Marx on Monday: Adolphe Miliband

I was visiting the grave of my great grandfather Karl in Highgate Cemetery last week when my quiet reverie was interrupted by the blubbing and wailing of a distraught mourner at a nearby grave. I walked over to try and comfort him.

“Are you alright …”I began, but was stunned into silence as I recognized the crying figure was none other than Prime Minister in waiting Ed Milliband.

“Not really Kevin,” he sniffed, “the Daily Mail have been rude about my father.”

“Have they?” I was shocked to hear that journalism had stooped so low. Being a socialist I hadn’t read the article myself – I wouldn’t use the Daily Mail to wrap chips in – but whatever they had written clearly upset Ed, who was now lying draped around his father’s headstone sobbing his socialist heart out.

Now I know that most people simply regard Ed as a politician bereft of human emotions – a man who, every year before the Labour Party conference, spends weeks writing and then learning off by heart an hour long speech which he delivers in his monotone, whiny, nasal twang. I know critics accuse him of sounding like a sub-standard undergraduate debater who is not fit to hold a candle to great orators like Michael Gove – but they can just shut up. Ed is doing the absolute best that he can with the meager oratorical skills that God gave him. Anyway, given the actual content of his speech I defy Cicero himself to make it sound interesting – and Ed’s speech always gets a resounding round of applause. I know cynics will say that he would only need to fart to get a resounding round of applause from the Labour faithful, and that the fart would contain less shit than Ed’s usual speech – but give the guy a break – how would you like it if the Daily Mail was rude about your father?

“What did they say Ed?” I asked him.

“They said that my dad hated Britain,” Ed wailed.

“Well,” I replied, “did he?”

“No” he spat back, “he arrived in this country as a Jewish refugee from Belgium in 1940 – one step ahead of the Nazis – Britain gave him sanctuary, free speech and a free education – he loved this country almost as much as he loved Belgium.”

“How did he escape from the Nazis?” I asked.

“He was in Brussels with his parents and his twelve year old sister when the Nazis invaded Belgium,” Ed explained, “they planned to escape to Paris by walking to the French border, but thought that the journey would be too strenuous for the women.”

“So how did the four of them manage to escape?”

“They didn’t,” said Ed, “my dad set off for France with his father, leaving his sister and mother behind.”

“And did they make it to Paris?”

“No,” Ed shook his head, “unencumbered by the women they changed their minds and walked to Ostend instead. They luckily managed to catch the last boat to England before the Nazis arrived.”

“And when your dad arrived in Britain,” I put it to Ed, “didn’t he say that he hated the English who were just a bunch of rabid nationalists?”

“He did find them disgustingly patriotic and nationalistic,” Ed replied, “all that nonsense about we will fight them on the beaches and England expects every man to do his duty.”

“So what became of your father’s twelve year old sister and his mother?”

“My father and grandfather had told them that they would send for them when they were settled in Paris,” Ed explained, “the women waited for six weeks then received a postcard from England saying that Ralph and his dad had changed their minds and gone to London instead where they had found a nice house in Chiswick.”

“So what happened to your grandmother and aunt,” I asked, “did Ralph and his dad manage to get them out to safety?”

“No,” Ed shook his head, “my grandmother and aunt were left to fend for themselves. They fled from the Nazis to a remote farm where they were hidden for five years by a French family until the end of the war.”

“And whilst your father’s sister and mother were hiding from the Nazis,” I played Devil’s advocate, “didn’t your father write in his diary that he wanted Britain to lose the war against Nazi Germany – to teach them a lesson?”

“He was young at the time,” Ed shrugged, “it was one of the follies of youth.”

“But when we were at war with Argentina in 1982, when your father was 58 years old, didn’t he want Britain to lose and Argentina’s Fascist junta to win?” I asked him.

“What are you trying to say?” Ed bristled, “you make it sound like my father Ralph was a Fascist.”

“Was Ralph his real name?” I asked.

“No it wasn’t,” Ed replied with some reluctance.

“So what was his real name?”

“Adolf,” Ed replied sulkily, “but he changed it to Ralph because he was a committed communist – committed to equality of opportunity and the destruction of the class system – just like I am – just like all Millibands are and always have been.”

“So tell me a bit about your background Ed,” I said, “and your working class credentials.”

“My grandmother was a hat saleswoman,” Ed replied, “she sold women’s hats door to door.”

“But wasn’t she socially embarrassed by her job,” I asked, “and didn’t she hide the fact from her posh friends that she worked for a living selling hats – pretending to them that she was a wealthy heiress?”

“And my mother,” Ed ignored the question, “was the daughter of a steelworker.”

“But wasn’t her dad David Kozak,”I raised an inquisitive eyebrow, “a billionaire Polish steel magnate?”

“Why are you bringing my mother and grandmother into this,” Ed complained, “I thought we were talking about my father, and whether he hated Britain?”

“So we were,” I conceded, “didn’t your father say he hated British institutions like Eton and Harrow, Oxford and Cambridge, the great Clubs, the Times, the Church, the Army, the respectable Sunday papers … the House of Lords … social hierarchies, and the Queen?”

“My father loved Britain but hated class privilege,” Ed spat back, “when he was serving in the Royal Navy he grew sick to his stomach from the miserable conditions on board ship that had to be endured by ordinary sailors compared to the luxurious quarters of the cosseted officers.”

“Did he suffer badly himself from the miserable conditions?” I asked.

“Of course not,” Ed frowned, “he was an officer – do you think my family are a bunch of plebs?”

“What did he do in the Navy,” I asked, “did he see much action?”

“He was in the thick of it,” Ed replied, “his job was to intercept Germans.”

“German what,” I asked, “destroyers, U-boats?”

“No,” Ed sighed, “radio communications.”

“And then after he left the navy didn’t he become a communist,” I sought clarification, “and dedicate himself to the destruction of parliament and democracy in Britain?”

“That doesn’t mean he hated Britain, the British and the British way of life,” Ed protested, “he just hated its institutions, its political system and the English people.”

“So what would you say was your father’s key political philosophy?”

“He wanted to destroy privilege,” Ed replied, “and that most vile British institution – it isn’t what you know but who you know.”

“So he hated the nepotism that was endemic in Britain?”

“More than anything in the world,” Ed confirmed, “when I went into politics my father told me to avoid nepotism if I claimed to be a socialist. He said that just as a bayonet was a weapon with a worker at each end, nepotism was a corrupt system of employment with a worker at neither end.”

“And how did you first get into politics?” I quizzed him.

“My father sorted it out for me,” Ed replied, “his best friend, Tony Benn, was around at our £3 million townhouse in Primrose Hill for supper, and Dad took the opportunity to ask Uncle Tony if he was prepared to give me a job as a researcher.”

“But isn’t that nepotism?” I asked.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Ed scoffed, “that wasn’t nepotism – Uncle Tony was just helping out an old friend’s son.”

“So have the Daily Mail apologized for their disgraceful article?” I quickly changed the subject.

“No,” Ed shook his head, “they insist that the report is true and that my father hated Britain – even though he served in the British armed forces during the war and then became a university professor – just because he was a communist!”

“It was exactly the same with communist spy Anthony Blunt,” I said, “he was accused by the Daily Mail of hating Britain for being a communist traitor and selling our state secrets to the Russians, and just like with your dad they ignored the fact that he served in Britain’s armed forces during the war and then became a university professor.”

“Exactly,” Ed replied, “but at least they were rude about Blunt whilst he was still alive – my dad is not around to defend himself.”

“Do you think it’s wrong to speak ill of the dead?” I asked the Prime Minister in waiting.

“It’s worse than wrong,” Ed spat back, “it’s disgusting!”

“But what about that photograph of you standing with your arm around a Labour party councilor Ken Morrison, who was wearing a t-shirt which said let’s dance on Thatcher’s grave?”

“That’s different,” Ed replied, “Thatcher destroyed the unions and stopped free school milk. She deserves everything she gets.”

“Even though she’s dead and can’t defend herself?” I sought clarification.

“Yes,” Ed confirmed, “because unlike my father and Anthony Blunt she didn’t serve in the armed forces, never became a university professor and didn’t dedicate her life to improving the lives of the working classes through a commitment to communism.”

18 comments on “Marx on Monday: Adolphe Miliband

  1. silverminer
    October 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Classic 😀

  2. steve
    October 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    Brilliant! Hilarious, fantastic! Seriously funny.

  3. grumpydenier
    October 7, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    Reblogged this on grumpydenier and commented:
    This is best enjoyed with a chilled glass of a crisp French white wine, some great crisps and a garlicky dip. Allow the flavours of all these wonderful items to blend together along with the beauty of this piece of on-line journalism to achieve the end of a near-perfect day.

  4. grumpydenier
    October 7, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    Re-blogged this on and added the comment.

    This is best enjoyed with a chilled glass of a crisp French white wine, some great crisps and a garlicky dip. Allow the flavours of all these wonderful items to blend together along with the beauty of this piece of on-line journalism to achieve the end of a near-perfect day.

  5. Henry Brubaker (@Inst_4_Studies)
    October 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Funny because its true.

  6. Brian Otridge
    October 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    Utterly, utterly brilliant. The best roll of bogpaper yet.

  7. Tory Webb
    October 7, 2013 at 10:32 pm #


  8. Homunculus (@HomunculusLoikm)
    October 8, 2013 at 3:36 am #

    Kevin old horse: once again you’ve tickled my funny bone, and this time not even at the expense of hapless @AlGore. You’re a fine writer. Whoever is the chap you pilloried today, he must be proud you made he and his family such sympathetic politicos née #Marxists (no offense intended.) He’ll like become PM and the fault will forever lie with you. But that’s the writer’s first priority; to be read, not agreed with. Boogie on Reggae #Bogpaper.

  9. Daedalus X. Parrot
    October 8, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    I seriously think the Daily Mail ought to publish this. Brilliant and funny, but in a chilling way when you condsider that is probably exactly how the Miliband ban

  10. Sir Trev Skint MP (@SirTrevSkint)
    October 8, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    Very well written. It’s a pity no one at the BBC thought to have that conversation with Ed.

  11. Anthem
    October 8, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    Superb piece. Well done! 🙂

  12. andyL
    October 8, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    “I believe that I’m entitled to regard my pre-political life as off-limits in terms of what can be looked at and judged”.
    George Osborne

    ‘If you don’t have a left-wing period when you go to university, you should be shot’
    Paul Dacre (in reponse to his support of illegal drugs)

  13. Span Ows
    October 9, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    Excellent! Worth pointing out too that back then, serving in the armed forces wasn’t an act of altruistic valor, it wasn’t voluntary.

  14. Great Granddad
    October 9, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Well done. I’ve never been here before but I shall certainly be back.

  15. Aaron D Highside.
    October 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Bogpaper just shot up my list of favourites. Brilliant!

  16. Duncan Philps-Tate (@JoeJimBillyBob)
    October 14, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    And you won’t see that on the bBC


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