Surrendering to “Euro-extremists”


1:40 pm - October 1st 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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The Guardian reports:

David Miliband today described the Conservatives as “a bunch of schoolboys” and “a national embarrassment” as he rallied Labour at the end of its annual conference. The foreign secretary accused David Cameron of surrendering to “Euro-extremists” in his own party and said the fact that Tory MEPs were in alliance with a party that celebrated the Latvian Waffen SS made him “sick”.

He reminded delegates the Tories have formed a new group in the European parliament that put them in alliance with the Latvian For Fatherland and Freedom party, a party that takes part in an annual event commemorating the Latvian Waffen SS, and he said Eric Pickles, the Tory chairman, had been asked about this in a recent BBC interview. Pickles said the Latvian SS veterans who take part in the event had been just “following orders” during the war, Miliband said.

Of course the Tories are going to hit back any minute saying Labour is just smearing. But given that we have uncovered evidence of Tories allying themselves with homophobes who actually voted for draconian legislation – what excuse will they offer then?

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Europe ,Foreign affairs ,Westminster

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Reader comments


It’s certainly a sign that Labour are gearing up to fight a foul, dirty, unpleasant, smear-laden shit-spray of an election campaign.

The likely effect of which will be to give Sunny a stiffy, but make everybody else hate Labour even more. If such a thing is possible.

I disagree, there are certain “smears” that th public will respond to, this is one of them…mainly because it’s a fact rather than a smear.

This will play well at the conference.

But given that the public is on balance eurosceptic, and the EU is never that high on the list of concerns anyway, I doubt whether there will be much damage done.

Still, I agree that it is a sign of desperation.

Also unlikely to work; a bit like the Tories’ stupid “devil eyes” poster of Blair.
It didn’t ring true.
Attacking Cameron as nasty or unserious also doesn’t ring true.
(Didn’t a recent poll suggest Cameron was seen as more “substantial” than Brown?)
Sorry about that.

@1, Martin Coxall: How is it foul-play? The facts about the Conservatives’ euro-allies are very significant.

But it’s telling that both #1 (Martin Coxall) and #3 (cjcjc) are obviously sidestepping the issue. They may throw around words such as “shit-spray”, “foul”, “unpleasant”, “desperate”, “smear”, “unserious”, “nasty”, etc…but they’re not say ONE word, that is one word, about the people David Cameron’s Tory Party chose to get together with in Europe.

These people are amazing. Then when you remind them of Section 28 and the Conservative’s homophobia of the recent past they retort that “that was ages ago and you lot had Michael Foot too”.

Anything, but a candid and respectable admission that the alliance policy in the Eu Parliament is a massive mistake. Is it so difficult to just admit it?

Oh, I suppose Damian McBride was only thinking about ‘smearing’ so obviously let’s play whataboutery and ignore the substantive point eh?

There is no substantive point – it’s just a shouty conference point trying to make Tories = Nazis.

If it was a genuine concern, then you would have expected Labour to have said last year (and the year before and the year before…) that “the Tories were in alliance with the Latvian Popular Front party, a party that takes part in an annual event commemorating the Latvian Waffen SS.” Because they were, the PF (and their successor the Civic Union) are in the EPP.

It’s just the same old bollocks.

The substantive point is that Labour have hit on the jolly wheeze of trying to smear the Tories as being Nazis.

I’ll give you three guesses as to why I don’t think this is a very sound electoral strategy.

Tomorrow’s referendum result in Ireland will have an interesting impact on the Tory conference next week.

If, as expected, the vote is Yes for Lisbon, then the call for a post ratification referendum from the europhobes in Cameron’s Party will be deafening. There is much mischief that can be made from resultant Tory madness on Europe.

Let’s hope the Irish do us all a favour and expose the unbelievable level of Tory stupidity on this issue.

#7 Tim J
If it was a genuine concern, then you would have expected Labour to have said last year that “the Tories were in alliance with the Latvian Popular Front party[…] “.

It’s really very simple.
Last year the Tories had not formed that alliance yet. They were still within the same euro-parliamentary group as Angela Merkel’s CDU and Nicholas Sarkozy’s Party. The Tories left that group and joined the “…-phobes” one.

Try another one.

It’s really very simple.
Last year the Tories had not formed that alliance yet. They were still within the same euro-parliamentary group as Angela Merkel’s CDU and Nicholas Sarkozy’s Party. The Tories left that group and joined the “…-phobes” one.

Try another one.

Go back and read my comment again, slower. Last year (and for many years before that) the Tories were in alliance with the Latvian Popular Front/Civic Union, who take part in an annual event commemorating the second world war dead in Latvia. That’s because the PF/CU were/are in the EPP. Got it?

“who take part in an annual event commemorating the second world war dead in Latvia.”

It’s not an annual event commemorating the second world war dead (that happens on 8 May). It’s specifically an event commemorating the Latvian Legion, living and dead.

It’s not an official remembrance day (having had that status revoked in 2000 owing to the controversy surrounding it) but you are right to say that representatives of other parties take part in it, not just Fatherland and Freedom.

When dealing with the Baltics things can be complicated . The Soviet Union invasion of Lithuania,Latvia , Estonia and Finland resulted in a a large percentage of the male population being murdered or sent to Siberia to die. Under the Molotov Ribrontop Pact those who had a German grandparent could flee to Germany and many were forced to join the Waffen SS. When Germany invaded the Baltic nations in 1941 they were seen as liberators from the Soviets. Many Baltic people then turned on those people who had helped the Soviets in murdering and exiling their kinfolk to Gulag, where many died of starvation. Apparently the last Lithunian to resist the Soviets was still living in the woods when communism collapsed in 1989.

The support of some of the Ukranians for the Germans was largely due to mass famine created by the Soviet Union in 1930s , responsible for 13M deaths.

Of course the great socialist, Mitterand supported the Vichy government after the fall of France. Michael Thomas’s biography, A Test of Courage shows how Vichy was very keen to deport Jewish peope to the concentration camps. The communist Satre hardly exerted himself in fighting the Nazis- Camus’s comments are interesting on this subject.

Luckily in Britain we were not invaded by the Soviets and then the Nazis and therefor never had to live through such terrible times. After the war when left wing writers considered what they would have done if Britain had been invaded,only Orwell was considered likley to have been likely to have fought. Of course E Waugh the, Tory snob actually fought with the Royal Marines wile Isherwood and Auden stayed in the USA.


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