This story started with an opinion piece in the Daily Mail on the Man Who Hated Britain - Ralph Miliband, the father of the current leader of the Labour party Ed Miliband.
On a hot summer day, a young man made his way alone to Highgate Cemetery in North London to make a lifelong vow.
Solemnly, he stood at the grave of Karl Marx at a moment when, in his own words, 'the cemetery was utterly deserted . . . I remember standing in front of the grave, fist clenched, and swearing my own private oath that I would be faithful to the workers' cause'.
The year was 1940. The young man was Ralph Miliband, a Jewish immigrant who, with his father, had fled to London from Belgium just weeks earlier to escape the Nazi Holocaust.
The young Belgian immigrant rebel wrote in his diary
As for the country that gave him and his family protection, the 17-year-old wrote in his diary: 'The Englishman is a rabid nationalist. They are perhaps the most nationalist people in the world . . . you sometimes want them almost to lose (the war) to show them how things are. They have the greatest contempt for the Continent . . . To lose their empire would be the worst possible humiliation.'
The story continued
The fact is, with all his brilliance, his Marxist teaching and his books, Ralph Miliband died a disappointed man. Labour, he conceded, remained 'a party of modest social reform in a capitalist system within whose confines it is ever more firmly and by now irrevocably rooted'. No party or grouping existed that was 'capable of posing an effective challenge'.
But right to the end, he hadn't entirely given up. Nothing had changed in his mind since his pilgrimage, in 1940, to Karl Marx's grave.
Significantly, his own tombstone now lies just 12 yards from it in Highgate cemetery.
It is engraved with the three-word inscription: 'Writer Teacher Socialist.'
The story continued further when Ed Miliband decided to fight for his father's reputation by a dignified riposte, also published by the Mail in which he poured scorn on the Daily Mail's insult to his dead father, down to being stalked at his uncle's private family funeral. To their credit, the great and the good of British politics and academics, both liberal and conservative were supportive of Mr Miliband and highly critical of the Daily Mail. They pointed out the difference in actions of Ralph Miliband serving in the Royal Navy in WW2 for 3 years, versus the actions of Lord Rothermere - current owners of the Daily Mail - in writing to Hitler in 1938
“My dear Fuhrer everyone in England is profoundly moved by the bloodless solution to the Czechoslovakian problem. People not so much concerned with territorial readjustment as with dread of another war with its accompanying bloodbath. Frederick the Great was a great popular figure. I salute your excellency’s star which rises higher and higher.”
And to add to this Lord Rothermere avoids paying tax in Britain as much as possible etc etc and so the story grew and died down and Mr Miliband's poll numbers went up.
Enter the hilarious Mehdi Hasan, of HuffPost UK. On BBC's Question Time, a current affairs programme, he decided to add his two cents worth of outrage.
Asked about the controversy, Hasan said: "Let's have the debate about who hates Britain more, it isn't a dead Jewish refugee from Belgium who served in the Royal Navy, it's the immigrant-bashing, woman-hating, muslim-smearing, NHS-undermining, gay-baiting Daily Mail."
And the audience cheered. The Daily Mail then published a letter from Mr Hasan to Mr Dacre, current editor of the Mail, sent in 2010 when he was looking for a job
Interestingly, his past history finds him comparing non-Muslims to animals.
I found the best summing up of this entire episode in the Spectator.
The Mail attracts writers who ought to oppose it, because it pays top rates if – and only if – they say exactly what the editor wants them to say. You can get at least £1,000 for a morning’s work, and Dacre will fill your pockets even if he decides not to use your piece. Writers will bark like a performing seal for money as easy as that.
But white leftists should pause before denouncing Hasan as a charlatan and a sell-out. They are the purer hypocrites and greater fools. Hasan is from the Islamist religious right.
If Dacre had had any sense, he would have hired Hasan for strategic reasons. He should have known that social conservatism would be a far stronger force if white rightists could overcome their dislike of immigrants and unite all conservative forces in a common front against liberalism.
As things stand, the world remains upside down. The left rather than the right defends reactionary religion, as long as the reactionaries do not have a white skin. You should never tire of pointing out that they are complicit in an enormous betrayal of progressive principles. Women, gays, secularists, liberals and socialists from ethnic minorities ought to be able to turn to British liberals and leftists for support against the patriarchal men, who seek to control them. Rather than fraternal greetings, they find indifference and hostility. The mainstream of liberal-left opinion in the universities, media, civil service, and Labour and Liberal Democrat parties has convinced itself that it is culturally imperialist to demand that members of minorities should enjoy the same freedoms as the rest of us.
What I find bizarre in the Anglophone world is how socialists are routinely traduced as unpatriotic and likened to saboteurs, say, in the way that OWS was targeted.