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Why my father loved Britain

The British people here will surely have caught the controversy in the last week surrounding a Daily Mail article that took the position that the late father of Ed Miliband, a Jewish refugee who went on to serve in the Royal Navy, "hated Britain." This was based largely around one line in Ralph Miliband's journal, written at age 17.

What did he say at 17 to justify this?

'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.'


Which, first of all, is true, and second of all, was written by a 17 year old, and finally is true. It's not even written hatefully; it's a simple, factual thing to say.

Ed Miliband's rebuttal is quite beautiful and worth a read.

Like most refugees, the security of our country was really important to him. And like some refugees, he owed his life to it. So my Dad loved Britain, he served Britain, and he taught both David and me to do the same.

But whatever else is said about my Dad’s political views, Britain was a source of hope and comfort for him, not hatred. Having been born in Belgium he didn’t start from a belief in the inferiority of other countries, but he loved Britain for the security it offered his family and the gentle decency of our nation.

Illustration for article titled Why my father loved Britain

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