The Party of the European Socialists Annual Congress in Prague has just voted to reinstate Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico’s Direction/Social Democracy (SMER) party to full membership of its trans-national political family.
SMER was suspended from the PES in September 2006 for forming a governing coalition with Ján Slota’s far-right Slovak National Party - a group who make the membership of the BNP look like the audience of a Benjamin Zephaniah poetry recital in an Islington coffee shop.
At the time, SMER were strongly criticised by PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen for failing to adhere to party rules demanding members "refrain from any form of political alliance or co-operation at all levels with any political party which incites or attempts to stir up racial or ethnic prejudices and racial hatred". The coalition remains in place today.
The Slovak National Party's platform is fairly predictable ultra-nationalist stuff.
Party leader Ján Slota appears to have a particular problem with Hungarians, declaring them a "tumour in the body of the Slovak nation" and "ugly, bow-legged, Mongoloid characters on disgusting horses". He has also charmingly declared that "we [Slovaks] will sit in our tanks and flatten Budapest" if ethnic Hungarians assert their authority in the Slovakia.
Gypsies, Slota claims, should be dealt with in "a small courtyard and with a long whip" and refused to apologise for describing the Roma as "race who steal, rob and pilfer" on the grounds that "at least half of the nation think the same way".
Slota has also praised the country's fascist dictator Jozef Tiso (hanged in 1945) as "one of the greatest sons of the Slovak nation" and dedicated a plaque to him whilst Mayor of the city of Zilina. Homosexuality, he argues, is equivalent to paedophilia.
I could go on - but I think you get the picture.
Is it really appropriate for the Labour Party to be aligned to political parties like SMER who remain in coalition with the likes of the Slovak National Party?