The ruckus following David Miliband’s speech to last week’s Labour conference has carried on, not least because some of the representatives from Young Dave’s new Euro-Pals are to visit the Tory gathering this week in Manchester.
Yesterday, Tory chairman Eric Pickles demanded a retraction from the boy Miliband over the Foreign Secretary’s comments. More significantly for this blog, a regular commented that there was little of what those Stateside call backstory available on the issue, so I’ve had a little delve through the media archives.
Mention of the Latvian party first surfaced back in June when the Tories were putting together their new grouping in the European Parliament. At the time, they had four seats in the EP, but as there is only one of them in the European Conservatives and Reformers’ grouping, it must be assumed that the others lost their seats in the latest Euro-Elections.
However, the involvement of Fat Eric has come rather later: the comments upon which Miliband has seized come from an exchange on the Today programme on the 22nd of last month, where the question of Tory alliances in Europe was broached by the Lib Dems’ Chris Huhne.
The significant dissent from Pickles’ attempt to brush off Huhne’s criticism then came the following Monday in a comment piece for the Guardian by Efraim Zuroff, who is no mere pundit: he is the chief Nazi hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and a Holocaust historian. Zuroff is dismissive of the Tory view of this chapter in European history.
Given the authority of the source, it’s not surprising that Miliband has refused to back down.