Saturday, October 03, 2009

Row escalates over 'vile' Tory allies.

I've written before about the very strange choice Cameron has made when choosing his bedfellows in Europe, where he has aligned himself with some of the continents most extremist nutters.

Well, it now transpires that he is inviting some of them to attend the Conservatives' annual conference in Manchester next week, which has led to all kinds of protest.

David Miliband, the foreign secretary, yesterday accused Michal Kaminski, the rightwing Polish leader of the Conservatives' caucus in the European parliament, of having an antisemitic and neo-Nazi past. He also said the rightwing Latvian party led by Roberts Zile, For Fatherland and Freedom, was guilty of celebrating Hitler's Waffen-SS.

Leading Jewish figures have condemned the invitation, describing the actions of the Latvian party as "vile".
Quite why Cameron has chosen to align himself with these people is simply lost on me, just as it is lost on so many Tory grandees.

Lord Patten, the mastermind of the Tories' 1992 ­election victory, and former home secretary Lord Brittan both criticise Cameron's tactics, with Patten describing them as "unwise".

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, a former head of the Foreign Office who was Britain's ambassador to the EU at the time of the Maastricht treaty negotiations in 1991, is also highly critical.

"I do not understand a rigid commitment to impotence," he said. "I do not understand why [the Czech and Polish parties who will form a new group with the Tories] are preferable to Angela Merkel or Nicolas Sarkozy, or why they think the route to influence lies that way."

Lord Wright of Richmond, head of the Foreign Office in Margaret Thatcher's final years as prime minister, questioned Cameron's decision to try to reopen the Lisbon treaty. "It will be a formidably difficult negotiation," he said. "There will be very few allies."

Lord Tugendhat, a European commissioner between 1977 and 1985, said it would be a "great tragedy" if the Tories tried to renegotiate a ratified Lisbon treaty once the party is in office.

Retired diplomats are careful about speaking in public. However, the strength of their language reflects Foreign Office concern that Cameron will trigger the worst crisis yet in Britain's relations with the EU.

Cameron's move has earned him the enmity of the centre-right powerbrokers in the EU, most notably Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. Should Cameron come to power - and it is undoubted that he will - then we are probably going to see the greatest schism in European relations since the forming of the Common Market.

Cameron is in bed with extremist nutjobs in Europe, with people that even Thatcher would have steered clear off.

Lord Janner, chairman of the Holocaust Education Trust, who was a war crimes investigator during his national service, said: "My relatives in Latvia were all murdered by the Nazis and I think it is appalling that anyone would so much as say a good word about the Waffen-SS and those who today follow in their trail.

"It is vile that members of this party have marched in honour of their memory."

Louise Ellman, deputy chair of the Jewish Labour Movement and MP for Liverpool Riverside, said: "I am appalled that a party hoping to become the government of the country associates itself with such extremists.

"I think that members of the Jewish community here will feel utter disgust and incredulity that a mainstream party wants to be linked with such groups."

William Hague has condemned Miliband's claim with possibly the funniest sentence I ever read from a British MP.
"There is a real danger that you could damage relations with Latvia."
So, at the dreadful risk of "damaging relations with Latvia" - and all the horrors which would follow from a diplomatic tear of that magnitude - I will state that I think the Tories are foolish in the extreme to be getting into bed with these far right nutcases.

And, if Cameron's choice of European allies is any indication of where he stands politically, then we are sleepwalking towards disaster.

Click title for full article.

No comments: