because of a trade union “bloc vote”! (But maybe he considers LDV is part of the “right-wing press” now!)

    Let’s not be hopelessly naive. The party will use every bit of propaganda it feels it can against Miliband, and where it doesn’t feel it can use it directly, it will employ tricks like this to repeat it.

  • Stone me, Anthony! You are getting a bit paranoid. Actually, all that stuff about Ed makes me think more of him rather than less – and, by the way, I didn’t know he was jewish until you pointed it out, so by your own argument….!

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 3:21pm

    “… I didn’t know he was jewish until you pointed it out, so by your own argument….!”

    Scarcely, as I’m no longer a member of the party!

    But did you really not know the Miliband brothers were Jewish? I do think it’s worth being aware of, if only to enable you to understand the cryptic remarks in the right-wing press when they do come (as I’m sure they will).

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 6:30pm

    Then why repeat what the Mail said?

    Can you at least reassure us that regurgitating tabloid smears against your opponents – punctuated, of course, by frequent exclamations of “I don’t believe a word of it!”, “What dreadful rubbish this is!” and “As if anyone cared!” – isn’t going to become LDV policy from now on?

  • Oh for goodness’ sake, Anthony – LDV frequently ‘regurgitates’ tabloid smears against Lib Dems MPs too. Did you decry those articles? Did you assume they were secretly meant as attacks on the Lib Dems featured? Or did you assume that in fact they were just doing what political blogs do every day – reporting on (which often means regurgitating) the political news. Why are you suddenly hunting for some kind of sinister ‘hidden agenda’ when it happens to be a Labour MP in the news?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 7:04pm

    “LDV frequently ‘regurgitates’ tabloid smears against Lib Dems MPs too.”

    Perhaps you can give me an example. My impression is that, on the contrary, LDV often doesn’t report quite significant stories that are seen as negative for the party.

  • The “Mail” attacked Nick Clegg for having Dutch and Ukarainian ancestry, which it considered rendered him unfit to be Prime Minsiter. By contrast, the “Mail” has shied away from pointing to Ed Miliband’s Jewish background. In that one small respect, it seems that Miliband has received more favourable treatment than Clegg. “Mail” attacks on politicians are becoming ever more absurd. The one that really takes the whole barrel of biscuits is the Nazi smear on Clegg. I think it is a sign of confidence and strength on our part that we can have a laugh at this rubbish rather than get worked into a lather by it.

  • Well the archive only seems to go back to 2009 so won’t be able to dig out the articles from around the last-but-one leadership election with plenty of tabloid innuendo about the contenders’ private lives, but here’s a couple of articles covering the press attack on Nick Clegg during the general election:

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/according-to-the-daily-mail-im-a-foreigner-2-18986.html
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/now-the-daily-mail-thinks-election-is-about-leaders-wifes-underwear-19134.html

    And covering the David Laws affair:
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/david-laws-issues-statement-on-his-expenses-and-sexuality-19728.html

    And if you really need any evidence of Iain’s contempt for the Mail, here he is covering a lovely DM article celebrating our multicultural society…
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/daily-mail-takes-a-tip-from-the-bnp-20643.html

    He does, of course, quote the Daily Mail’s headline, because it’s difficult to write a piece commenting on an article without saying what the original article is about, but I doubt anyone could construe the above as a back-handed attack on immigrant mothers, any more than this article was a back-handed attack on Ed Miliband. If anything it’s the opposite.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 8:03pm

    Catherine

    Thanks for the links. But if you look at those LDV stories, they _don’t_ actually regurgitate the smears in the way that the article above does. The one about Clegg’s ancestry quotes only two sentences from the report, and is mostly devoted to Mark Pack’s rebuttal, and for the one about Clegg’s wife’s underwear you have to follow the link to work out what on earth the story is about.

    As for the David Laws story, that was an important story about an MP having broken the rules on expenses, which is obviously in an entirely different league.

    So I’m far from convinced by your claim that LDV has regurgitated tabloid smears about Lib Dem MPs.

  • Oh give it a break Aloysius. No one agrees with you.

  • “No one agrees with you”

    I do.

    Don’t presume to speak for everyone.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 8:39pm

    MBoy

    Don’t you think there’s something just a bit wrong about telling someone they should keep quiet because (in your opinion) no one agrees with them?

  • @Anthony Aloysius St and Peter: The point is that the things the Mail believes to be criticisms are going to be greeted with a resounding “so what?” by any Lib Dem member or voter, no matter by whom it is repeated. Do you believe Iain Roberts is unbelievably incompetent enough to have failed to figure this out?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 8:49pm

    “The point is that the things the Mail believes to be criticisms are going to be greeted with a resounding “so what?” by any Lib Dem member or voter, no matter by whom it is repeated.”

    I think that’s obviously untrue, and the fact that you believe such a thing makes me wonder how much contact you have with (1) Lib Dem members, (2) voters and (3) people in general.

  • Jeez.

    In your rush to pedantry Anthony, you have (as so often) missed the subtle sarcasm in the original post.

    I appreciate your bored, and it’s fun to tell Lib Dems what Lib Dems should be like. And it’s fun to play the betrayed ex member card. But lighten up dude, being so myopic and dull can’t be good for you.

  • @Anthony Aloysius St: Let me get this straight. Your claim is that the Liberal Democrat membership is against single parents and committed relationships that don’t involve marriage or civil partnerships, are quite happy to judge people based on how their parents thought or spoke, and vehemently oppose people in government who during one of the most tumultuous periods in the British economic and political life since the Winter of Discontent make minor paperwork errors. Is that your position?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 9:09pm

    Personal abuse now. Who would have thought it?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 9:14pm

    Thomas

    No, of course that’s not my position.

    But obviously there are many older people and many religious people who do still disapprove of having children “out of wedlock.” The party includes some such people, and many such people vote for the party. I repeat, the Mail wouldn’t have bothered printing the story if there weren’t still people like that.

  • @Anthony Aloysius St: And I doubt very much that the average LD reads the Mail for anything other than amusement or academic value. I never said there weren’t any such people in the country, it’s just that I doubt very much that people who vote for the Liberal Democrats, are members and activists, the kind of people who are reading this website dedicated to Liberal issues, are the kind of people who believe that these criticisms show anything other than the absurdity of the Mail and it’s readership, much less blemishes on Ed Milliband’s character.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 26th Sep '10 - 9:40pm

    “I doubt very much that the average LD reads the Mail for anything other than amusement or academic value.”

    If you’re talking about voters, I’m afraid you’re way off the mark. A quick look at Wikipedia revealed a MORI survey from 2004 according to which 17% of Daily Mail readers voted Lib Dem.

  • @Anthony Aloysius St: I’d be one of them, but I don’t take the rag seriously. Johann Hari reads the Daily Mail, but I doubt he choked on his cornflakes reading this article, unless he was shaking his head in disappointment too quickly. And lets not kid ourselves, the average voter isn’t going to hear these comments here first, are they?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 27th Sep '10 - 12:01am

    Thomas

    I must defer to you, as a Lib Dem Mail reader.

    And I agree that very few people will be reading these comments.

  • David Allen 27th Sep '10 - 1:30pm

    Catherine,

    “Well the archive only seems to go back to 2009 so won’t be able to dig out the articles from around the last-but-one leadership election with plenty of tabloid innuendo about the contenders’ private lives, but here’s a couple of articles covering the press attack on Nick Clegg during the general election:

    https://www.libdemvoice.org/according-to-the-daily-mail-im-a-foreigner-2-18986.html
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/now-the-daily-mail-thinks-election-is-about-leaders-wifes-underwear-19134.html

    And covering the David Laws affair:
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/david-laws-issues-statement-on-his-expenses-and-sexuality-19728.html

    Yes, LDV has selectively quoted the Daily Mail attacking the Lib Dems, on those occasions when LDV thought the DM were on weak ground and could be made to look silly. LDV has also reported on issues like the Laws scandal, once the scandal had broken and the Lib Dem involved wanted to put his own case. So what?

    LDV likes to have its cake and eat it. It likes to sneer at the Daily Mail, but it is also quite happy to encourage the DM when they say things that will hurt our opponents. It is undoubtedly true that Ed Miliband’s personal life will persuade some voters that he is not the guy they want to vote for. Do Anthony’s detractors disagree with that?

    I agree with Anthony!

  • “Of course some people are still affected by these things. That’s why the Mail printed them”

    Yes. Like people whose father could not be arsed to put his name on their birth certificate, allowing there to be an element of doubt. Those kind of people…

  • Are we going to get a UK equivalent of the delightfully nutty U.S. tea-party off the back of the Mails very funny and very desperate attacks ? Will there be hordes of slack jawed Mail readers demanding to see birth certificates and claiming Miliband is from Kenya and a secret communist ?

    Mr Dacre and his cretinous scribblers seemed pretty sure Nick was a Nazi before the election after all.
    And they were the ones who ended up looking the fools for that, as usual
    Every day that passes sees these editors and their tabloid rags lose a little more of their power over the credulous.
    Come the next election the noise from their shrill hysteria will be far more inneffectual than they even were in May.

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