by Stephen Tall on July 31, 2009
Lib Dem Voice has covered before the growing embarrassment to the Tories of David Cameron’s decision to withdraw his party from the centre-right grouping in the European Parliament, the EPP, and to establish a new right-wing grouping with an eccentric, ragbag group of Euro MPs.
This came to a head last month, when Edward McMillan-Scott, a former leader of the Tory party in the European Parliament, was expelled for standing against a Polish MEP, Michal Kaminski, for the post of Vice-President of the European Parliament – Mr Kaminski was subsequently elected leader of the Tories’ new Euro grouping. And now Mr McMillan-Scott has gone on the record in the Yorskshire Post to reveal precisely why he decided to make a stand against the Tory party’s latest descent into Euro lunacy:
Although Kaminski was nominated by the new Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) created by David Cameron, I decided to take the issue head on, even at the discomfiture of my own party. I did this at great personal and political risk – I could have lost everything and have now lost the whip – but I did it on principle.
It was not my principle – it was a higher one. To oppose a menacing political movement at a key moment in Europe’s politics. … my Yorkshire colleague, Timothy Kirkhope – leader of the Conservative MEPs – who that day had been elected leader of the ECR, was simply replaced by Kaminski. …
It has now been disclosed, as Kaminski should have done to the Conservative Party when nominated for Vice-President, that he has had fascist links – he was a member of Poland’s notorious fascist National Revival (NOP) – and he tried, as its MP, to cover up one of the worst anti-Jewish atrocities in wartime Europe.
On July 10, 1941, Poles rounded up hundreds of Jews and put them in a barn on the outskirts of the village of Jedwabne. Egged on by the SS, the barn was set on fire. In 2001, the then president of Poland organised a national apology, but Kaminski opposed it.
Kaminski was pictured on Polish TV in 2000 using a homophobic term which even the interviewer says is offensive: Kaminski repeats it. He caused a storm at that time by using the pre-war anti-semitic slogan, “Poland for the Poles”. He denies it.
Last week, Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s quality daily, said: “Kaminski isn’t officially and completely anti-Semitic or homophobic, but at some point he recognised that these things could help him politically.”
Ambivalence about totalitarianism, like Judge Frankfurter’s, has no place in today’s Europe.
Mr McMillan-Scott then compares the treatment he has received from the Tory party with the treatment meted out to those MPs in the shadow cabinet and on the backbenches who were exposed abusing their expenses:
When I was elected leader of the Conservative MEPs in 1997, The Times described me as “a moderate pro-European, with a general loyalty to the party line”. I am to this day, and I have asked for the Conservative whip to be restored. Is it not telling that, after a three-month onslaught on MPs’ expenses, the whip was removed from no Conservative MP except Derek Conway?
He concludes by calling on the Tories to expel Michal Kaminski from their ranks:
I have always been a Conservative internationalist, believing that Britain should be leading in Europe – not leaving it. The EPP is the party of Angela Merkel, Nicholas Sarkozy and Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Swedish conservative who currently chairs all EU meetings. … The rise of “respectable fascism” must be stopped. The people who advised Cameron have been used by those who seek respectability through links with the Conservative Party. It is not me who should be expelled –it is Kaminski.