Thursday 30 July 2009

Cameron's Polish friends

Timothy Garton Ash, our foremost expert on Eastern Europe, has an absolutely riveting piece in today's Guardian, setting out in forensic detail the dubious anti-semitic, homophobic background of Michal Kaminski, the Polish Law and Justice party MEP who is now the leader of Cameron's Conservatives in Brussels. As Garton Ash relates, the late 1990s and early 2000s seem to have been a particularly busy time:
In the 1990s, he was a dynamic and ambitious young activist in a rightwing, nationalist, xenophobic party, the Christian National Union. In 1999, he visited Britain to present what is described as a gorget embossed with an image of the Virgin Mary to General Augusto Pinochet. "This was the most important meeting of my whole life. Gen Pinochet was clearly moved and extremely happy with our visit," Kaminski told the BBC's Polish service. In a short video clip from July 2000, he describes homosexuals as pedaly, a slang term roughly translatable as "queers" or "poofters". In 2001, he became involved in one of Poland's greatest post-1989 historical controversies, about the murder in July 1941 of almost all the Jewish inhabitants of the Polish village of Jedwabne – a murder committed by Polish villagers. As the local MP, he denounced the post-communist president Aleksander Kwasniewski for his readiness to apologise in Poland's name for this crime.
It does rather put Cameron's lavatorial language on Absolute Radio in the shade.

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