What stops Ed Miliband and the Daily Mail being friends

Nov 7, 2011
The Mole

Editor Paul Dacre's feelings about spin doctor prevent two-pronged attack on 'traitor' Cameron

ED MILIBAND is being given the cold shoulder by Paul Dacre, editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail, just when a warm relationship – even if only temporary - could do the Labour leader and the paper a lot of good.

Gordon Brown was close to Dacre, despite their political differences, but Miliband can't get to see the man. According to The Mole's source at the Mail, "Miliband has been putting out feelers ever since his election as leader, but Dacre won't play ball".

Insiders say the problem is Tom Baldwin, Miliband's communications director.

Dacre apparently still takes a dim view of Baldy who, when he was a political correspondent at The Times, was responsible for naming Dr David Kelly as the source for the BBC story on the alleged 'sexing up' of the Iraqi dossier. Kelly subsequently committed suicide.

Dacre has told the Leveson Inquiry into the power of the press that the way Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's director of communications, "assaulted" the BBC in the Kelly case is an example of how governments can bully the media.

When Baldwin was appointed Miliband's spin doctor in December last year, the Mail described him as Campbell Mark Two. The paper's profile was headlined 'Meet the champagne (and coke snorting) socialist who is Labour's new Alastair Campbell' and went on to say that, "like Campbell, Baldwin has a ferocious, emotional hatred of Tories".

When official figures were released in June showing how many times Miliband and David Cameron, the Prime Minister, had met newspaper editors, the media focused on the fact that Cameron had had several meetings with Murdoch editors involved in the phone hacking scandal. What they missed was that while the PM had also met Dacre twice, the number of meetings between Ed Miliband and Dacre was nil.

While Dacre is never going to advise his readers to vote for Miliband's Labour party, the two men should be allies on the issue of Europe. Labour opposes an IMF bail-out for the euro and, with Tory rebels, could defeat the Government if there is a Commons vote on increasing payments to the IMF. Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem coalition Treasury minister, admitted yesterday to Jeremy Vine, sitting in for Andrew Marr, that Britain's commitment to the IMF could rise from £29.4 bn to £40bn.

The Daily Mail regards Cameron as a traitor on Europe, especially for poo-pooing the growing demands for a referendum on Britain's continued EU membership. Earlier this autumn, Dacre even hired Tory fogey Simon Heffer, who can't stand Cameron and his modernising chums, to run the Mail's RightMinds online commentary pages, described by Roy Greenslade in The Guardian last month as "a reactionary repository of commentators who rage against modern Britain and those who have conspired to construct it".

Iain Duncan Smith and his former political secretary Owen Paterson are reported to be seeing Cameron today to demand a tougher line on Europe by their leader. It's just the time when Miliband and Dacre should be double-teaming on that IMF loan. Perhaps if Ed agreed to leave Baldwin behind, he might get an invitation to the Daily Mail's Kensington headquarters?

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