Britain is not, apparently, like (the very British) Marmite. It is not okay to hate Britain. So when Ed Miliband’s father Ralph was accused of hating Britain by the Daily Mail, everything kicked off.
Twitter reacted with the hashtag #mydadhatedbritain, which while gave us such gems as:
I once overheard my dad whistle The Fields of Athenry. #mydadhatedbritain
— Kevin James Burns (@KevinJBurnsII) October 5, 2013
My dad said my mum looked a bit like Brigitte Bardot. #mydadhatedbritain
— Matthew Sweet (@DrMatthewSweet) October 1, 2013
Helping to drive tweets about hating Britain to an all-time high:
The story has been kept in the news by the likes of Alastair Campbell getting angry on Newsnight and Mehdi Hasan getting angry on BBC Question Time. Campbell’s one man battle against the Mail (and the repeated use of the hashtag #coward) is one of the most significant points according to VICE.
A further development came in the shape of a Mail on Sunday reporter intruding into a private memorial service for Ed Miliband’s uncle. This led to an apology (and the only one anyone is likely to receive), from Mail on Sunday editor Geordie Greig.
The apology was not enough to stop a protest on Sunday outside the Mail’s offices, with some demonstrators going as far as burning copies of the Daily Mail. A YouGov poll conducted on behalf of the Sunday Times revealed 72% of the public think the newspaper’s description of Ralph as the main who hated Britain was unacceptable. This is a stat that the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade believes deserves a headline of its own.
As the topic continues to be discussed, many sites are doing their best to get in on the act(!), from Political Scrapbook’s ‘The Daily Mail vs Ralph Miliband’ image (which is clearly using the same tactics the Mail used in the offending article) to Benedict Brogan’s two paragraph summation that Ralph Miliband was a Cold War bad guy.
And while, with a bit of digging, support for the Daily Mail article can be found, those articles are few and far between. The Mail is struggling to even drum up support from its own staff, with Peter Hitchens’ column claiming, ‘Like Ralph Miliband – I was a Marxist too’.