Alliances, and talk of alliances… the Tories, the PES and… ooops… I wouldn’t say that…not about him… October 29, 2009Posted by WorldbyStorm in European Politics, Irish Politics, The Left.
Flicking through Harry’s Place at lunch – as one does – what do I see but a post on alliances in Europe. It’s headed “So, are all Europeans extremists nuts then?”. Putting aside the obvious grammatical problem in that sentence the answer is surely something along the lines of honi soit qui mal y pense. Anyhow, it seems that Conservatives are a bit upset at the accusation that they might be consorting with undesirable types in the EU and have started to hit back. Iain Dale, conservative blogger supreme, or so I’m told, has run a piece under the title “Labour’s Dodgy European Allies”.
Iain Dale has a story today answering the charge that the Tories are allied with some dodgy loons in Europe. His answer does not seek to defend the extremist parties Tory MEPs are in bed with, but rather points out that Labour has some unsavoury moonbats in its camp too.
He quotes another Tory blogger who observes that “a national embarrassment that the governing party of the day consort with communists, terrorists, murderers, anti-semites and 9/11 deniers.”
“The truth is that all European Parliament groupings contain some pretty dodgy characters, many of whose views are unacceptable to UK parties. The LibDems suffer the same in their grouping. I don’t pretend that the views of the Polish Law & Justice Party and some of the Lithuanians coincide with many Tory views. But to pretend they are any worse than those in other groups is just playing stupid, petty politics.”
If this is true (and Labour aren’t denying it) and none of our MEPs apparently can make alliances without taking in nuts and kooks – far-left, far-right or just far-gone – what does this say about Europeans?
Worse, thinking about just how bad the BNP’s two MEP’s allies must be in relation to these mainstream alliances could bring on a panic attack.
Of course, if one writes a piece with no analysis of the information available one will like as not arrive at a panic attack inducing situation. Just as if one writes about the fact that aircraft crash without throwing in a few caveats one won’t make it to the airport too often.
But let’s go to Iain Dale’s post.
The hypocrisy of the left in criticising the Conservatives’ bedfellows in the new Reform Grouping in the European Parliament has to be seen to be believed. Yes, I am sure there are a few undesirables in the group, but that’s the case in virtually every group in the EP. I don’t remember these concerns being raised when most of them were members of the EPP. Funny that.
However, Tory Bear has done us all a service and batted the ball back to the left’s court. I don’t often quote a blogpost in full, but this one merits it.
Has he? Has he really?
Tony Bear, being the source… well let’s quote his post too… this is all getting a bit infinitely recursive, but stick with me…
TB is getting sick to the back teeth of Labour, and their stooges, attempting to create scandal around who the tories sit with in the European Parliament. The audacity that they have in these attacks can quickly be exposed with Google and rather appropriately given today’s attempt at journalism from the Observer – Wikipedia.
The Labour Party sit with the European Socialists grouping (PES), a bunch of nuts lefties that make Blair and Brown look slightly to the left of Hannan. Labour can try have a half-hearted smear attempt at the tory groupings, but it is a national embarrassment that the governing party of the day consort with communists, terrorists, murderers, anti-semites and 9/11 deniers.
It’s not just Mark P who might reasonably raise an eyebrow at the description of the PES as ‘a bunch of nuts lefties’ (by the by, what is it with right of centre political discourse that the term ‘left-wing’, or indeed even ‘left of centre’ seems beyond the capacity of many of them to use?).
Still, that’s pretty potent stuff about ‘terrorists, murderers, anti-semites and 9/11 deniers’. Tell us more er…Bear.
Oh you didn’t know this? Well it’s not like it’s reported by the main stream media. Dan Hamilton wrote a great piece a few months ago and TB would like to share some of what he exposed. Lets just have a quick peek at a couple of Labour’s friends in Europe shall we…
First up we have former Italian Communist Party officer holder and Josef Fritzel look alike Giulietto Chiesa. A member of the Communist Party until 1991 Chiesa has since made a name for himself not only blaming Russia’s invasion of Georgia on European countries but more significantly as an extremely vocal 9/11 denier. His documentary Zero, as well as various essays and TV appearances have suggested that the US government was behind the planning and execution of the attacks. This lunatic is now the official European spokesman for the 9/11 Truth Movement.
Stop right there. Firstly 9/11 Truthers are surely more to be pitied than condemned… it may be silly but it’s hardly criminal. And to me, at least, it seems somewhat less pernicious than those who deny global warming (some of whom it appears are on the right of centre). That he was a Communist is hardly here or there. So were a fair chunk of the neo-conservativess and I doubt that’s ever held against them in right circles – indeed one suspects that the slight whiff of red operates in quite the opposite fashion – that he’s well ‘ard he is, having been a Trotskyist in his day sort of thing no doubt adds a frisson. He may take an odd line of the Georgian invasion, but a recent EU report while not pointing back at Europe certainly saw the Georgians as being largely the architects of their own downfall.
Who else are close allies of the Labour Party in Europe?
Yes. Who indeed?
How about Proinsias De Rossa, ever heard of him? This former IRA man originally joined the Communist and Allies group before transferring to the PES and taking an active role in the drafting of the European Constitution. What do you expect from a Labour Party who didn’t bat and eyelid when their guest Martin McGuinness was allowed to stroll around the Grand Hotel in Brighton almost 25 years to the day the IRA had murdered so many there.
Actually there’s an interesting excision in the above, which again I’ve quoted from the excerpt on Iain Dale’s site. For the original text from the Bear’s site is as follows (you can read the original here just under a fetching photo of our Frank):
How about Proinsias De Rossa, ever heard of him? Well he is a ****** terrorist who is linked to the ****** of six British Policemen [my edit - who knows how litigious the bearded one is this decade? - wbs]. This former IRA man originally joined the Communist and Allies group before transferring to the PES and taking an active role in the drafting of the European Constitution. What do you expect from a Labour Party who didn’t bat and eyelid when their guest Martin McGuinness was allowed to stroll around the Grand Hotel in Brighton almost 25 years to the day the IRA had murdered so many there.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. As one commentator on the Bear blog noted:
Is that the sound of De Rossa’s libel lawyers cracking their knuckles?
And really, who can blame them given the level of discourse on this.
In the comments on Iain Dales site the sentiment runs like this:
Sorry Iain, but if they’re grasping at Proinsias De Rossa as an example, they’d really want to go back to do their homework. De Rossa was in the IRA in his youth, but it’s like saying that Mandela is always a terrorist or that Tony Blair was soft on national security because he was in CND. De Rossa is openly despised by Sinn Fein because he was a former IRA man who became a staunch democrat and opponent of the Provos. There are people in Irish politics who are regarded as suspect on the terrorism issue, but he is not one of them. I suspect the people who listed him don’t know much about Irish politics.
To which comes the riposte:
Dear oh dear – pathetic jason pathetic. So its all right what De Rossa did in his youth, but terrible what people the Tories group with. typical rank hypocrisy. de rossa was interned in the Republic for 3 years in the first troubles and then has wondered from 1 lefty group to another. A fine bedfellow.
A further response from someone else…
Don’t be silly. De Rossa admits he was a member of the IRA and it is a matter of fact that he was in prison as a result of this. The Eamon Dunphy allegations were related to De Rossa knowing about bank robberies and forgeries while a member of the Workers’ Party (and it was proved he did not). Regardless, he is a thoroughly nasty piece of work and a former member of the IRA. Fact.
‘Thoroughly nasty piece of work’? Jesus, I’ve had my differences with the man, but he’s absolutely sincere in his beliefs and they’re hardly ‘nasty’. And:
Trevor, Solid anti-IRA people in the republic have no problem with De Rossa, who was in the IRA in the 1950s. The 1950s Trevor! You still hold the same beliefs you held when you were 19? I certainly don’t, I used to be a Thatcherite!
This comment continues and in doing so perhaps points to some of the reason for all this overheated excitement, a certain cognitive dissonance on the part of the Conservative Party as regards Europe… No, no, not the usual dissonance, but an even more pointed one…
I actually didn’t say anything nasty about the ECR, so I don’t know what rank hypocrisy you’re talking about. What I don’t understand is how the tories are opposed to Merkel, who supported Lisbon, but allied with Law and Justice, who, eh, supported Lisbon.
I wasn’t aware of that small and no doubt irritating (from the Tory point of view) detail as regards their new found European partners. But really, it’d make a dog laugh.
One other figure is mentioned by the Bear…
So many loons to choose from, but TB’s absolute favourite scumbag has to be Andrzej Zbigniew Lepper the leader of the Polish Self-Defence of the Republic Party, who Labour sit hand in hand with in Europe.
Where to start with their leader and the sleaze, the criminal activities and the general insanity of the man. Another former communist, he has done time for assault and even demanded sexual favours for jobs in his office. Famed for throwing hecklers onto piles of manure according to the BBC, the “chorus of his party song is: This land is your land, this land is my land, we won’t let anyone punch us in the face.”
Perhaps most worrying is Lepper’s honorary degrees from the anti-Semitic Interregional Academy of Personnel Management. To give you an idea where these guys are coming from, their honorary professor is the white supremest David Duke.
Which is all very odd since as noted by another person commenting on Dale:
None of Harry Cole’s allegations stack up. Only one out of the three is actually aligned with Labour MEPs as part of the Socialists and Democrats Group, and he is a perfectly respectable politician. The first example, Giulietto Chiesa, is not part of the Socialist and Democrats group. Chiesa was elected as an Independent and joined the ALDE group (the Liberal Democrats). He moved from there to the Socialist Group in 2006 but he evidently did not feel comfortable. In the 2009 elections he stood for re-election in Latvia on the list of ‘Pro Human Rights in United Latvia’, a group which is affiliated to the Greens-European Free Alliance group and has no connection with the Socialist Group. See its website with big logo at the top. Chiesa was defeated in June but had he been elected he would not have been in the Socialists and Democrats Group with Labour but with the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Green MEPs. Proinsias de Rossa’s youthful activities with the IRA were more than 50 years ago. He took the Officials side in the split, and the Officials gave up violence in the 1970s. His party was still known as Sinn Fein for some time but they were accepted within the Irish establishment and were part of coalition governments; he himself was a Minister in 1994-97 and the Major government seemed to have no problems with him. If Harry Cole is insinuating that Proinsias de Rossa is someone with terrorist links now, he better have a good lawyer. Finally Harry Cole produces Andrzej Zbigniew Lepper, who is not a member of the Socialist Group. He is a non-aligned MEP. See official page.
Or as someone else puts it:
Fact checking is just so “old media” though.
But what’s most entertaining, in a depressing sort of a way, is that across three sites not one of them (including one which seems to pride itself on it’s ‘rationalist’ and supposedly left of centre approach and might therefore be expected to at least prod at the sodden tissue of misrepresentation to see what it was made of) actually did fact check or bother their barney to see who was a member of what or what their background was.
As bad as each other I’d have thought.
Wonder what Proinsias might do…