Thursday, 29 October 2009

The simple fact is that the Tories' approach to the European Parliament is quite mad

Iain Dale is demanding that those who criticise the Polish MEP Michal Kaminski should apologise because the Chief Rabbi of Poland has been prevailed upon to say that the man is not an anti-semite these days and to criticise a headline run by the New Statesman suggesting he was asking the UK Tories to ditch their alliance with him.

Yet, as Toby Helm points out, Rabbi Schudrich said in an email to the New Statesman that he has not retracted:
"It is clear that Mr Kaminski was a member of the NOP, a group that is openly far-right and neo-Nazi...Anyone who would want to align himself with a person who was an active member of NOP and the Committee to Defend the Good Name of Jedwabne, which was established to deny historical facts of the massacre ... needs to understand with what, and by whom, he is being represented."
Moreover, Helm explains that the new comments come as a result of 'enormous pressure ' - bullying in plain terms - from Kaminski's Law and Justice Party to retract, but he has not done so. As Helm says:
I suspect that if one really wants to get to the heart of what Schudrich thinks, one should stick to the statement he originally gave to the New Statesman, before the row really got going. Cut through the political mud-slinging, go back to the time when he gave an opinion under no pressure at all. Then he raised questions about Kaminski's past association with a neo-Nazi leaning party, and said people needed to think clearly before getting alongside such individuals. The Tories want to portray Schudrich as a great supporter of Kaminski because they are in a mess over their new EU allies. The truth, I reckon, is rather more complex and less helpful to David Cameron's party.
However much the defenders of Cameron's mad Euro-policy may grumble, the simple fact is this: at a time when the Tories could (and if they were rational, should) have continued in the EPP, the party of Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, they instead chose to ally themselves with a motley crew of fringe parties and MEPs well outside even the right-wing mainstream. They did this purely to satisfy a bunch of Eurosceptic fanatics who had backed Cameron as leader. And they were quite happy to ditch their own respected leader at Strasbourg in the process, preferring to see Kaminski as their leader.

That some of their new allies have pretty unsavoury pasts (to quote Rabbi Schudrich "Mr Kaminski was a member of the NOP, a group that is openly far-right and neo-Nazi") adds to the oddity of it all. And no amount of huffing and puffing can detract from the sheer idiocy of such positioning, both for the Conservatives and for a Britain they hope to govern again.

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