As we approach European Election Day on June 4th, we're going to have to get used to a succession of soon-to-be-unemployed government ministers criticising David Cameron’s decision to withdraw the party from the federalist European People’s Party group in the European Parliament.
They will, as Jonathan Isaby wrote yesterday, smear our new allies as extremists and allege that the party will soon be sitting in "splendid isolation" on the "lunatic fringes" of European politics.
The excellent Daniel Hannan has already blogged about the extremist positions adopted by many of our current partners in the EPP but, in the interest of fairness, I thought it only right to share a few quick examples of some of the Labour Party’s unsavoury allies in the pan-national Party of European Socialists.
Proinsias De Rossa MEP (Ireland)
Born Francis Ross, Proinsias De Rossa is PES MEP for the Dublin constituency and former member of the IRA. De Rossa was interned by the Irish government in the late 1950s for his involvement in the IRA’s border campaign – a campaign which caused the deaths of six British policemen.
Democratic Society Party (Turkey)
Despite being outside the European Union, the Party of the European Socialists has awarded the Turkish Democratic Society Party associate membership of their party. According to the European Union Institute for Security Studies, it is an “obvious secret that [the Democratic Society Party] is connected to the PKK, the militant terrorist organisation headed up by Abdullah Öcalan. Following a KPP terrorist attack in October 2007, Labour’s very own David Miliband had the following to say: “The PKK is trying to destroy the Turkish government's efforts to improve the situation of people in the south east of the country, provoke conflict between Turkey and Iraq and damage regional stability... I call on the international community to be unequivocal in its condemnation of PKK terrorism and to support Turkey in restoring stability”.
Self-Defence of the Republic (Poland)
The Self-Defence of the Republic party claims to represent the interests of poor, agricultural workers against big business. It is more famous, however, for the erratic behaviour of its leader Andrzej Lepper, the recipient of two honorary degrees from the anti-Semitic Interregional Academy of Personnel Management which counts, amongst others, American white supremacist David Duke as an honorary professor. According to the BBC, his party anthem once featured the line "this land is your land, this land is my land [and] we won't let anyone punch us in the face" – somewhat unsurprising, given Lepper’s multiple convictions for assault. The Party of the European Socialists welcomed a Self-Defence MEP into their grouping in December 2004.
Giulietto Chiesa MEP (Italy)
A former communist party official and television journalist, Giulietto Chiesa has sat with the British Labour delegation in the Party of European Socialists since 2006. Over the past five years, his parliamentary activities have largely focussed around organising screenings in Parliamentary buildings of his 9/11 conspiracy theory film “Zero” which alleges that the Pentagon was actually hit by a missile and that the Twin Towers were really detonated by explosives placed inside the building. Turning to other international events, Chiesa stated his opinion that “Russia did precisely what had to be done” during last year’s Georgia crisis.
...and how they treat the good guys
While we've already established that the Labour Party has some strange bedfellows, it's worth looking at how they treat those with a genuine commitment to rooting out corruption and exposing the wasting of taxpayers’ money.
One example is Austria MEP Hans-Peter Martin. First elected for 1999, Martin is a sincere pro-European who doesn't have a Eurosceptic bone in his body but was appalled by the widespread abuse of the parliamentary expenses system, where scores of MEPs 'signed in' for their daily allowance of nearly €300 before immediately heading home for the weekend. Upon further investigation, Martin presented the then President of the European Parliament Pat Cox with evidence (including photographs) of more than 7,000 alleged expenses abuses. Outraged at his behaviour, the Socialists in the European Parliament expelled him immediately. Reform and rooting out corruption is, clearly, at the heart of everything the PES believes in...!