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Sunday 26 September 2010

Let’s Not Do The Timewarp

Hardly had Mil The Younger been elected Labour leader before the hatchet jobs started. And away and running has been the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, with an extraordinary piece in today’s Mail On Sunday. The younger Miliband, thunders the headline, is “living with his family out of wedlock”.

Briefly concerned, I consult the calendar, and am reassured to see that it is still 2010. For a moment, the thought occurred that I had been taken back in time half a century. What to make of this ratcheting up of righteousness? Many of the MoS’ readers may have to look that one up. But, as the man said, there’s more.

Mil The Younger is “the son of a North London Marxist intellectual”. Wow. Triple whammy here: “Marxist” is clearly bad, “North London” compounds the sin, and “intellectual” is the most heinous of crimes – well, to an editor who revels in the nickname of “The Vagina Monologue”, it is.

We are told that the Miliband brothers grew up in a “large house”, for which MoS readers must now feel the obligatory envy, especially given their father was, remember this well, a Marxist. And the suburb of Primrose Hill, in the retelling, is “bohemian”, rather than the more prosaic “convenient for the Morrisons by the canal”.

Elsewhere, Dacre’s obedient hack is unable to get his names right: Corporal Clegg’s wife is referred to as “Miriam Clegg”, which she is not. She is Miriam González Durántez, and when the Dacre hackery is otherwise minded, is routinely pilloried for being one of those dastardly Spaniards.

And Justine Thornton, Mil The Younger’s partner, is given a less than subtle warning by the MoS: she will now “feel the full glare of media interest in her style, behaviour and pronouncements”, which translates, more or less, as signalling that there will be more mean spirited and not necessarily factual hatchet jobs to come.

But then, you need to sell plenty of copy when your managing editor’s remuneration package is over a million and a half notes a year.

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