We all have skeletons in our families. Mine is my uncle, who was one for the ladies and was always in trouble. During the Second World War, he actually had a bigamous marriage, from which there were children.
My father’s political leanings were very much Tory, but to the left of the party. He would probably have views like Kenneth Clarke today. But my father was a passionate anti-fascist, probably because of his partly Jewish ancestry. He was also one of the most non-racist men I have met of his generation. I can’t remember too well, but I don’t think he liked dictators and as he had names for them all in his Cockney poetry.
A couple of weeks ago, I met a man of my age, who said that his father was a died in the wool communist, who never condemned Stalin till the day he died. He joked about it, but I suspect that was because he was rather embarrassed by his father supporting Stalin. Alexei Sayle joked about his parents hard-line communism on The One Show last night.
I would suspect that the Milliband brothers, are in some ways embarrassed by some of the views of their father. Most of us have a similar view about our own father, although, I don’t think I ever heard mine, pontificate on anything controversial in a way, that we would find politically incorrect. Some of my mother’s views were not so acceptable?
All politicians live in glass houses, with everything they do, don’t do or have done under the greatest scrutiny. And all of their ancestors come under close scrutiny.
Just as the political views of Denis Thatcher, Alfred Roberts, Tony Booth and other related to previous Prime Ministers, have been important to the Press and the scandal-loving British public, Ralph Milliband‘s political views would come under scrutiny from a paper like the Mail, the Express or the Sun. Especially, as some on the left have hard left views very unacceptable to those in the Labour Party, who want to bring it into the twenty-first century.
So in my view the Milliband brothers should have clean about the more unacceptable views of their father years ago, and perhaps joked about it in a more sympathetic medium, as Alexei Sayle and others have done. I don’t have this problem with my father, but anyway, I’m not a politician and my father wasn’t either, so it’s not important.
Now that the Daily Mail has attacked Ed Milliband for his father’s views, the story is out in the open. The Mail’s behaviour since has been unacceptable, but Ed Milliband’s keeping it going is in many ways making it worse. I haven’t seen any comments from his brother. But then David’s in the United States, where communist connections bring a different reaction.
After all, everybody in the country now knows the full story of Ralph Milliband and it will play a large part in the next General Election. Those to the right will play the Reds under the bed card and those on the hard left will play their Class War one.
In my view though, Ed Milliband has shown a lack of judgement in how he handled his father’s views. Compare it with the way Tony Blair handled those of his father.
Today there is this report on the BBC entitled Ed Miliband urges Daily Mail owner to examine ‘culture’.
It’s not the culture of the Press that needs examining, it’s the culture of the country, where most people seem to value celebrity tittle-tattle well above real issues. Just look at the sales of celebrity magazines!
Ed Milliband is now on BBC Breakfast going on about it again.
Does he not know, when it is time to stop fanning the flames of an out-of-control fire?
according to The Times
has recently been voted the most beautiful word in the German language. According to this article in Wikipedia, it can be described as the struggle to come to terms with the past.
I read about this word in The Times, where Ben Macintyre is describing how the Germans will be publishing a new copy of Mein Kampf soon. It will be copiously annotated with footnotes to show where Adolf Hitler was just plain wrong.
Macintyre says that Germany has shown a way of defusing long standing problems, by letting historians tell the truth and suggests the approach could solve some of the major problems in the world, like the true nature of Stalin, the Falklands, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Senkaku Islands.
After all, when I learned Shakespeare at school, there were masses of footnotes and other annotations, which helped you understand the text and the age he lived in.
My father hated P.G. Wodehouse with a vengeance because of his broadcasts for the Nazis in the Second World War. We didn’t have any of his books in the house.
More has just been released from MI5 files as reported here in the Guardian.
I would follow my father and have nothing to do with any of Wodehouse’s books and can’t even say now, I’d go out of my way to watch a film, play or TV series of any of his books.
Remember my father was very involved with anti-Fascism protests before the war and active on the left wing of the Conservative party. He was also present at the Battle of Cable Street, when the East End stopped Mosley from marching.
My father could also do a mean impersonation of Lord Haw-Haw. But then I’ve never met anybody who didn’t feel that he wasn’t one of the funniest things of the war.
I’m half watching a play about Hitler. But I’m finding it a bit difficult to follow, probably because of the hay fever’s effect on my hearing.
It is set in or about 1930 and I am reminded of another tale. It is in Lord Howard de Walden’s obituary in The Guardian.
He inherited 120 acres of London’s west end and bred and owned the 1985 Derby winner, Slip Anchor. But the story he loved to dine out on was when, as a young Cambridge student fresh out of Eton, he was driving a new car in Munich when a man walked out in front of him and was knocked down. “He was only shaken up,” recalled de Walden. “But had I killed him, it would have changed the history of the world.” The man was Adolf Hitler.
I never actually met him, but I knew a few people who worked for him, who never said any word about him that wasn’t complimentary. My last vision of him was shortly before he died, sitting in state in a wheel-chair at Newmarket races, immaculately turned out ciomplete with apricot coloured socks; his racing colours as suggested by Augustus John.
Last night, I went to Wilton’s Music Hall in the East End of London. It is just round the corner from Cable Street, where in 1936, Mosley’s black shirts wanted to march and this resulted in the Battle of Cable Street. My father was there, although many would think that someone who always voted Tory wouldn’t have been. But he did have a lot of Jewish heritage and he had a very low opinion of fascists. Various groups always claimed they stopped Oswald Mosley and his odious followers, but my father always said that anybody who thought about it, was against Mosley.
The show was organised by The Times, and was essentially a comedy night with four comedy acts and a compere; Jarred Christmas. The acts were Colin Hoult, Imran Yusuf, Frisky and Mannish and one other, who I think might have been a late addition.
But it was three hours of good fun and all for a tenner.
The building is virtually a construction site, as they are struggling to get London’s last music hall on a secure footing, both financially and structurally. But the building had the right atmosphere and acoustics to make it a good venue.
The four comedians were good, but not as in your face as s0me. Colin Hoult relied a lot on word play, developing a new superhero called Grammar Man, who policed such evil powers as split infinitives, whilst Imran Yusuf showed how you don’t have to be Jewish to mock your religion constructively. Jarred Christmas was an amiable host, who did a good job to link it all together.
The show was round up, by Frisky and Mannish, who are best described as a comedy musical double act, with Frisky doing most of the singing to Mannish’s keyboard. There are some videos on their web site, which give a good flavour.
She introduced herself by saying that as it was a music hall, she was wearing a corset. And she was wearing it well over a split skirt and a halter top. Her shoes, hair and the corset laces were almost a matching red/orange colour. The corset wasn’t to a Victorian tightness, but it wasn’t loose either. She sang well too!
They are going to the Edinburgh Fringe and will certainly be worth catching.
The Times are putting on further comedy nights at Wilton’s. If they’re only a tenner a time, it won’t be the last time I go.
It is being reported that the European Court has ruled against Max Mosley.
My late father would be pleased to have seen this judgment.
He always claimed, that he got Max’s odious father with a tomato in the 1930s. It may even have been at the Battle of Cable Street. My father was there as a Londoner of Jewish ancestry, so he hated Oswald Mosley with a passion. Interestingly, my father was very much on the left of the Tory party, and he was not the only person with that political persuasion, who was there to stop Oswald Mosley and his blackshirts marching.
Remember that Hitler was also anti-homosexual and not just anti-Jewish, so in some ways his comments are even more ignorant than they appear in the first place.
But knowing the fashion industry, he’ll be back, as money talks louder than morals.
I for one, hope he doeasn’t make a comeback. Or at least until he’s seen the multiple errors of his ways.
The International Brigade who fought against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War contained about 32,000 from 53 nations.
As I walked along the river to Craven Cottage, I came across this memorial to those from Hammersmith and Fulham who died in the brigade.
Considering that a few thousand people from the United Kingdom were in the brigade, it is surprising I’d not seen a memorial before.
So there are to be elections in Burma, but they are pointless without the participation of the bravest woman in the world; Aung San Suu Kyi.
That was the said in Private Eye as they detailed how the senior figures in the odious British National Party might be bankrupted by Unilever for breaching Unilever’s copyright on a Marmite advert.
They finish the article by saying that they could be the first neo-Nazi party destroyed by the makers of a yeast extract sandwich spread.
C used to love her Marmite, but I don’t!