Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Who is Nigel Farage's new Polish mate?


We all had a good laugh when it was reported that UKIP's so-called European Freedom and Direct Democracy group had collapsed after the withdrawal of the Latvian MEP Iveta Grigule, who quit the group within six months of joining it, meaning that they had representation from fewer than the seven EU nations necessary to form an official group and claim £millions in subsidies from the EU.

I'm pretty sure anyone but the most hardcore of UKIP tribalists must have thought "good job too ... what on earth is an anti-EU party doing gobbling up subsidies from the organisation they supposedly oppose anyway?"

Unfortunately Farage was quick to find a makeweight MEP from elsewhere to fill out his group again in order to requalify them to continue riding the EU funding gravy train. The MEP he found was The Polish MEP Robert Iwaszkiewicz, who comes from a political party so fanatically right-wing that even the French Front National wanted absolutely nothing to do with them!

In this article I'm going to take a closer look at the ragtag bunches of parties that Nigel Farage builds around UKIP in order to gobble up EU subsidies, and then go on to look at UKIP's new Polish friend and the party that he represents.

The European Freedom and Democracy group (2009-2014)

If you know anything much at all about European politics, it is blindingly obvious that EFDD (and the predecessor group EFD) are just haphazard groups of parties, with virtually nothing in common apart from the fact that without being part of such groups, UKIP would be short of the multinational alliance necessary in order to claim £millions in party subsidies from the EU.

The fact that UKIP's 2009-2014 group was pretty much a random jumble of parties can be seen by looking at the schitzophrenic voting record of the EFD group. One vote that is of particular interest to me is the May 2013 vote on whether the EU should proceed with negotiating the TTIP Corporate Power Grab, which is a proposed "trade deal" designed to completely over-write the democratic and judicial systems of signature states with pro-corporate legiaslation.

Given their habit of harping on endlessly about British sovereignty, one would have expected UKIP and their EFD group to vote against TTIP, however a look at the voting record reveals that only one UKIP MEP even bothered to vote, and he voted in favour of it, along with the majority of the EFD group. In fact the ex-Tory Roger Helmer joined 17 other EFD MEPs in voting in favour of TTIP, whilst only two MEPs in the whole group rebelled and voted against it.

It's quite extraordinary that UKIP are now pretending to be opposed to TTIP, even though Roger Helmer, and the majority of their political group voted in favour of it last time it came before the European Parliament, and their economics spokesperson William "Dartmouth" Legge continues speaking out in favour of it.
The European Freedom and Direct Democracy group (2014-)

The composition of UKIP's group has changed dramatically since the 2014 European Elections. Out went the Italian neo-fascists Legia Nord and in came Beppe Grillo's populist Five Star Movement protest party in their place. The neo-fascist True Finns party also departed, as did the Calvinist Dutch political party SGP and the radical right-wing Greek Popular Orthodox Rally. In fact the only survivors other than UKIP from the previous incarnation are the two MEPs from the Lithuanian Order and Justice party. To reflect this change the group name was altered to include the word "Direct".

Within UKIP's reconstituted European gang, only one other party provides more than two MEPs, and that is Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement (MS5) which provides 17, to UKIP's 24, the other five contribute only seven MEPs between them.

The Five Star Movement and UKIP make extremely odd bedfellows. The only similarities seem to be that they are both Eurosceptic parties, and that they both have a charismatic populist as their leaders.

There are large policy differences between the two parties, not least the MS5 support for gay marriage and gay equality, their commitment to digital democracy and their environmentalist policy platform. A bunch of gay equality enthusiasts and environmentalists look like extremely odd bedfellows to a party riddled with climate change deniers and gay equality opposers.

Perhaps the strongest indicator that MS5 are extremely odd companions for UKIP is that they initially tried to join the left-wing (and strongly anti-TTIP) Green - European Freedom Alliance containing the Green Party, Plaid Cymru and the SNP, but they were rejected.

After being rejected by the Greens MS5 tried to join the ALDE group which contains the one remaining Lib-Dem MEP, but they were rejected by them too.

Only after being rejected by the long-established Green and Liberal Democrat parliamentary groups did MS5 settle for joining Nigel Farage's ragtag bunch.

Another really confusing aspect to MS5's participation in UKIP's EFDD group is their commitment to preventing politics from becoming a way to make money and a career choice, which manifests through their rejection of publicly allocated funds to their party. What a party with such a commitment to not scamming expenses and making a career out of politics is doing propping up a European group which pretty much only exists to ensure that UKIP receive £millions in subsidies from the EU is anybodies guess.

Who is Nigel Farage's new Polish mate?

The new addition to UKIP's disparate bunch of Euro oddballs is the Polish MEP 
Robert Iwaszkiewicz who has been given special dispensation from his KNP party to join the UKIP group. 
KNP is an extreme-right group led by Janusz Korwin-Mikke, who is one of the most "outspoken" MEPs in Europe, who has a habit of doing things like denying the holocaust, saying that women shouldn't be allowed to vote and referring to black Americans as "niggers".

Here are some quotes from the leader of the Polish party that has saved UKIP's lucrative European subsidies by lending them one of his MEPs.

"Women are dumber than men and should not be allowed to vote"
"Evolution has ensured that women are not too intelligent"
"The general public should not see the disabled on television" (an objection to the 2012 Summer Paralympics)
"Democracy is the stupidest form of government ever conceived"
"Gays are a gang of louts imported from abroad"
"We must destroy the minimum wage and we must destroy the power of trade unions" (from this speech in which he refered to black Americans as "niggers")
As for the man himself, UKIP's new ally Robert Iwaszkiewicz has praised Adolf Hitler for his tax policies and defended domestic violence. Here are a couple of quotes:
"If taxes were lower in Hitler's time, and now they're higher, what's wrong with wanting to say so?"
"[wife beating can] help bring many wives back down to earth"

It's absolutely clear that UKIP is now reliant upon a man from a very distasteful extreme-right bunch of Holocaust deniers in order to keep their taxpayer funded subsidies rolling in.

Ukipper reactions

It's no surprise at all that the overwhelming reaction of Ukippers to all of this has been to jump straight into self-pitying conspiracy theory mode, because that was precisely the mentality of their leader Nigel Farage when the Latvian MEP Iveta Grigule left the EFDD group.

Instead of contemplating the idea that she might have left because EFDD is an incoherent group made up of totalitarians, libertarians, anti-gay, pro-gay, environmentalists, climate change deniers, extreme right-wingers and wannabe-greens, to Farage and his followers it was clearly the result of some grand conspiracy orchestrated by Martin Schultz and a cabal of evil Euro-federalists.

The Ukipper reaction to the revelation that their new Polish friend comes from a disgusting and misogynistic extreme-right party is similar. You only have to read any article exposing KNP for what they are, to see a bunch of Ukippers complaining that the quotes have been "taken out of context"; that they were "only jokes"; that they were "deliberately mistranslated"; and that it's all some big conspiracy against the brave UKIP freedom fighters.

This tendency to jump straight into conspiracy theory mode derives from the tribalist hero narratives of the UKIP campaign. It's impossible for the tribalist Ukipper to see that UKIP has ever done anything wrong, because they are by definition the heroes of the story, meaning the narrative would be rendered incoherent if the problems they encounter are of their own making, rather than the result of the meddling of some arch-villain (in this case Martin Schultz, but in other cases the Lib-Lab-Cons, the media, the gays, the environmentalists, the PC brigade ...).

Conclusion

It's absolutely no surprise to anyone who follows European politics that Nigel Farage has once again hopped into bed with terrible nutters from the extreme-right fringe in order to keep UKIP's ticket to ride the EU gravy train of party funding. In the last European Parliament he cavorted with Italian neo-fascists who openly declared that the mass murderer Anders Brevik had "excellent ideas" that were "in defence of Western civilisation", and already in the new parliament he's been forced to defend the outrageous history of his Swedish Democrat allies, which grew out of the Nordic Nazi Party.

The fact that UKIP are up to their old tricks of hanging about with the dregs of the extreme-right fringe in order to secure more taxpayer funding for their party is not at all surprising. What is much more interesting is the fact that the Italian progressives MS5 continue to prop this group up. What on earth are a bunch of pro-equality, environmentalist, digital democracy enthusiast, wannabe Greens doing propping up this increasingly vile extreme-right coalition?

Perhaps someone who speaks Italian could ask the leader of MS5 Beppe Grillo what he thinks he is achieving by associating himself and his party with right-wing opportunists like Nigel Farage, and extreme-right fanatics like 
Robert Iwaszkiewicz and the Sweden Democrats?


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