30 May 2009

Euro-elections: Be aware that if you vote for the Tories, you are voting to strengthen the hard right

The Guardian leads today on Dave Cameron's plans to withdraw from the European People's Party (the main centre right grouping in the European Parliament - Merkel, Sarkozy etc.) and form an alliance with anti-gay fascists hiding under the "league of families" banner in Poland, the Czech Republic and Latvia.

Apparently this is an outgrowth of a pledge Cameron made during the 2005 Tory leadership campaign (about the only pledge he's ever made on anything?) that he would withdraw the Conservatives from the EPP grouping - to try to increase his support from the right of the party after the ludicrous (but at least honest) Liam Fox, who'd been standing on a hard right nationalist ticket, dropped out. 

I guess you could give Dave some plaudits for consistency, but that's about it. How does allying the Tories in Europe with a bunch of politicians who would be operating under the BNP banner if based in the UK square with "progressive Conservativism"? I don't see any way that it can. The key question is: is Cameron just advocating this shift in Europe to honour his 2005 commitment, or is this a symptom of what his real agenda is. If the former, why on earth jeapordise his political credibility by jumping in bed with these nutters? If the latter, then we may find the allies of the BNP a lot closer to power than we'd like - partly as a result of Dave lending them credibility. Absolutely appalling. 


Van Patten said...

Unfortunately the way the European Parliament is structured made this decision inevitable. The only two groups other than the EPP on the right are the Independence/Democracy grouping (where UKIP sit), and the UEN, which contains the Latvian 'Fatherland and Freedom' and Poland's 'League of Families'. I don't think either Green bloc would sit well with the Tories, and any of the other groupings are straight euro-federalists.

Whilst the beliefs of a number of these parties are indeed highly questionable, after Thursday, odds are a new grouping might emerge which would be able to omit some of the more colourful beings from their number. The Latvian party look like getting wiped out and the poll ratings for their Polish 'friends' don't look too hot either. The principal allies are the ODS (Czech) whose main error, according to the link you posted, is to deny global warming is man-made. As the debate continues over this, (especially in the wake of this years weather) surely it's somewhat desperate of the Guardian to use this in a futile attempt to scare people into voting Labour?

Furthermore, you may want to read of the extraordinary encounter between the ODS leader, Vaclav Klaus and the President of the European Parliament and the leading Green MEP, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, where he was not permitted to speak and continually interrupted, a style of debate apparently very popular with Greens and Socialist in the Parliament itself. As Klaus said, this kind of debate had not been seen in Prague for the better part of two decades. Arguably a foretaste of what's to come in the event people are follish enough to vote Green, far more outlandish than Cameron's flirting with some nutcases.

giroscoper said...

But if the British Conservatives don't like any of the other groupings why not just set up their own grouping? In any case 'straight Euro-federalist' describes the approach of the last 3 Tory Prime Ministers - Heath, Thatcher and Major. Thatcher's anti-European rhetoric was a smokescreen.

Given their new moves towards environmentalism it's perhaps not such a stretch to see the Tories in the Green bloc.