Matt’s View: Daily Mail has the right to offend Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband - Credit: Archant

The row between the Daily Mail and Ed Miliband is starting to remind me of a glacier.

Like a glacier, you know that, in theory, its going somewhere, but when you look at it there doesn’t seem to be any visible sign of progress.

For the uninitiated, the Mail incensed Labour leader Miliband a few weeks back which a piece that declared that his late father, Ralph, was “The man who hated Britain”. Miliband senior was a Marxist philosopher, but also fought in the British army in the Second World War, so clearly the headline was misleading at best. The Mail then compounded their “crime” by crashing a private memorial service for Miliband’s uncle to ask relatives for their thoughts.

This has been going back and forth for a couple of weeks now: Miliband doesn’t seem to want to let it drop, and the Mail aren’t showing any signs of issuing the full apology he is demanding.

I should say right now that I don’t like the Daily Mail or anything it stands for. It seems to hate everything and everyone, and operates from a position of such high hypocrisy that viewing its website is sometimes like taking a trip to one of those parody news sites.

Chasing a story at a memorial service is also a particularly low act, and the paper has suspended the two reporters involved, though as far as I know there hasn’t been any comeback for whoever it was who ordered them to go there in the first place.

But we have a free press in this country, and one of the aspects of that is that the newspapers have the right to offend. Our industry isn’t very popular at the moment, but that shouldn’t be used as an excuse by those who would like to see the papers put under stricter controls.

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I would much rather the Mail be allowed to write some offensive nonsense every now and again than see quality journalists silenced because they are operating without freedom.

Last week’s story about an ice rink possibly coming to Royston this Christmas was welcome news for the town.

Those behind Royston Means Business are really working hard to enhance the town centre, and an ice rink is a sure-fire way to get more people into Royston and taking advantage of the shops and other facilities. You only have to look at how popular the Cambridge ice rink is every Christmas to see that the demand is there.

I hope a sponsor can be found to cover the costs so that this great idea isn’t put on ice.