The decision of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre to go after Harriet Harman comes with the recent attack on Mil The Younger, by vilifying his late father Ralph Miliband, fresh in the memory. As the Daily Mail’s editor has decided that it is a legitimate tactic to use a father’s behaviour to judge their sons, we can usefully inspect that of his own. And his name was Peter Dacre.
You f***ing calling out my father, c***?!?
Dacre père turned 18 in June 1943. At this time, it seems he was working on a local paper in Doncaster. The following year, he moved to work in London as a showbusiness writer. He thus managed to remain employed in journalism, rather than go to fight the Germans, as so many of his fellow countrymen had to do: they were called up, and so had no option.
The reason this is dwelt upon is that Dacre fils has decreed Ralph Miliband “The Man Who Hated Britain”, yet even after having to walk – walk – over a hundred kilometres from Brussels to Ostend to catch what may have been the last boat out before the advancing Germans arrived, he then volunteered to serve the country that had given him shelter, despite having no obligation to do so.
So why did Peter Dacre not serve his country? Was he somehow unfit to do so? Did he hold any religious belief or register any objection? Was he, somehow, engaged in secret war work that had to go unreported? The answer to all of these is in the negative. But being a journalist was a reserved occupation, despite the branch of the profession inhabited by Peter Dacre not exactly being critical to the war effort.
However, and there is inevitably a however here, nobody forced Peter Dacre to stay in the UK and write his sleb copy. He could, like Ralph Miliband, have volunteered, and many journalists did, some joining the intelligence services, and others the armed forces, where they ran the risk of being captured and shot as spies. Far easier to remain in London and make his career unhindered by such thoughts.
No doubt Peter Dacre was not alone in managing to bodyswerve the opportunity to serve his country, but the fact remains that his best-known son is calling out the reputation of someone who had the courage and backbone to Do The Right Thing, and volunteer to go and fight the Nazis. All Peter Dacre did was to chicken out, so he could enjoy an easy life in Civvy Street.
So who was “The Man Who Hated Britain”? Should the title go to someone who doesn’t rate the Royals, isn’t impressed by The Old School Tie or the aristocracy, but is prepared to risk his life to fight for his adopted country, or to a showbusiness reporter who chooses to stay at home and shelter under the protection of being in a reserved occupation? Many would select the latter.
And that would mean Paul Dacre’s father. What you won’t read in the Daily Mail.