IT’S a curious old thing when a newspaper agrees to publish a right to reply to an article, but then publishes it next to a re-print of the piece that had caused the original offence, as the Daily Mail has done today.
For good measure, Ed Miliband’s comeback defence of his father, the thoughtful political theorist Ralph, is also accompanied with an editorial leader column titled: ‘An evil legacy and why we won’t apologise.’ In Saturday’s edition, the DM had shredded Ralph in shrill tones with the claim he ‘hated Britain’. Ed Miliband, replying with a personal anger the Mail simply account for as tetchiness, writes: “I know they say ‘you can’t libel the dead’ but you can smear them.”
But the Mail’s low opinion of the Miliband family is not a new thing, even if the language used this week has been more cutting than ever. In the past, the paper has investigated inheritance in the family, properties owned by Ralph’s sons, where in Camden David Miliband sends his children to school and questioned why Ed Miliband took so long to marry his partner.
We all get the drift, but given that, you wonder how David Miliband, the former foreign secretary, looks back on his decision to write chummy memoir pieces for the Daily Mail, complete with family album photos. He wouldn’t have needed the money (if the Mail was paying for the articles).
He wrote one about the football he played as a youngster and how it brought him closer to Ralph. In another, he gives an account of his life teaching sixth formers at Haverstock School in Chalk Farm which would have been perfect for one of the local papers here. His high profile would surely have meant all of the nationals would been interested too, if he was insistent on a wider audience.
But no – it went in the Mail, which today publishes with characteristic defiance: “Today we stand by every word we published on Saturday, from the headline to the assertion that the beliefs of Miliband Snr ‘should disturb everyone who loves the country.”
UPDATED: There you go, David Miliband got paid at least £2,000 a time for articles for the Mail on Sunday. Not so short of a few bob, still think he could have written about his time at Haverstock for the local papers instead. Below is from the register of MP interests:
The Register of Members’ Financial Interests: Part 1
As at 16th November 2011
MILIBAND, David (South Shields)
Vice-Chairman and non-executive director, Sunderland AFC, from 1 February 2011, 12-15 days a year, £75,000. Address: Sunderland AFC, Stadium of Light, Sunderland SR5 1SU
2. Remunerated employment, office, profession etc
Payment for articles for Mail on Sunday. Address: Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, Kensington, London W8 5TT:
Payment of £2,500 for article on 31 October 2010. Hours: 4 hrs. (Registered 15 November 2010)
Payment of £2,000 for article published on 16 January 2011. Hours: 3 hrs. (Registered 25 January 2011)
Payment of £2,000 received on 1 September 2011 for article published on 16 July 2011. Hours: 2 hrs. (Registered 16 September 2011)