Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Why Young People in Politics Should Support Ed M Against The Daily Mail

The war of slander waged by The Daily Mail against Ed Miliband’s father, Ralph Miliband, has become a pivotal moment for the future of young people who write and work in politics. There is something about the whole ongoing episode that has crossed over from ‘dirty politics’ into ‘dirty nationalism politics’ and it is for this reason that I worry about what the repercussions could be for young people.

Ed is basically being persecuted for not having a British father who fulfils the stereotypical image of being British. The Daily Mail, in effect, offers the British test of having a love for ‘Eton and Harrow, Oxford and Cambridge, the great Clubs, the Times, the Church, the Army and the respectable Sunday papers’.  I don’t know about you but I felt really quite embarrassed at this list. Is this all that there is to Britain?

The paper has more to offer on what Ralph Miliband wrote: ‘It also means the values of the ruling orders, keep the workers in their place, strengthen the House of Lords, maintain social hierarchies, God save the Queen, equality is bunk, democracy is dangerous etc...

In chastising Ralph Miliband the paper, basically, is mounting a campaign to keep politics within the realms of the ruling classes who went to Eton and Harrow, Oxford and Cambridge, dined at Clubs, read the Times, send their sons to be Commanders in the Army and prayed on a Sunday to (probably) keep women Bishops out. In other words, the call is for a return to another bygone era, a demand for absolute obedience to the ruling classes. 

What does this all mean for someone like me and many more like me? Firstly, given the level of worship of the free market by the right wing then globalisation is a natural occurrence. Free market of goods and services do not flow by themselves. They require people to travel and deliver them. So, we have migrants now living in the UK and children, like me, being born to parents who were not born British. I hold a British passport.

Secondly, given the high incidence of war as a means of carrying out international relations and war is always favoured by the right wing then refugees and asylum seekers coming into Britain is another occurrence. The children of these families will become British at some point. Many of these children will love Britain for offering them the sanctuary of peace and security that they did not get in their original home country. However (and I have met such children) these children do not believe in unquestioning obedience. They have seen atrocities committed, experienced being victims of state violence, they do not believe in God easily because they think that if God existed he would not have let them suffer and they certainly have a suspicion of guns. Eton, Cambridge, clubs will be as distant from their lives as food stamps and food banks is to the right wing.

One does not have to be born in Britain to become an MP, unlike in America. One can be a British or Commonwealth citizen. Who is to say that at some point we won’t have children going into politics with a firm belief that they really want to make the world a better place and not to fleece the expenses system? 

Lastly, to question the capitalist system is not a crime. I didn’t sit through three days of a five day Marxism conference in London for nothing. My mother took me. It has always been part of my education to learn about what is outside my system of belief. I own a Ralph Miliband book. If you don’t know anything else than your own narrow world then you may as well live in a Duck pond or build a moat around your house.

All young people regardless of their political belief need to support Ed M in this situation. It feels as if a trial of class politics and economic systems and parentage is being held. Politics will be closed off to us if stupidity, as shown by the Daily Mail and people who support it, win.

P.S. Marxism is becoming hugely relevant as the inequality gap grows. Ralph Miliband said: “…the real problem for the people in charge of affairs was not the threat of revolution but the need, as they saw it, to contain pressure for reforms which the nation could not afford’. Page 4.


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  1. "One does not have to be born in Britain to become an MP, unlike in America"

    As far as I know the restriction only applies to the US President - hence the fuss among republicans at the time about Barak Obama's birth certificate.

    It certainly doesn't apply to state governors - hence Arnold Schwarzenegger, born in Austria, was able to stand for election and win the governorship of California but cannot stand for election as US President.

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