.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, July 20, 2009

A precarious settlement

I reported on the latest crisis to hit David Cameron's new European grouping a few days ago when Edward McMillan-Scott, who is the longest serving Tory MEP had the whip removed for standing against Michal Kaminski, an MEP from the party’s new Polish allies, in a vote for vice-presidents of the Parliament.

Saturday's Daily Telegraph reports that Mr. Kaminski has taken exception to accusations by Mr. McMillan-Scott that he might be a racist. Under the heading 'Feud grips new Tory Euro grouping' they say that leader of the right wing European has threatened legal action against Mr. McMillan-Scott. For his part the now expelled Tory MEP does not give the grouping much chance of success:

He said he would not be surprised if Mr Kamiński and the Polish Law and Justice Party walked out on the Conservatives, and when did the new grouping would "dissolve".

Mr McMillan-Scott had the whip withdrawn last week for standing against Mr Kamiński, who was the group's official candidate, for the post of European Parliament vice president - and beating him.

In his first interview since his expulsion, Mr McMillan-Scott insisted he only stood against Mr Kamiński because of the Pole's extremist "homophobic and racist" views.

He said he repeatedly warned Mr Cameron not to join forces with the Law and Justice Party because of its "distasteful" beliefs.

Yesterday's Observer has a new twist. They reported that one of the most respected figures in the British Jewish community has called on David Cameron to cut all links with the Polish MEP because of his attitude towards a massacre of 1,600 Jews in the north-west Polish town of Jedwabne during the Second World War.

Rabbi Barry Marcus, of the Central Synagogue in London said that he had known for some time that Kaminski, who was Jedwabne's local MP, was involved in 2001 in a campaign to oppose a national apology for the massacre on its 60th anniversary in July 2001.

The rabbi said: "There needs to be some form of statement [from the Conservatives] of disassociation and condemnation. Otherwise they will appear to be condoning these views. Even if one person like this is in power in a democratic process, that is worrying. It is not building bridges. We want to build bridges."

If I were a gambling man I might consider placing a bet on how long Cameron's new European grouping can last. It certainly does not look very durable.
Peter, what about coalitions a little closer to home? What are your views on the fact that two councillors in your LibDem/Independent ruling group on Swansea Council called for the compulsory sterlisation of "unsuitable" mothers during a discussion on social services? One of these Councillors was the former Cabinet Member for Social Services!! Her clarification of her views is almost as scary as her initial views:

"what is happening in some European countries is actually enforced long term contraception, not by using pills or anything that can be missed or avoided, but by implants and similar. It is not sterilisation as such as it is easily reversible"
René, as you suggest on your blog I have been away so have not been able to post your comment earlier. For some reason my blackberry refuses to talk to blogger.

It is not my role to respond to every accusation you throw up about members of other parties nor do I understand why you have singled me out when there are 23 other members of the Swansea Liberal Democrat group. I also note the views on the Inside Out Swansea blog who suggest that your piece 'might actually be doing the member for Penllergaer a favour in alerting those who are bound to be attracted by her personal brand of parochial fascism, i.e. people within his own party who are a lot more scary and who are likely to be running the country pretty soon.'

I also object to your distortion of the facts in relation to Social Services. You know as well as I do that Aaron Gilbert was not a client of social services when he died and that although an individual made a mistake and was disciplined for that, Aaron's death was not the result of a systemic failure on the part of Social Services. You also know that the intervention board was brought in as a result of an inspection of children's services that was entirely unrelated to the Aaron Gilbert case and that his death had nothing do with the Deputy Minister's decision to put that board in. The fact that you continue to peddle misinformation on this is dishonest and you should correct it.

Nevertheless I agree with you that Wendy Fitzgerald's views are bizarre and unacceptable and I do not subscribe to them. However, she does not speak for the coalition in this and what she suggests is not administration policy so I do not have any conflict I need to resolve.
And as I said in my unedited posting on your blog, I agree with you that the new bloc in EP is NOT good news for the Tories or the UK interest within the EU and have written to Ed Macmillan-Scott to express my support for this stance.

You seem happy to suggest that a loose grouping in the EP between Tories and political parties you (and I) view as unsavoury, yet you seem to think that it is perfectly acceptable for the LibDems in Swansea to have a formal governing coalition on Swansea Council.

You do have responsibility in that you were one of the LibDem Cllrs in Swansea who enthusiastically advocated a deal with various highly questionable individuals (I, at the time, was one of 4 LibDem Cllrs who voted AGAINST the coalition deal) and you continue to be happy to consort with people who have openly supported BNP policies and who now openly call for policies which would fall foul of international criminal law.
Peter, I made a mistake in my last posting - I thought I had referred to the Macmillian-Scott story in a comment on your blog, but it was on mine!

In my opinion, quite rightly, you question the agreement between the Conservative Party and other European parties to form a new anti-federalist bloc in the European Parliament.

Yet this is only a loose bloc on the EP. Your coalition agreement with these very questionable people on Swansea Council is a proper governing coalition and you have to ask yourself why you are still happy to consort so closely with BNP supporters and those who advocate policies contrary to international criminal law.

You are happy to hold the Tories to account for their choice of bedfellows in the EP, I am just holding you and the LibDems to a similar standard.
René as usual you make a crisis out of a drama. Remember that you sat in this coalition as well for a while so your high principles sit uneasily on you.

As I said none of these views form part of the administration's policies so I do not consider myself aa being implicated by them as you suggest.

Furthermore your attempt to suggest that a particular Councillor is a member of the BNP or a sympathiser is inaccurate and untrue. I accompanied this individual on a visit to the Mosque and he was both respectful and understanding, even sympathetic to the high moral standards set by Muslims. I did not detect a racist element in his thinking though there is no doubt that he is forthright and down to earth in his views.

As for the Tory European Parliamentary Grouping, I am not so much judging members on their views but observing its inevitable break-up in a 'told-you'so' sort of way. I am taking pleasure at the impending collapse of a high-profile Cameron initiative not condemning it.
Well, Cllr Robinson DID distribute election materials he copied from the BNP website...
Yes he did and I am not condoning that action or agreeing with the contents of the leaflet he distributed which was factually inaccurate and emotive nonsense. That may make him a fool but it does not make him a member or a supporter of the BNP, neither of which he is as far as I am aware.

I was intriqued by the way that much of the content of that leaflet appeared in UKIP literature during the European elections.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?