Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘European People’s Party’

David Miliband Is Right to Berate William Hague

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 11th October, 2009

David Miliband 2British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has a right old go in The Observer today at the Tories — and especially his shadow opposite number, William Hague — for their alliance with Michal Kominski, of Poland’s innocuous-sounding Law and Justice Party (PiS) and Robert Zile of the Latvian For Fatherland and Freedom party, both of which have dodgy records on issues such as anti-semitism and homophobia, not to mention a general far-right past. Quite right too. Far from beng party political point scoring, this is a necessary move to show just what disgusting people the Conservatives have got into bed with in the European Parliament. They were even parading them at their party conference in Manchester the other day. It was depressing to see Stephen Pollard of the Jewish Chronicle coming out in Kaminski’s defence earlier this week. Zionists often accuse those who defend Palestinian rights as being ‘self-hating Jews’, but how self-hating can you get when you stand up and defend someone who refuses to apologise for the massacre of Jews at Jedwabne in Poland in 1941, as Kominski has refused to do?

Michal KominskiBut William Hague, far from admitting that the Conservatives have made a huge tactical error in their leaving the mainstream European People’s Party (EPP) to join up with these East European fruitcakes in the new  ‘European Conservatives and Reformists’ Group (ECR), has been stubbornly arguing that right is on the Tories’ side. Just look what happened to former Tory MEP Edward McMillan-Scott. He revolted at the prospect of supporting Michal Kominski as a Vice-President of the European Parliament, because of the Pole’s ‘anti-semitic, homophobic and racist past’ — and not only stood against him, but won. His punishment for this principled stand was to have the Tory whip wirthdrawn, then to be expelled from the Conservative Party, despite his long years of services to the cause, because — as William Hague explained it — he had made his allegations ‘against an individual who is a good friend of the Conservative Party and against a party (the PiS) allied to the Conservative Party in the European Parliament.’  By your friends you will be known, William. As a consolation prize, Kaminski was given the leadership of the ECR group in the Parliament. Pass the sick bag, Alice.

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First of the Euro-hustings

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 12th March, 2009

Last night I took part in what looks as if it will be a whole series of European election hustings meetings across London, in this instance hosted by the Politics Society of Queen Mary, University of London, just down the road from where I live. The Labour candidate had unfortunately to drop out because of illness, which meant that I was the one and only positive voice on the panel. The Conservative candidate, Warwick Lightfoot (a personable councillor from Kensington and Chelsea, who threw his hat unsuccessfully into the ring to be the Tories’ London mayoral candidate last year) and his UKIP counterpart vied with each other in their Euro-scepticism. I’d been wondering just how negative the Conservative European campaign was going to be and if Warwick’s contribution was anything to go by, the answer is: very!

Yesterday also saw William Hague, the Conservative Party’s shadow Foreign Secretary, in Brussels preparing the ground for the Tories’ exit from the European People’s Party (EPP), underlining their isolation from the European mainstream. Not that long ago, the Liberal Democrats welcomed into their ranks the former Chairman of the London Conservatives, Dirk Hazell, who was disgusted at the anti-European turn the Tories had taken. He followed in the footsteps of former Tory MEPs John Stevens and Bill Newton-Dunn (the latter safely re-elected to the European Parlaiment, but as a Liberal Democrat). It woud be surprising if there are not others to come.

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Return of the Tories’ Euro-nightmare

Posted by jonathanfryer on Tuesday, 10th March, 2009

As Newsnight reported correctly tonight, it will soon be crunch time for David Cameron on Europe, as the deadline approaches for him deciding on whether to deliver on his promise to pull British Conservative MEPs out of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament. Several prominent Tory MEPs, such as Christopher Beazley, are appalled by the prospect, but most of these reasonable men and women are standing down in June and will be replaced with Euro-sceptic candidates. As Cameron and William Hague both consider the EPP to be dangerously federalist, it is highly likely that the Tory Group (or most of it) will break away after the June 4 elections. But they would not be able to qualify to be a recognised group in the parliament, with all the benefits that that entails, unless they join up with colleagues from half a dozen other member states. Most of the possible partners are toe-curlingly right wing.

Meanwhile, at the election itself, the Tories will be fighting for Britain’s Euro-sceptic votes with the dwindling UKIP, the BNP and Declan Ganley’s fringe party Libertas. Will Kenneth Clarke and the few other remaining voices of reason on Europe within the Conservative party be able to stomach that? With Labour hobbled by its unwillingness to come clean on Europe, and the British Greens bizarrely isolationist, that will leave the Liberal Democrats as the only clear standard bearer for closer European co-operation in vital areas such as the economy, the environment and security/civil liberties.

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