I had a protracted Twitter conversation with @ijclark last evening about Micha? Kaminski, the leader of the new anti-federalist European Parliamentary group.
The main bone of contention seems to be the allegation that Mr. Kaminski is an anti-semite and, by extension, unfit to lead a group in the European Parliament.
I do not believe a racist or anti-semite should lead the group to which the Conservative Party subscribes in the EP. We are an anti-racist party, we do not tolerate anti-semitism in our party, and we shouldn’t accept it in affiliate group in Europe.
I hope that’s clear, and I hope my colleagues in an anti-racist human rights organisation in Ireland, along with my former colleagues in the National Union of Students, along with my friends formerly of the Union of Jewish Students in the UK, would all agree that I’ve not been inactive in opposition to all sorts of nefarious shit from various antisemitic groups.
But I am not convinced that Kaminski is an anti-Semitic politician. I am far from convinced that he’s a racist. I am convinced that he’s the leader of a group which for the first time effectively and in a dignified way expresses the political opposition to the federalist aspirations of the European parliament elite. And I am convinced that there’s an enormous smear campaign against him.
The smear, if it were to play out the way they want, would force the UK conservatives to either pull out of the group or to seek to replace Kaminski, or even just to create disquiet in the ranks. That shouldn’t work and it won’t.
Kaminski does have a dodgy past, that’s true. When he was 15 he was in a pretty stupid organisation on the right of Polish politics. But it’s a stupid conceit of the left in liberal, conservative British politics that all political systems are mirror images of one another. It’s difficult for us in the UK to get a sense for the political sphere in Warsaw bloc period Poland. It’s not difficult to believe that the far right might have looked like an alternative to the political system in the country. And understanding that, it should not be difficult to allow a politician to move on, and to hear what he has to say about his own beliefs.
I do not believe that Micha? Kaminski is a racist or an anti-Semite. I see him to the right of David Cameron, but not on the extreme right, despite the protestations of those who desperately want people to believe that the Conservatives have jumped into bed with Hitler.