Ed Miliband opens fire on the Daily Mail

The Labour leader expresses his anger at the paper's "denigration" of his father's life and work.

In 2011, Ed Miliband "declared war" on Rupert Murdoch, in a savvy political move that still gets cited more than two years on when an example of his political gumption is required.

Now, it seems he's taking on another branch of the media establishment - the Daily Mail.

On Saturday, Paul Dacre's paper ran a piece by Geoffrey Levy about Ed's father Ralph under the headline "the man who hated Britain". Ralph Miliband, an influential sociologist who fled Belgium to avoid Nazi persecution, is described in the piece in the following terms:

As for the country that gave him and his family protection, the 17-year-old wrote in his diary: 'The Englishman is a rabid nationalist. They are perhaps the most nationalist people in the world . . . you sometimes want them almost to lose (the war) to show them how things are. They have the greatest contempt for the Continent . . . To lose their empire would be the worst possible humiliation.'

This adolescent distaste for the British character certainly didn't stop him availing himself of the fine education that was on offer in this country, or spending the rest of his life here.

Ed Miliband expressed his anger and disgust at this "denigration" of his father's name on Twitter:

Watch this space . . .

The Mail will run a response from Miliband tomorrow. Photo: Getty

I'm a mole, innit.

Photo: Getty
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The big problem for the NHS? Local government cuts

Even a U-Turn on planned cuts to the service itself will still leave the NHS under heavy pressure. 

38Degrees has uncovered a series of grisly plans for the NHS over the coming years. Among the highlights: severe cuts to frontline services at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, including but limited to the closure of its Accident and Emergency department. Elsewhere, one of three hospitals in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are to be shuttered, while there will be cuts to acute services in Suffolk and North East Essex.

These cuts come despite an additional £8bn annual cash injection into the NHS, characterised as the bare minimum needed by Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England.

The cuts are outlined in draft sustainability and transformation plans (STP) that will be approved in October before kicking off a period of wider consultation.

The problem for the NHS is twofold: although its funding remains ringfenced, healthcare inflation means that in reality, the health service requires above-inflation increases to stand still. But the second, bigger problem aren’t cuts to the NHS but to the rest of government spending, particularly local government cuts.

That has seen more pressure on hospital beds as outpatients who require further non-emergency care have nowhere to go, increasing lifestyle problems as cash-strapped councils either close or increase prices at subsidised local authority gyms, build on green space to make the best out of Britain’s booming property market, and cut other corners to manage the growing backlog of devolved cuts.

All of which means even a bigger supply of cash for the NHS than the £8bn promised at the last election – even the bonanza pledged by Vote Leave in the referendum, in fact – will still find itself disappearing down the cracks left by cuts elsewhere. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.