Monday, October 07, 2013

Ralph Miliband and the politics of hate

From Brother Ivo:

Brother Ivo has been taking a few days to reflect upon the furore over Ralph Miliband's legacy.

Any comment about Miliband Pere by the Daily Mail was bound to end in tears - real or crocodile. Let us not forget that Ed recently hired Arnie Graf, who was one of Obama's campaign team, and it was Rahm Emanuel, the éminence grise of that election machine, who coined the maxim "Never let a crisis go to waste". From there it is but a short step to "Never let a family insult go to waste". And so, however much the natural filial defence mechanism may be genuine, Ed was never going to shrug it off lightly. There was political capital to be made, and scores to settle.

Like a Premier League prima donna touched in the penalty area, he not only felt himself "entitled to go down", but also to "big up" the event hoping to get his assailant sent off, and preferably suspended for several games.

Thus he has continued to wail "Will no one rid us of this tiresome press culture?", whilst even those who may not share the Mail's judgment on good or bad journalistic taste began reflecting that the party which employed both Alistair Campbell and Damian McBride, and which also used the 7/7 bombings as cover to release bad economic news, is not in the best position to claim the moral high ground in such matters.

While mulling over the question "Did Ralph Miliband hate Britain?", with conflicting evidence being offered by various commentators, Brother Ivo remembered the basic question posed by the Cambridge positivist philosopher GE Moore. When confused by his students' argument, he routinely asked "What exactly do you mean by..?".

It is a good question in this context.

What exactly do we mean by "hate", and what exactly to we mean by "Britain"?

We use the term "hate" in a variety of ways. Brother Ivo "hates" the taste of tripe. Sporting rivals "hate" their closest rivals while frequently having personal friendships away from the stadium, and they frequently particularly welcome players who cross the sporting divide. We "hate" pantomime villains.

More seriously, in the First World War, the entrenched soldiery developed a convention as to when they would or would not exchange fire - 'morning and evening hate' - and special contempt was visited upon new officers who ordered a costly disruption of that rhythm of warfare which always increased the casualty rate. Winston Churchill himself angered his troops when he first arrived in the trenches and began launching grenades and visiting unnecessary retaliation upon the old hands who had worked out a modus vivendi with the "hated" Hun.

A study of the famous Christmas truce found that it was not symptomatic of war-weariness or incipient pacifism, but rather broke out on sectors where the fighting and determination was the fiercest before and after the event. Like Christians who "hate the sin but love the sinner", the best soldiery could be patriotic and utterly professional yet paradoxically capable of respect and kindness to individuals, especially the wounded and the captured.

Centuries before, Saladin reputedly sent his personal physician to tend King Richard the Lionheart, and so we are beginning to see that this hatred business is actually considerably more complicated than we have heard in the present debate hitherto.

Much of the better side of moderating hate arises from people who have a sense that they will have to account for how they conduct themselves. Chivalry is for those who expect their actions to be judged by more than history.

As he thought about it, Brother Ivo moved into considering something akin to hatred and perhaps a sub-set of it - what one might call the "resentment of obligation".

A classic example is Charles De Gaulle, whose attitude to Britain was decidedly ambivalent.

Intellectually, he must have known that he and France were deeply in Britain's debt, but actually acknowledging the fact was a near impossibility. Thus, as late as the day before D-Day, De Gaulle was refusing to assign English-speaking French officers to assist the more numerous Anglophone liberators of France. It is a little-known fact that more Poles than French crossed the beaches of Normandy. Later, despite Ernest Hemingway and a raggle-taggle bunch of journalists and irregulars "liberating" Harry's Bar well before five French armoured cars entered the city in a stage-managed saving of French face, De Gaulle portentously intoned that Paris had liberated herself.

Did De Gaulle "hate" Britain?

Brother Ivo senses kindred attitudes between De Gaulle and Ralph Miliband where Britain is concerned.

Ralph Miliband's father was a member of the Bund - a Jewish Social Demeocratic party in Poland which was associated with the Menshevick Party when the October revolution established Lenin as the driving force. He moved to Belgium after the First World War and, in due course, Ralph sought refuge in Britain. Here he settled and his family prospered within the social, educational and political systems he opposed.

How could there be anything other than ambivalence for an ideologically-driven intellectual? Marxism had betrayed its ideals when the Russians rebelled: there is supposed to be a historical imperative leading to the inevitable triumph of the masses, but there was precious little evidence of that. The place of safety, comfort, acceptance, freedom, tolerance proved to be what?

What was this "Britain" you are invited to love? It is everything you think you despise.

It is a 1000-year-old monarchy whose constitution is irrational yet remarkably functional, thanks to a middle-class revolution that left hereditary Lords offering the wise long-term view within a bi-cameral parliamentary system. Organised Labour and working people can receive and hand back power when they are defeated in the polls. Marx did not predict either.

Britain's politics was not class or hate-based because many members of Parliament served together and fought a "rationalist" ideologue during a war they won with American support. You might be willing to fight through ideological passion; many others did so out of love for King and Country which you neither share nor especially care for.

The country is shifting from a wartime command model (of which you approve) toward free-market capitalism (which you oppose).

And there is an Established Church, which offends your atheism.

Despite a liberal trend in your lifetime, those who should be joining you in the class struggle are too often cheering the Queen, enjoying a pageantry to which you have no emotional commitment. You see ordinary working folk voting Conservative, dockers marching in support of Enoch Powell, and country folk mixing on cheerful terms with their class oppressors at local hunts, county shows, village fetes and cricket matches. They don't think much to your intellectual cosmopolitanism. They are so intellectually lazy and careless of their class interests.

Why wouldn't it make you hateful, dammit?

That is not to say any of this is an unqualified or malevolent response to your adopted countrymen, however alienated you may feel. Perhaps you like walking in the Lake District, listening to Elgar or watching Shakespeare's plays. Yet such mollifiers will not appease the abiding sense that these people wilfully refuse to accept your assessment of their best interests.

Love and hate can be closely aligned. and that may be the paradox here.

For what it's worth, Brother Ivo suspects Ed Miliband can probably identify enough aspects of Britain liked by his father to give him an Anglophile pass.

Nobody suggests that Ralph Miliband is proximate to those who have randomly put a bomb next to strangers, careless of who it might kill or maim. That is the action of those who truly "hate" Britain.

Yet, having said that, can we not agree that Ralph Miliband's "love" of Britain was highly qualified, and that through it all he continued to love Marxism much much more?

Brother Ivo is the Patron Saint of Lawyers


Blogger John Knox's lovechild said...

You are comparing De Gaulle and Milliband pere!


By the way when De Gaulle strolled to Notre Dame he came under German sniper fire.

Did he break his stride? He did not.

Now run along with your narrow, insular arrogant nonsense.

7 October 2013 at 11:45  
Blogger Corrigan said...

I know this blog is a blind partisan of the Tory party and that therefore anything which attacks the other crowd is fair enough, but the Mail was offside, and by a very wide margin, and it might be better to just acknowledge this and move on. I think it's fairly well established by now that I detest Labour with a vehement hatred, so there is no question of defending Miliband here. I'm simply saying that the "your scumbag is worse than our scumbag" school of ethics is distasteful.

By the same token, it's obvious that somebody at Labour HQ, looking at this cynical assault, made an equally cynical decision along the lines of, "hey, wait up, guys: Ed's Jewish, isn't he? Well, then, we just start screaming anti-Semitism, right?"

7 October 2013 at 11:55  
Blogger bluedog said...

Superb and most perceptive post, Brother Ivo.

The reflections of one of the finest soldiers of WW2, Field-Marshall Erwin Rommel, were published in a book entitled 'Kreig uhne Hass', or War without Hatred. In today's world that very idea would be seen as a contradiction in terms and evidence of a lack of passion and commitment.

We have progressed, haven't we?

7 October 2013 at 12:06  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

Bro Ivo got it right in his penultimate paragraph:

Nobody suggests that Ralph Miliband is proximate to those who have randomly put a bomb next to strangers, careless of who it might kill or maim. That is the action of those who truly "hate" Britain.

The Daily Mail shot itself in the foot and richly deserves the insults that are now being hurled at it. In this instance, that is, because of course the Mail has done excellent work in the past — witness the two front pages that His Grace linked to in Saturday’s post about Mehdi Hasan —and no doubt it will continue to do excellent work in the future.

As the man said, nobody’s perfect. The Daily Mail isn’t perfect and Ralph Miliband wasn’t perfect either. But to say he “hated” Britain is a crass fabrication that the Mail is rightly being punished for.

7 October 2013 at 12:37  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Brother Ivo,

Thank you for a very good summing up of a most tricky matter.
You point to the many layers and "degrees" of hate, their nuances and cross currents with great skill and wisdom. Yes indeed "pere" was not "hating" at the lowest levels of that disease by any means, but his love for our nation, a nation that had generously offered him shelter and safe prosperity, was a small thing, greatly overshadowed by his arid, intellectual love for a foolish, false political dogma that ignored our human nature, and that was visibly failing, with such serious, adverse results in mainland europe. His love for our country was I feel, in so far as it existed, that of a "user" or consumer of what had been built up slowly from some very unMarxist values. And therefore he was blind, I think, to the sources of goodness, all very Marxist.

7 October 2013 at 12:54  
Blogger Richard Gadsden said...

Perhaps one should point out that Brother Ivo may love Britain, but that through it all he continues to love God much more.

There is a danger that anyone who seeks to argue that you cannot serve two masters will define any sincerely religious person as unpatriotic.

I would hope that the past repressions of Jews and Catholics in Britain on this basis are now universally condemned. For the likes of Ralph Miliband, Marxism is a faith, if not always an organised religion.

7 October 2013 at 13:42  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Actually, Richard, whatever about Jews, committed Catholics cannot have patriotic feelings towards Britain (or, indeed, Ireland, France or any other secular western state) because all of them are massive abortion factories. So no, you cannot serve two masters.

7 October 2013 at 14:20  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

At least Miliband was open about his political affiliation. Far more dangerous are the Marxists who join the three main parties and wreck Britain from within while posing as patriots. They identify sources of stability—Christianity, marriage, the traditional family, education—and undermine them. They strip the people of their identity and sense of nationhood through immigration and multiculturalism. They encourage minorities to see themselves as victims to turn the country against itself. The nation state, the people’s best hope of remaining free, becomes a province of the European Union. The Armed Forces are cut and weakened.

And they do all this while insisting they are acting in the best interests of Britain and the British. So polished their performances and so convincing their lies, millions believe them.

7 October 2013 at 14:25  
Blogger Camel said...

I think the accusations of Anti-semitism are a bit overdone in this case. The daily mail has two prominent Jewish commentators- Mrs Philips and Mr Brummer, both top people who I admire(as icing on the cake they are both within the Orthodox tradition as well). Quite how the mail, which is pro-Jewish and pro-Israel can be attacked like this is beyond me.

Incidentally, Mr Brummer has written a sterling article dealing with this and with his Grace's permission :

7 October 2013 at 14:45  
Blogger Ivan said...

No matter how nuanced a writer strives to be when writing of Communists in influential positions, his adroitness avails little, as the Marxists know that their authority, based on lies and half-truths cannot bear steady, unrelenting scrutiny. Hence their first resort is to throw tantrums or sand in the eye, or cast aspersions on the author and his mother. Needless to say, as Miliband senior is Jewish, others would immediately prime the nuclear-weapon grade charge of "anti-Semitism", as Jonathan Freedland has done and this usually ends in a devastating victory for them. Which is why there is never going to be a "Goldilocks" way of writing about Marxists, more so if they are Jewish, and therefore no way of grappling with the dire work of the hard Left within the current paradigm.

7 October 2013 at 16:20  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...


No matter how nuanced a writer strives to be when writing of Communists in influential positions,

Take a look at that headline again: THE MAN WHO HATED BRITAIN. You have a subtler mind than mine, Ivan, if you can detect a "nuance" in those five words.

7 October 2013 at 17:18  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

For any of the indignant who are railing against the Mail, one question. Do you actually know what a Marxist is / does / would like to do to...

a) Establishments not erected by Marxists
b) Christianity
c) Non Marxists who don’t keep their big mouths shut

7 October 2013 at 18:05  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Johnny R.,

I think that you have an excellent point. The most dangerous ones are the closet ones, camouflaged as something else, and of course their unwitting recruits, the "useful idiots" , a species of politician in which we are now knee high in the LibLabCon senior echelons.

Finally may I be so bold as to ask whether Johnny R. is a male or a female of the human species?

7 October 2013 at 18:38  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

A mere male who often doesn’t feel very human first thing in the morning.

7 October 2013 at 18:50  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Johnny R.,

Thank you, and forgive my overdeveloped curiosity.

7 October 2013 at 20:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David Hussell, overdeveloped curiosity

A schoolboy’s interest in bosoms, so one recalls... !

7 October 2013 at 20:34  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7 October 2013 at 20:38  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ David Hussell—My avatar does have a feminine look but it’s the David by Donatello.

7 October 2013 at 20:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Johnny R. Thought it might be the wife...

7 October 2013 at 20:54  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Not nearly so pretty. (The wife, I mean.)

7 October 2013 at 21:09  
Blogger Union Jack said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7 October 2013 at 21:49  
Blogger Union Jack said...


A song to lift the hearts of the patriotic British folk:

'The British flag is proudly floating on the land and on the main,
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Beneath it oft we've conquered, and we'll conquer oft again!
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!

Our Britain forever! She's never at a loss!
Down with the crescent and up with the cross
We'll rally 'round the bonny flag, we'll rally once again,
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!

Our gallant boys have marched to the rolling of the drums.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
And the leaders in charge cry out, "Come, lads, come!"
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!


Britons have laid down their lives on the bloody battle field.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Their motto is resistance – "To the Jihadist Terror never yield!"
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!


While our lads have responded and to the fields have gone.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!
Our noble women also have aided them at home.
Shout, shout the battle cry of Freedom!'

7 October 2013 at 21:53  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Union Jack—Thanks very much. The line ‘Down with the crescent and up with the cross’ brought to mind my all-time favourite hymn:

The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended,
The darkness falls at Thy behest;
To Thee our morning hymns ascended,
Thy praise shall sanctify our rest.

We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.

As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.

The sun that bids us rest is waking
Our brethren ’neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high.

So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away:
Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.

7 October 2013 at 22:54  
Blogger plishman said...

A new disease for the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - DSM 6:

Willful Naivete Disorder:
A disorder characterised by feigned taking of offence, often on behalf of others who are unaware, in order to a) attract attention b) obtain power over others, often for political purposes. (See also: Passive Aggressive disorder).

The patient is usually convinced that he does this for positive reasons, though widespread incidence of the disease is correlated with public disorder and chaos, which the patient is usually unaware of, or attributes to other (non-causal) factors.

7 October 2013 at 23:45  
Blogger Ivan said...

Brian, I suggest that the DM was short-circuiting the convolutions and meanderings, that the thread of the argument would take. The probability that Marxists would use all manner of distractions, to derail the substance of such arguments approaches 100% within a few days. One might as well forgo the intermediate steps.

7 October 2013 at 23:49  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Brother Ivo is outdoing himself lately. A better coffee? A new breakfast cereal? Skipping and hopping from soccer to Bundists, WW I trenches, de Gaul...and then he wraps it all up nice and

And under the "why the Hell didn't I think of writing this myself" category is Johnny Rottenborough's:

Far more dangerous are the Marxists who join the three main parties and wreck Britain from within while posing as patriots. They identify sources of stability—Christianity, marriage, the traditional family, education—and undermine them. They strip the people of their identity and sense of nationhood through immigration and multiculturalism. They encourage minorities to see themselves as victims to turn the country against itself. The nation state, the people’s best hope of remaining free, becomes a province of the European Union. The Armed Forces are cut and weakened.

Damn, that is so dead-on.

8 October 2013 at 03:25  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Johnny R.,

Thanks for reminding me of that great "eventide" hymn. My first exposure to "adult" level Christian services was at traditional Evensong in our little village church, in South Wales, where I lived until 18. In those days it was not liberal. My favourite service is still traditional Evensong, as the liturgy is just so beautiful, and full of meaning. I often just read it to myself at home, as a private devotion.

8 October 2013 at 08:42  
Blogger IanCad said...

Where is the time to read and digest such an excellent post as Brother Ivo's?

Well, there aren't very many comments which makes things easy.

Like Avi, I see that JR has the heart of the matter.

One quibble though.
Marxism does not preclude patriotism.
When country is at stake most of them will answer the call.

"Breathes there a man with soul so dead-----" Well, you know the rest.

8 October 2013 at 08:50  
Blogger David Hussell said...


Willful Naivete Disorder.

Very amusing but also accurate and apt.

In the vernacular it's referred to as, "Thin Skin Touchiness".

On a similar but broader approach, a nation that prioritizes fawning, tip-toeing around every conceivable deliberately induced sensitivity, but never attitudes linked with self reliance and independence, practical actions to help ones family and community coupled with genuine charity to others, is bound to stagnate and regress.

8 October 2013 at 08:55  
Blogger David B said...

I'm not disposed to defend either any of the Millibands or the Daily Mail.

I will, however, take a little issue with "And there is an Established Church, which offends your atheism."

The CoE should offend an atheist no more than any other religion or sect per se, and indeed, since in recent centuries it has become less malign than many other Christian sects, which are in turn generally less malign than the worst sects and interpretations of Islam, the CoE is not particularly offensive as religions go.

Further, as His Grace is given to saying, people have to accept that some things might offend them, just as the more sensible line on evolution taken by the bulk of the CoE might offend more literal and less in touch with reality members of religious sects.

So no, it is not as an atheist that Milliband, or anyone else, should take offense at the Established Church in a part of the United Kingdom.

It is as a secularist that an established church is offensive. Again, people should not demand immunity from offense, but it does seem to me that the established church is an anachronism, and further, one that does a lot of harm with its remaining political power, particularly in the field ensuring that those whose lives are nearly over and seek an end to suffering must be forced to suffer.

The bishops in the Lords should go- they are out of touch with the views of modern Britain, but still do incalculable harm.


8 October 2013 at 09:35  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Avi Barzel (03:25)—The Marxists must be very satisfied at the progress they have made. With the help of a sympathetic state broadcaster, a sympathetic journalists’ union and an electorate that ranges from the apathetic to the gullible, they’ve transformed in just a couple of generations a nation that had been maturing for a thousand years.

@ David Hussell (08:42)—I love Choral Evensong, except when the responses are sung by a woman.

@ IanCad (08:50)—I suppose Marxism has in mind an international patriotism, which is why the EU project is so important to them.

8 October 2013 at 12:41  
Blogger Mr. Morden said...

"The man that hated Britain."

But did he hate Britain ?

Forgive me YG but I must take issue with this. I do not believe he said, 'Britain' when want us to lose the war. I believe he said, the 'English', which is not quite the same. The fact thet the DM chose 'British' rather than 'English' I think is more illuminating than the story itself, and not upon on R. Miliband.

And there lies the paradox of the establishment and the MSM. They talk of British and patriotism, but fail to recognise England. How odd. Maybe they love Britain, but like R. Miliband, they too cannot be said to have any love for 'England' or the 'English'. What say you dear reader ?

As for the question of hate raised in the piece. Hate like love and envy, are base emotions that must have a focus point (people, places, events etc) in order to give them form. Clearly there were elements amongst the English that gave Ralph cause to dislike, or even hate us, and powerful enough for him to give it form in the words he chose.

The fact that he also wanted us to lose the Falklands to an evil Military Junta, who butchered people who held views much like his own, truly astonishes me. It suggests that his feelings did not alter much and therefore ran deep.

As to the question of what is 'Britain', well that's an easy one. Britain is a Geo-political construct of both the Kingdoms' of England and Scotland. I am happy for others to argue the finer points if they wish, but that's my take on it. Ralph Miliband, despite the DM referring to the British, was actually taking about the English as already stated. Well, what makes the English, or that matter a Belgian or a German ? It is language, law, music, shared history and blood ties and many other things as well. In short, it is tribalism and a common identity. Ralph was not part of the English Tribe, he was apart, an outsider. He was also a Marxist and an internationalist. He had no real allegiance to any nation or its inhabitants (tribe). The closet thing he had was his belief in Marxism. That was his tribe and he surrounded himself with like minded fellows. Something we all tend to do.

I argue that Ed Miliband brought his father into political discourse because he thought it might curry favour with those in the more militant side of the Socialist movement. He cannot therefore complain if someone, even if it were his father, who had a great deal of influence on his political beliefs comes under scrutiny from the press.

Ed Miliband should be judge both by his words and his deeds. So far, the deeds seem to be more revealing then anything the DM could offer.

8 October 2013 at 13:08  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Mr Morden
Ralph Miliband was a great critic of the Labour Party. His criticism were right.Under new Labour it abandoned a lot of its traditional supporters.
Britain was going to give up the Falkland Islands as it gave up nearly all of the rest of its Empire
Did Ralph Miliband hate the English? Well the English are full of hatred-class hate.They hate each other.

9 October 2013 at 06:09  
Blogger Mr. Morden said...


Thank you for replying to my post.

I think there are critics in all political parties and movements.

Labour did not so much abandon its traditional supporters', IT SHAFTED THEM !

There is no evidence that we were going to give up the Falklands. The Argentine claim is long standing and continuous. The Foreign Office just got tired of trying to defend them and saw them as a relic, not knowing or caring for the inhabitants. They had no skin in the game so chose what they thought was an easy option. Had it been their own, I think they would have been more robust in their defence.

All countries have some form of class-system, we are nothing special in that regard.

Did he hate us ? Well its a bit late to ask him now, is it ? But if you reread my post on hate and that it needs a focus point in order to take form, then one could argue he may have. But not enough for him to want to live somewhere else though. I guess he picked and chose that which he hated and the which he loved. And I can only summaries by saying, that what he loved most, was the fact that as a foreigner with extreme views, he was widely tolerated and respected amongst his fellows. And he knew that no matter what, no one was going to come round in the dead of the night to knock on his door.

9 October 2013 at 09:09  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Manfarang. You couldn’t be more wrong. Class divisiveness between the English has vanished. Not altogether sure why this is, but one feels immigrant saturation levels has a lot to do with it. We are so used to seeing different peoples on television and the street with their alien ways of life in this country that when we see an Englishman living in a castle, it’s more of curiosity and little in the way of derision. With our cities turning into multicultural unpleasantries, there may be an unconscious realisation throughout that the English area of our fair land is shrinking, and what’s left of them need to stick together...

9 October 2013 at 18:52  

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