Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kaminski: The Case For the Defence

The new leader of the European Reform Group, Michal Kaminski, has written an impassioned defence of himself and his character in an exclusive article for ConservativeHome this morning. He fiercely criticises Edward McMillan-Scott and defends himself against charges of fascist and anti jewish sympathies. He calls the attacks on him "disgusting and beyond offensive".
When I was born, Poland was a totalitarian Communist dictatorship. You could be imprisoned for speaking out against the Government. You had no say in choosing the Government. Like millions of other young Poles, I longed for freedom. I grew up in the 1980s with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan as my political heroes. However controversial at home, east of the Iron Curtain they were loved because they had no hesitation in condemning the evil of Communist tyranny or calling for democracy in our countries. In 1987, when I was 14, I joined an anti-Communist dissident group, National Revival, so I could fight for freedom. It was a typical small dissident movement in those days. When Communism crumbled in 1989 we were at last able to form political parties and have a democracy. I left NOP and helped create one such party as its youngest member. A couple of years later, NOP was taken over by extremists who turned it into what it is now: a very small and very nasty far right party. It is on this that Mr McMillan-Scott has manufactured his smear of fascist links.

Next Mr McMillan-Scott makes the disgusting allegation that I tried to cover up an anti-Jewish atrocity. The facts are these: in 2001 a book came out that raised new questions about the involvement of local Poles in a horrific massacre of Jewish villagers in a place called Jedwabne in 1941, when the Nazis occupied my country. In 2001 I was the MP for the area. I have always said that we could not just blame the pogrom on the Nazis: shamefully, there were local Poles involved. I backed the Government’s establishment of an historians’ inquiry so that everything about this terrible episode in our history could be found out.

Like the Polish Prime Minister of the time, though, I did not think it right that our then President should apologise for the whole Polish nation. I argued that responsibility lay with those Poles who had committed that cruel crime. I thought his apology on Poland’s behalf might diminish the Nazis’ ultimate responsibility for the Holocaust. People may or may not agree, but I think it a legitimate argument to make.

I am proud of my record in combating anti-Semitism. I have used my seat in the European Parliament to highlight how it still festers in parts of Poland. I am active in the European Friends of Israel. I am equally proud of my Party’s record. Our most senior figure, Lech Kaczynski, as mayor of Warsaw, donated city land to help found Poland’s Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Now President of Poland, he has the privilege of being the first Polish head of state ever to attend a Jewish religious service in a Polish synagogue.

I want a real debate about the politics of the European Union. If people disagree with the European Conservatives and Reformists’ chief principle – that we should aim for a Europe of nation states, not a European superstate – let them make their case. People in the Brussels establishment may disagree, but I think it right that there should be an official alliance in the European Parliament championing the tens of millions across Europe who believe in our vision of Europe’s future. I am honoured to have as my colleague the Yorkshire Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope, without whose selflessness and leadership our new alliance to bring change to Europe could never have succeeded.

Let us argue vigorously about what kind of European Union we want. But political disagreements must never excuse employing smears, like false allegations of anti-Semitism, as political weapons. The danger of anti-Semitism, like other kinds of racism, is too serious to be misused for partisan attacks.

Read the whole article HERE.


LM said...

dont worry stephen Pollard says he's not anti semitic - So that's official then.

resurgemus said...

Why is Mcmillan Scott still listing himself as a Conservative ?

I thought he had had the whip withdrawn; indeed I can't understand why he still hasn't been expelled.

He was happy enough to stand under a course of action he knew in advance, only to reject it when he got safely elected. This man needs to be ejected and left to enjoy his "principles" alone.

Anonymous said...

yeah get rid of the smoking ban, o.k a few non smokers may die of passive smoking, but if the smoking ban is making a few landlords loose some business, this is worse

DespairingLiberal said...

He makes a reasoned case and puts things in a different light to some of the alleged views he is said to hold or have held.

One must always be cautious though when approaching the history of the behaviour of people across occupied Europe with regard to Jews. Even though the Polish people were themselves brutally oppressed by the Nazis (and in many cases heroically fought against it), there were also sadly many who actively joined in persecution of Jews. It is this latter point that they find hard to accept and this is also true in many other countries, in both Western and Eastern Europe. The Poles are not uniquely awful but it does behove them (and everyone else) to at least be honest about this, as about all other aspects of the war.

I don't claim the Poles were especially bad. Even in the Channel Islands, close to Britain, some people collaborated with the Nazis and denounced Jews and helped with their deportation.

strapworld said...

Despairingly Liberal obviously understands what it must have been like living under the tyranny of the nazis and the communists. From what is his knowledge gained?

From this side of the fence one can only read to attempt to understand the fear and daily threats of such totalitarian regimes, that drive people to bow to them.

My total admiration is for those people, like Mr Kaminski, who despite all the obvious dangers, joined with others to oppose such regimes. Those such brave people who worked in the resistance against the nazi's (many communists it must be said) and who lost their lives as a result of their valour.

londonmuslim attempts a cheap point against Stephen Pollard, who happens to be jewish but who is brave enough- in his own name and not hidden behind an alias as londonmuslim bravely does- brave enough to tackle those who are, in his opinion anti semetic.

I have taken the trouble to read as much as I can about Mr Kaminski and I can say this. I would rather have Mr Kaminski in my corner than the despicable Macmillan Scott orlondonmuslim /depairingliberal and all the rest of those that open mouths without engaging brains.

Anonymous said...

Strangely, I haven't had a reply from Menace Macshame to an email I wrote asking for his sources.

Quietzapple said...

Time to re-examine the use of "Nazi" and "fascist" in my view:


Quietzapple said...

Scott at the very least has an independent mind, and seems respected by those who work with him (from WIKI):

Edward Hugh Christian McMillan-Scott (born 15 August 1949) is a British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament.

He was re-elected as a Conservative Party representative for the Yorkshire and the Humber constituency in the 2009 election.

He subsequently stood and was re-elected as one of the Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament in opposition to the the official candidate of the European Conservatives and Reformists group to which he belonged. As a result of his candidature he had the whip withdrawn and is now seated as a non-attached (Non-Inscrit) MEP.

McMillan-Scott is noted for several high profile campaigns that he has been involved in.

He founded the European Democracy Initiative for developing democracy and civil society in the ex-Soviet bloc countries.

He drove forward the European Union (EU)–China relationship and campaigned for an EU political boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

He also campaigned for children's rights and the establishment of an Amber Alert system in EU countries.

One can see how he might be at odds with Kaminsky, whatever the precision of the situation, and also with his party and its right wing.

LibCync said...

What about his support for Lisbon Treaty Iain?

Or will that be conveniently glossed over?

Word verification: "scruf" - how did it know?

DespairingLiberal said...

Strapworld - I never said I did have personal knowledge. But three of my uncles, my father and my grandfather all fought bravely against Hitler on many different fronts and in different battles and I have learned a lot from listening to them and from a (I hope fairly large) reading of second world war, German and European history.

I am certainly not arguing that the Poles did not go through hell and back, nor am I singling them out for criticism.

I have no doubt at all that if Britain had been invaded by the Nazis, similar things would have happened here.

Pete Chown said...

It's interesting to read this explanation, but it doesn't deal with all the allegations:

- Apparently Kaminski met Pinochet and gave him a gift. He described this as "the most important meeting of my life." Why does Kaminski want to be friends with someone who killed thousands of innocent people?

(Admittedly this would be a tough argument for Labour to make, following the brutalisation of Iraq. Kaminski was friends with someone who brutalised a country, but Labour actually did it themselves.)

- Why did Kaminski make offensive references to gay people?

I wish the Tories and Cameron well with creating an anti-federalist bloc. It will be a big step forward for Europe if it comes off. That doesn't mean I'm going to ignore these legitimate questions, though.

Anonymous said...

Over at Coffee House there is quite a bit of infantile comment about the word 'progressive'. The likes of McMillan-Scott are reactionaries who should be thrown out of the conservative party.

Actually of course he is not a reactionary he is a self serving pompous oaf from the Quentin Davies school of conservatism.

These attacks by Labour show how desperate they are willing they are to tell crude lies.

Budgie said...

Edward McMillan-Scott is an in-your-face europhile and so it is hardly surprising that he has been prepared to stoop to almost anything in support of his beloved "project".

He was obviously happy about standing under the Tory (Cameron) banner of forming a new right of centre grouping. Otherwise he would have done the honourable thing and refused to stand at the recent Euros, wouldn't he?

As a serving MEP he must have known of the possible partners beforehand. He has no excuse for his smears. He has no excuse for his betrayal of the Tory voters who put him in his lucrative position.

DespairingLiberal said...

Pete Chown is right on the money, but of course, Kaminski's Pinochet love-in was only following in the footsteps of many British Conservatives, including Norman Lamont and a rather recent famous British woman prime minister. They all admire Pinochet for his Chicago-school monetarism which allegedly "turned round Chile" - it didn't - Chile only recovered economically after Pinochet's government was ousted.

The fact that amongst other things, Pinochet's men pushed young socialist women into pits and shot them, attacked and burned a childrens home for having a communist teacher and tortured thousands of "enemies of the people" means precious little to these fine Tory nabobs speaks volumes for their true beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Guardian reports that he has argued in the European Parliament meeting of leaders of political groups for the speedy ratification and implementation of the Lisbon Treaty.

tee hee hee.

Where's Hannan when you tories need him?

Jimmy said...

It would appear that he is no longer trying to deny the Nasza Polska interview. Is he now going to explain his remarks?

Gary Elsby stoke said...

"I grew up in the 1980s with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan as my political heroes. However controversial at home, east of the Iron Curtain they were loved"(Kaminski).

Has this man no shame?

Osama the Nazarene said...

DL, Kaminiski is by no means alone among those suffering the yoke of socialism / communism to look for hope in what Pinochet did.

In the 70s a misguided leftie friend of mine travelled to Czechoslovakia, as it then was, taking underground and democratic literature from the west to various groups in Prague. You can imagine how he was taken aback when the people to whom he was delivering this literature couldn't stop singing the praises of Pinochet and what he had done to the socialists / communists of Chile. "Goulash a la Allende" being a favourite saying of theirs.

When the jackboot of socialist totalitarianism is on your neck you tend not to be too fussy in seeking out friends and allies.

Unknown said...

Agree Osama, I think any reasonable person must feel for the plight of East Europeans stuck for decades under the Stalinist boot. I am just reading Max Hasting's excellent book "Armageddon", which vividly captures the wanton cruelty the Russians showed as they advanced across those territories. We do need to understand Polish views in the round.

It is also true though that many Poles fought hard against both Nazism and Soviet Stalinism without losing touch with decency or moderation. But others did. It is this latter fact that Kaminski and his fellow revisionists can't acknowledge. One thinks for example of Nazi punishment camp Stutthof, where 85,000 Jews and others died, largely staffed by Polish guards in it's later years.

Given Norman Lamont's intense support for Pinochet during his "unexpectedly long" stopover in Britain, I wonder what his views on the Chilean dictator were during his Chancellorship? When his bagman and full-time assistant was none other than David Cameron.

Could it be that the Kaminski/Cameron connection goes back some time?

Might it in fact not be just a total accident that the Tory leadership are now so closely tucking up with Euro-revisionists and people of a decidely mixed attitude towards Jews and Gays?