Daily Mail’s ‘Stalinist’ smear on Labour rides on nasty trend in public debate

Bombs, cockroaches, HIV, backstabbing - what country is this?


Yesterday, London Mayor Boris Johnson took to the pages of the Telegraph to say Labour’s plans for rent controls would ‘savage our cities faster than any bomb’. A few weeks earlier, defence secretary Michael Fallon wrote in the Times that Miliband was preparing to ‘stab the country in the back’ by working with the SNP.

Not to be outdone, the Daily Mail today came close to accusing Miliband of policies similar to those of Joseph Stalin.

The paper’s front page screams:


Red Ed’s threat to confiscate unused land branded ‘Stalinist’

as backlash grows over his plan to control the property prices

Mail April 28 Stalinist

The story begins:

“Ed Miliband lurched further to the Left yesterday with a land grab to extend state control over the property market.

The Labour leader’s ‘Stalinist’ plan to seize unused plots – as well as impose rent controls – shocked experts and investors. […]

The Institute of Directors describes the land grab as a ‘Stalinist attack on property rights’.”

I don’t see why any of them should be shocked. This policy has long been suggested by Labour, and was reported in the Daily Mail in June 2013over two years ago. 

The ‘Stalinist’ gag from the Institute of Directors is also at least a year-and-a-half old, printed a few months later in 2013 – also in the Mail. 

The Mail doesn’t republish the full quote from the IoD, so here it is:

“Graeme Leach, of the Institute of Directors, condemned the plans, comparing them to Joseph Stalin’s notorious seizure of land from prosperous Russians known as the Kulaks. 

‘Mr Miliband’s “use it or lose it” declaration is a Stalinist attack on property rights,’ he said.

‘The fundamental problem with the housing market is the public sector planning system, not private sector builders.

It’s hard to imagine a more statist solution to a problem caused by the state.'”

Thank heavens we have people like Mr Leach to protect us from dangerous ideologies.

So the Mail decided to dig up his non-ideological quote from 2013 and spread it across its front page today like butter on toast.

The paper’s readers, if they think about it, are unlikely to agree that capping rent for three years, or using compulsory purchase orders to build housing on disused land, are policies comparable to Stalin’s collectivization in Soviet Russia.

It’s also a bit surprising to see the Mail abusing language in this way, and insulting the victims of Stalinism, after its earnest treatment of the subject when justifying its attack on Ed Miliband’s father, Ralph.

The paper might still be a little gun-shy about this after the huge criticism it received. Its editorial column today reads as if a redraft removed the words ‘Communist/Soviet tyranny’:

“Confiscating private land has chilling echoes of a banana republic.”

But the story is the latest example of the growth of outlandish rhetoric in political debate, usually expressed in print or on television.

From the ‘bombs’ and ‘backstabbing’ remarks mentioned above, Katie Hopkins’s ‘gunboats and cockroaches’ piece for the Sun, or Nigel Farage’s HIV-infected African migrants, public discourse is being dragged into the mud.

Whether good taste prevails will continue to depend on how the reading public responds.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter


Read more: Miliband says no SNP deal and the Sun says ‘La-la-la can’t hear you’

No talk of immigration? What planet is the Daily Mail living on?

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23 Responses to “Daily Mail’s ‘Stalinist’ smear on Labour rides on nasty trend in public debate”

  1. JoeDM

    The Mail is an excellent newspaper. It provides its readers with the truth about then hypocriticaland incompetent Labour Party and their institutionally biased supporters in Radio and TV.

  2. 2catlady

    I’m confused again. why is is wrong for Ed to use deserted and unused land but ok for Dave to confiscate and sell on houses that belong to charities. Will Dave and Co go for other charity assets if they get in? RSPCA kennels at risk; the village hall up for grabs; and what the hell would he do with church halls that are used for food banks?

  3. Matthew Blott

    The press are pretty awful at the best of times but for the first time for a couple of generations there is a very real prospect of Britain having a genuinely leftwing Prime Minister. Media ownership is on the agenda and the reactionary owners are terrified. It is important for democracy they are finally cut down to size.

  4. Matthew Blott



    If you cut the Daily Mail into 6 inch squares you can wipe your arse with it. However rather than waste money on it just take their Metro and you can do it for free.


    I do miss old Harold. The extent the establishment went to was in their best tradition of getting rid of a decent man. But they never did it.

  7. littleoddsandpieces



    See how the poor now vastly outnumber all other voters, on my website:

    It is the working class who vote the least, women especially, yet it us who are losing the most in this





    …Mr Miliband’s “use it or lose it” declaration is a Stalinist attack on property rights,’ …

    Nope, not Stalin.

    This has been the law in Greece all my life and before. Had no effect on the property market whatsoever.


    …London Mayor Boris Johnson took to the pages of the Telegraph to say Labour’s plans for rent controls would ‘savage our cities faster than any bomb’.

    … So absentee owners or evictions of entire social hosuing estates leaving properties empty are not?

    No-one under £40,000 a year can rent in London.

    As anyone stuck in the traffic home on the motorway up from London can attest to, between 4 and 7pm each evening. People live far away from London, and live in hotels Monday to Thursday.

    London Councils are selling off entire social housing estates to private developers to build luxury flats and forcing the tenants losing jobs, by rehousing them far to the north of England, in towns and cities with far less chance of employment.

    An example of the social cleansing of London:

    …Low income tenants on one of central London’s best known estates have condemned “social cleaning” plans to demolish it and build luxury apartments on the site.

    Dozens of residents say they face eviction from the Sutton Estate in the heart of Chelsea when most of it is knocked down with the loss of at least 142 council flats.

    And the first entirely privatised Barnet Council …

    …Sweets Way estate in Barnet … The tenants were evicted on Tuesday night in order to make way for a housing redevelopment …Owner Annington Homes has cleared the tenants out in order to make way for 288 new homes, although it’s thought around 10 families remain on the estate.


    Sweets way … Annington … of the 288 new homes to built … only 59 are termed affordable. …Of these, 26 will be of the “intermediate” variety – shared ownership of some kind – and 33 for “affordable rent”, including four four-bedroom houses. At just over 20%, this is a small proportion of affordable even by current, low London standards and none are for traditional social rent.


    Squatters have occupied several of the homes, which have been boarded shut, and Brand has accused Annington Homes of putting “profit before people”….

    Who owns Annington – Sweets Way social housing estate?

    …Guy Hands, a tax exile and one of Britain’s top private equity investors, has emerged as the controlling party behind a property business that has evicted dozens of families, many of whom were previously homeless …Annington, one of the UK’s largest private owners of residential property, now poised to bulldoze 142 homes on Sweets Way estate in north London.

    …Terra Firma Capital Partners is wholly owned by a company in the Cayman Islands and Hands moved to the tax haven of Guernsey in what he said in 2010 was “a burdensome option” to protect his wealth. …

    …They were being used by a housing association to accommodate families on Barnet Council’s waiting list…Hands, 55, and his wife, Julia, are together estimated to be worth £250m, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

    …The Guernsey-based investor is close to William Hague, the former Conservative party leader who was best man at Hands’s wedding.


    So it is the Tories, Lib Dems, UKIP and Labour so far that have left London to be overwhelmed by foreign investors, who buy property and then leave it empty to become derelict, rat infested and gardens overgrown. This is called the ‘hollowing out’ of London.

    The Standard – London


    Here is the right wing The Spectator on the hollowing out of London – Andrew Marr – 14 December 2013

    Poor social cleansed, the middle class priced out of London, only wealthy and then they are absentee owners:
    …asked some purchasers what they intended to do with their new multi-million-pound apartment. They wanted their son to have his education in London. He would come and live in the flat and then they would sell it to pay the fees. Interesting, replied my man. And how old is your son? Nearly six months, they replied.


    Labour …preparing to ‘stab the country in the back’ by working with the SNP. …

    Sorry but the government already works with the SNP.

    Its called devolution. The SNP are not in an independent Scotland.

    So the next Tory caretaker government, a minority UK parliament, will be working with the SNP just as much.


    Could get nearly 100 MPs in this coming minority / hung caretaker parliament in May.


    Could get nearly 150 MPs in England if you vote different on Thursday 7 May.



    This means a group of anti austerity cuts MPs could be nearly equal in number to either Tory or Labour from May.


    Conservatives: 283 (39 short of majority)

    – Labour:
    278 (44 short of majority)

    – LD: 15

    – SNP: 48


  8. Leon Wolfeson

    Where? Certainly not with Miliband, since he’s right of Thatcher economically…

  9. Leon Wolfeson

    Ah, another blind praise post.
    I’m still waiting a post like “This Banana is great, the Tories praised it”.

  10. Gerschwin

    Yeah….thing is Daily Mail has around 150 million on-line readers a month… you lot have maybe fifty. So good luck with this one.

  11. Gerschwin


  12. Gerschwin

    Hear! Hear!

  13. Ian Young

    If the Mail and IoD began saying nice things about Ed Miliband I would be concerned.

  14. TN

    “there is a very real prospect of Britain having a genuinely leftwing Prime Minister”

    That isn’t something to celebrate. Anyone who works hard and pays their fair share of tax are going to get pilloried by a punitive left wing government who hate success. Pissing away money on vanity projects and welfare scroungers.

  15. Matthew Blott

    You prove my point as you obviously swallow the bullshit they pump out.

  16. Selohesra

    Even I would accept the Mail is a tad biased – but that is much less dangerous than the bias to Left of the BBC. The BBC have much greater influence & reach than all the newspapers put together

  17. Leon Wolfeson

    Ah yes, less “dangerous” (i.e. it’s on your side) than the government-toe-licking BBC, which you wave your arms and declare magically leftist.

  18. Leon Wolfeson

    And yet you come here to troll.

  19. Leon Wolfeson

    It nonsense, he’s to the right of Thatcher, economically.

    You talk about people other than you, as you engage in PC bigotry against the left, and whine there’s insufficient punishment of the eeevil poor, while you ignore the vanity projects of your Tories, like HS2 and the Boris Bridge.

    Rather than spending on the poor. Which Labour won’t do anyway.

  20. thruthseeker

    i woudnt want that mail daily shit anywear near my arse,
    The rise of fascism

    The “Hurrah for the Blackshirts” article by Lord Rothermere

    Lord Rothermere was a friend of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, and directed the Mail’s editorial stance towards them in the early 1930s.[32][33]
    Rothermere’s 1933 leader “Youth Triumphant” praised the new Nazi
    regime’s accomplishments, and was subsequently used as propaganda by
    In it, Rothermere predicted that “The minor misdeeds of individual
    Nazis would be submerged by the immense benefits the new regime is
    already bestowing upon Germany”.

  21. Gerschwin

    Given up with the whole ‘guest’ thing Leon? Well done. Worked out you still came up as Leon Wolfeson? Decided not to make quite such a large arse out of yourself. Small steps eh?

  22. Leon Wolfeson

    You still are posting as “Gershwin”, not Lord Blagger.

    So your pointless, arrant lecturing continues.

  23. sarntcrip


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