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Mail stands by Ralph Miliband hatchet job

Blackshirt-loving paper lays into socialist who fought the nazis

Tory mouthpiece the Daily Mail came under a barrage of criticism yesterday for its vitriolic propaganda campaign against Ed Miliband's socialist father Ralph.

The right-wing rag - famous for trumpeting Oswald Mosley's fascist blackshirts in the 1930s - defiantly defended its decision to label the dead professor's legacy of supporting the workers' cause as "evil."

The Mail dragged up a diary entry written by the 17-year-old Miliband in which he decried the Englishman as a "rabid nationalist," shortly before going on to fight for Britain against the nazi menace.

Ed Miliband hit back, pointing out that the "absurd" article was based on a diary entry written a year after his father had fled Belgium to escape the nazis.

In his response in the Mail the Labour leader wrote: "My Dad loved Britain, he served Britain, and he taught both David and me to do the same.

"Fierce debate about politics does not justify character assassination of my father, questioning the patriotism of a man who risked his life for our country in the second world war or publishing a picture of his gravestone with a tasteless pun about him being a 'grave socialist'."

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott pricked the Mail's hypocritical bubble by tweeting a picture of the paper's infamous 1934 "Hurrah for the Blackshirts" frontpage.

Mr Prescott commented: "Here's a Daily Mail leader praising fascists written by the great-grandfather of the paper's current owner."

Communist Party general secretary Rob Griffiths said the Mail had misrepresented Ralph Miliband's diary entry that "you sometimes want the English almost to lose (the war) to show them how things are."

Mr Griffiths said that Miliband senior "had escaped the most prolific, dangerous and warlike nationalism in nazi Germany" and was simply positing that if English nationalists could experience what he had as a Jew in Hitler's reich, they would have "changed their minds" about nationalism.

"That he was grateful to Britain for providing domicile was so obvious it was unquestioned - not even Ralph Miliband's political enemies would accuse of him of that.

"The Daily Mail's profile was a portrayal based on ignorance," Mr Griffiths told the Star.

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