Age: 62 Years, 62 Year Old Males
Born Country: England
Born in: Dover, Kent, England
Famous as: Journalist
Spouse/Ex-: Cristina Montanari
father: Alasdair Milne
mother: Sheila Kirsten
siblings: Kirsty Milne
Notable Alumni: University Of Oxford
education: University of Oxford, Birkbeck, University of London, Balliol College, Winchester College
Seumas Milne is a British journalist and former political aide of Jeremy Corbyn. He is known as much for his extreme left ideologies as for his anti-Israeli views. Born with a silver spoon, he developed a love for the communist philosophy early in his life, praising it in a manifesto while studying at the elite Winchester College. Later he studied PPE at Balliol College, Oxford and Economics at Birkbeck College, London University. He began his career as the business manager of 'Straight Left', a monthly publication produced by a pro-Soviet faction in the Communist Party of Great Britain. Later he joined ‘The Economist’ magazine and finally ‘The Guardian’. He was in The Guardian for more than three decades, eventually becoming an assistant editor, a fulltime writer and a columnist. In 2015, he became the Labour Party's Executive Director of Strategy and Communications. He quickly rose up the ladder to become a close aid of the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. His term came to an end when the latter lost in the leadership election in April 2020.
Childhood & Early Life
Seumas Milne was born in 1958 in Dover, Kent, England. The exact date of his birth is not known. His father, Alasdair David Gordon Milne, was a television producer and executive; he had a long career at the BBC and served as its Director-General from 1982 to 1987.
His mother was Sheila Kirsten, nee Graucob. Born in the middle of his parents’ three children, he has an elder brother named Ruairidh Milne, who later became a public health physician. His younger sister Kirsty, a journalist and an academic, died of lung cancer in 2013.
Milne had his schooling at Winchester College, an elite boarding school located in Hampshire. There in 1974, he stood for a mock election, penning a manifesto, in which he praised Chairman Mao Tse-tung of China and wrote that "communism has frightening connotations to most people in Britain mainly due to ignorance."
In the same manifesto, he also proposed to set up a Marxist Government in Britain that would be compatible to British democratic tradition. He also proposed that “factories and farms will be run by committee of workers, elected by workers (as in China, where this has proved to work well)”.
After graduating from school, he entered Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics. During this period, he championed the Palestinian cause, going to the extent of calling himself ‘Shams’—an Arabic word meaning sun—and began to speak with Palestinian accent.
In 1977, during a university vacation, he visited Lebanon, Syria and West Bank. In Lebanon, he met members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), who were waging a war against Israel. On his return, he cofounded Oxford Palestine Campaign and started championing the Palestine cause.
In September 1978, when Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty at the behest of USA, he issued a condemnation, describing it as a ‘sordid little deal’, made to safeguard the West’s supply of oil. He added that the world must now expect Palestine “to escalate their armed resistance”.
After graduating from Oxford University, he began his career as the business manager of the newly launched pro-Soviet monthly publication ‘Straight Left’, a publication that began in 1979.
Also in 1979, when Soviet invaded Afghanistan, he backed the event. His argument was that the invasion was actually a ‘progressive’ deed that liberated Afghan women and improved human rights in the region.
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In 1981, Seumas Milne began his journalistic career at ‘The Economist’, the well-known international weekly newspaper, remaining with the organization till 1984. However, he was not very happy with his job, later describing the magazine as "the Pravda of the neoliberal ascendancy".
In 1984, he joined ‘The Guardian’ as a news reporter on the recommendation of Andrew Knight, Editor of The Economist. In 1989, he published his first book, 'Beyond the Casino Economy: Planning for the 1990s’, which was coauthored with Jonathan Michie and Nicholas Costello.
In 1990, he became a Labor Correspondent, holding the position till 1995, thereafter he was promoted to the post of Labour Editor. Meanwhile in 1994, he defended his colleagues, Richard Gott, when the latter was accused of being an influential KGB agent, declaring it to be absurd.
Also, in 1994, he published his second book, 'The Enemy Within: The Secret War Against the Miners'. In it, he dealt with the 1984-1985 miners’ strike, focusing on how the establishment subverted the strike and misled the public.
In 2001, Seumas Milne was made a Comment Editor, and in this role, he successfully turned the comment pages into a very thought provoking opinion segment. In 2004, he published an article by Osama bin Laden, which was actually assembled from recordings of one of his speeches. It created great controversy.
In 2007, he was removed from the post of Comment Editor, possibly because he was devoting too much space to Palestine. He now became a full-time writer and columnist, writing among other pieces, a weekly column for the ‘op-ed’ page and a blog for Comment is Free.
In addition to writing, he also retained an advisory role as Associate Editor (Comment). Moreover, he continued to serve as news reporter, reporting from Middle East, Latin America, Russia, Eastern Europe and South Asia.
In 2012, he published his third book, 'The Revenge of History: The Battle for the Twenty First Century'. Consisting of columns he had written in The Guardian over ten years, the book has been described as “a powerful indictment of the United States, a global and corporate empire in decline”.
Director of Communication, Labour Party
In October 2015, Milne was appointed as the Labour Party's Executive Director of Strategy and Communications, initially on a one-year contact. He joined his new post on 26 October 2015, taking leave from The Guardian. Very soon, he became close to Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
In January 2017, he resigned from his post at The Guardian to work full time for the Labor Party. By then, he had begun functioning as Corbyn’s spin doctor, influencing the latter’s decisions on important issues like Brexit and war on terror.
Milne’s term came to an end on 4 April 2020 as Corbyn lost the Labour Party’s leadership election and stepped down.
Family & Personal Life
In 1992, Seumas Milne married Cristina Montanari, an Italian-born advertising firm director. The couple has two children; Patrick and Anna. Although the Labor Party vouches for equal schooling for all children irrespective of their abilities, Milne sent his children to selective grammar schools in Kingston upon Thames.
In 2018, Cristina Montanari filed a divorce case against Milne after he was pictured cuddling Australian lawyer Jennifer Robinson. The outcome of the case is not known.
He is also said to have had a close relationship with Kath Viner, the current Guardian editor.