Conservative Party

Has Ukip sold its soul for €2million?

 

There is apparently a battle currently being waged for the soul of the Conservative Party, at least according to the Jerusalem Post: “..the natural home of British Jews, still quietly but firmly Zionist, and with an emphasis on family, traditional values and enterprise.. (has) become a craven follower of popular trends.” Owen Jones goes a step further in the Guardian, where he argues that both the Tories and Labour have not so much sold their souls but surrendered them to a kind of soul sleep: “Technocratic, rootless, soulless; a professionalised morass of time-servers who see ministerial posts as springboards to nice little earners on corporate boards; manoeuvring constantly not on the basis of political principle but for shameless self-advancement.”

No one much bothers with the spiritual state of the Liberal Democrats, who, along with Richard Dawkins, evolved without a soul.

And then there’s Ukip, who, once gloriously pledged uniquely and solely (of not soully) to the magnificent cause of EU secession, now advance a bunch of (muddled) policies on economics, education, health, defence, energy, policing, welfare, housing, the minimum wage, HS2, wind turbines (and even whether or not to hold an EU referendum)..

And now, apparently, in the pursuit of €2million (or an awful lot more) of EU funding, they have teamed up with a Polish MEP in the European Parliament who comes from a party (the Congress of the New Right) whose leader, Janusz Korwin-Mikke, refers to the “Holocaust industry” and is of the view that “Jews are very talented people, and therefore are our worst enemies, because they are talented communists”. He’s said a few nasty things about minorities and women, too (though these may have been jokes..).

The Congress of the New Right won 7% of Poland’s vote in May’s European elections, thereby gaining four MEPs. Mr Korwin-Mikke says it would have been more had it not been for “the state, Catholics, Communists, the media attacking me all the way”. This party is deemed even by Marine Le Pen to be “too extreme”.

But Janusz Korwin-Mikke is not the man joining Nigel Farage’s Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group: only Robert Iwaszkiewicz will be doing so, and you can’t tarnish him with the views of his leader.

Or can you?

The Jewish Chronicle reports that the Board of Deputies of British Jews is “gravely concerned by reports that Ukip may sit in the same parliamentary grouping as a far-right Polish MEP in a bid save its funding”. They say:

Robert Iwaszkiewicz belongs to an extremist party whose leader has a history of Holocaust denial, racist remarks and misogynistic comments. For UKIP to choose such a figure as Robert Iwaszkiewicz as a bedfellow, apparently for money, is beyond belief. Nigel Farage now has some very serious questions to answer. He has placed in issue the credibility of Ukip.

For what shall it profit Ukip if they shall gain €2million in EU funding, and lose their soul?

Except.. except..

The Conservatives in the European Parliament are part of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group. This includes Poland’s Law and Justice Party, who have themselves been accused of the occasional bit of homophobia; and the Bulgaria without Censorship (BWC) coalition, who appear to have an “openly racist” MEP.

Politicians routinely dance with the devil and sell their souls for personal advancement. Many if not most are vocationally predisposed to ethical hustling and betraying their morals for personal gain. The greasy pole is manifestly worth a spell in purgatory, if not the risk of eternal damnation. It ought therefore to come as no surprise that political parties, being comprised of those same grasping and conspiring individuals, might occasionally if not routinely compromise their foundational philosophical principles for coalitions of power; prostitute their values in shady backroom realpolitik; or forge alliances with obnoxious foreigners in the pursuit of EU funding. This is the jungle of polity and the politics of statecraft. It ought not to be, but it is. So, as they say in the urban dictionary, “Get over it.”