If Miliband’s Mail-bashing was really about sticking up for his dad, he would not have used jarring political lines about the “cost of living crisis” in his letter to Lord Rothermere yesterday. His interview with LabourList this morning betrays the real motivation for why Miliband and Alastair Campbell, who is at the centre of this, have gone after the Mail:
“What we’ve seen over the past five days is a symptom of that and it’s time he took a long hard look at the way his papers are run because I don’t believe that reflects the values of the British people.
“I want to know how these practices are allowed to happen. Not on the basis of being “one rogue reporter” or “one rogue editor”, but what is it about the culture and practice of the organisation that makes these kind of things acceptable?
If we’re going to have those massive debates about the cost of living, we need to have proper standards of decency in our press.”
This is about Leveson, the Royal Charter and state regulation of the press. Miliband believes it is for politicians to decide whether papers “reflect the values of the British people”. Read that as whether they reflect his values. He wants to know how papers are “allowed” to print opinion that he disagrees with, that he finds offensive. That last line, “we need to have proper standards of decency in our press”, is chilling. It shows an incredible mindset from Miliband that he feels it is a politician’s place to decide what constitutes “decency” in the media. As Fraser Nelson notes, next week the Privy Council meets to discuss newspapers’ attempt to prevent state regulation of the press. Hugh Grant and Hacked Off have already tried to hijack the story. Miliband’s timing is no coincidence…