His insinuation that Poland's Law & Justice Party is antisemitic- in particular the leader of the European Parliamentary group, Michal Kaminski, looks weak. Judging by the enthusiasm of the editor of the Jewish Chronicle for Kaminski I doubt the smears will work either.
Some of these continental parties have their share of nutters no doubt, however in order to make a case that leaving the EPP is a mark of extremism then you don't simply have to demonstrate that the new bedfellows are unsavoury but that they are worse than the previous allies, or the allies of other parties.
The supposedly moderate EPP for example includes:
- The Alleanza Nazionale of Italy who are the direct descendants of the Fascist party and whose Mayor of Rome has promised to expel all of the capital's gypsies from the city.
- The German CDU who have campaigned on slogans of "Children Not Indians".
- Poland's Civic Platform party who support removing children from Lesbian mothers.
- An Irish MEP who used to be in the IRA
- The Self-Defence of the Republic Party of Poland, whose leader has praised Hitler and has received honorary degrees from the antisemitic Interregional Academy of Personnel Management, who are connected with David Duke.
- An Italian Truther
- The successor parties to a number of Eastern European communist parties.
- A Turkish party with links to the PKK.
Contrived alliances with ideological extremists is an inevitable result of the structure of the European Parliament and the fact that it only becomes an issue when those nutters are less than 100% committed to an ever deeper European Union suggests that it isn't their extremism that it the issue.
Update: There is a great comment from Marko Attila Hoare, who is not a Conservative or on the right in any sense, in the comments at Harry's Place:
The last point is true, it isn't a case of the Law & Justice Party being great, they aren't, at best they are extremely chauvinistic and reactionary, but a case of whether they are markedly worse than the alternatives.
The pot is calling the kettle black.
The Labour Party in the Council of Europe belongs to the Socialist Group, which includes Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party of Vladimir Zhirinovsky - a Russian counterpart of the BNP. The Socialist Group also includes Aleksandr Babakov, the former leader of the Rodina party - whose members in the Russian Duma called for all Jewish organisations in Russia to be closed.
Sarkozy and Merkel are a disgrace to Europe - responsible for denying a NATO Membership Action Plan to Georgia and Ukraine last year; then muting European resistance to Russia’s invasion of Georgia. It’s totally understandable that David Cameron wants other allies. Unfortunately, he isn’t exactly spoilt for choice…