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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Changing history

If truth be told Wikiedia is not exactly a reliable source of information and it certainly would not be a port of call for any reputable historian to establish facts. It is also the case that politicians and political parties often alter their own entries or those of others to reflect the message they want to send. I have certainly corrected my own entry to remove what I consider to be inaccurate comments placed there by members of other parties, but I have never sought to do the same to others.

So the controversy about the changes made to the entry of Michal Kaminski, the Polish politician who now leads the Tories in the European parliament, is fairly unremarkable in itself. Where it does take on significance is in the detail as to who changed the entry and what their motives were.

All the other parties seem fairly clear that the balance of probabilities point to somebody within the Conservatives as the person who removed details of Kaminski's previous membership of the far-right National Revival of Poland party from Wikipedia:

The information was deleted on 25 June by someone using a computer connection directly traceable to the House of Commons. The European Conservatives and Reformists Group, which Kaminski leads and in which the Tories are founder members, was formed on 22 June.

Also on 25 June, alterations were made to the Wikipedia page on Edward McMillan-Scott, the Tory MEP who raised concerns about Kaminski, and was then expelled from the party. The changes – designed to portray McMillan-Scott as a europhile – were made from a computer with an internet IP address named "Strasburg".

On the morning the change was made, McMillan-Scott had voiced concerns for the first time in a newspaper interview about the Tories' European partners, saying that he was unhappy with their extremist links.

If this is the case then obviously the fuss about Cameron's new European grouping and the expulsion of McMillan-Scott is causing anxiety within the Conservative Party. Could the higher echelons be regretting taking the decision to withdraw the Tories from the European People's Party? Could the deep concern of US Government officials about Cameron's direction of travel be perceived as having an impact on his credibility as a future Prime Minister?
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