What would happen if you were judged by what you wrote when you were 17?

On Saturday, the Daily Mail chose to publish an article about him under the banner headline 'The Man Who Hated Britain'Geoffrey Levy has defended his article in the Daily Mail in which he accuses Ralph Miliband (father of Ed and David) of hating Britain by saying, “my piece was based entirely on his political views in his own words, from his early caustic diary entries about the British.”

Ignoring the fact that Levy offers no evidence to support his title that suggested Ralph Miliband hated Britain, one also has to judge the nature of this hatchet job journalism that relies primarily on a diary entry from a 17 year old Ralph.

Imagine that your 17 year old thoughts were recorded and then used against you? My 17 year old self is only 10 years behind me but already I have changed physically, politically, emotionally, spiritually and socially almost beyond recognition. I cannot even begin to imagine their irrelevance in 50 something years time.

One of the many differences between me and Ralph is that at the age of 17 I was still forming my political views. I felt passionate about issues but I lacked any context to my views. At the age of 17 Blair’s government invaded Iraq and my immediate opposition to the war was based on a crass gut instinct. My naivety led me to a response that I am proud of today in this instance but it also led me to some idiotic decisions.

To give an example, my parents and sister were both involved with local fox hunts and as such came home with Countryside Alliance materials. I read some of it and was taken in by the soft rhetoric of needing to stand up for the British countryside (something that I am still passionate about). Of course I now wouldn’t touch the Countryside Alliance with a barge poll, their inward looking blinkered conservative approach leaves then on the opposite side to me in almost every debate but I remember proudly (and my fiancé who I met at college won’t let me forget) wearing a Countryside Alliance badge to my sixth-form college.

The shame of it! But what can you deduce from this about me? I would hope very little other than teenagers sometimes make bad decisions!

My point here is simple – my 17 old politics were crass and I said and did some things I am proud of and some things I am not. I am sure the same could be said for most people.

To base an entire hatchet job of a man who, amongst other things, authored at least two books, battled the NAZIS in WW2, holds a PhD from LSE and has taught at Universities around the world, is journalism that is barely worth the paper it is written on.

For some real journalism and a sense of who Ed and David’s father was have a read of this obituary for Ralph Miliband.

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5 Comments

Filed under History, Politics

5 responses to “What would happen if you were judged by what you wrote when you were 17?

  1. Pingback: Daily Mail’s defence, we’re not as bad as George Galloway… | Hynd's Blog

  2. Like

  3. jen woodcock

    interesting….indeed, interesting.

    Like

  4. I would probably have referred to the Malvinas, not the Falklands, I was an ardent CND supporter and inclined to be starry eyed about the Soviet Union (17 is a lot longer ago for me) and I thought Ken Livingstone was wonderful. I also thought Peter Tatchell was wonderful – which is less worrying.

    Like

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