On the face of it, the news that Richard “Dirty” Desmond was to donate £300,000 to Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP seems logical and predictable: his supposedly flagship title, the Daily Express, has effectively been the Daily UKIP for some time. But Des may not have done his due diligence on Mr Thirsty’s pals in Brussels.
While the print and broadcast media mulled the prospect of all the Desmond titles being forcibly swung behind the Farage fringe in the run-up to next year’s General Election – the Sunday Express still backs the Tories and the Daily Star recently flirted with the xenophobic and anti-anyone-who-doesn’t-speak-English EDL – few asked how anyone who is Jewish could back the Kippers.
Why should that be a problem? Ah well. When the European Parliament (EP) group of which UKIP is a part found itself short of the “seven countries’ MEPs” rule recently, with the Kippers therefore standing to lose a cool million in extra funds, the MEP they persuaded to come on board was Robert Iwaszkiewicz, who represents the Polish Congress of the New Right (KNP).
KNP leader Janus Korwin-Mikke has “called for the vote to be taken away from women, has claimed that the difference between rape and consensual sex is ‘very subtle’ and said that Adolf Hitler was ‘probably not aware that Jews were being exterminated’”. He “told the Wroclaw Gazette earlier this year that beating would ‘help bring many wives back down to earth’”, then claimed it was a joke.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD) Vice President Jonathan Arkush responded “The Board 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. Robert Iwaszkiewicz belongs to an extremist party whose leader has a history of Holocaust denial, racist remarks and misogynistic comments”.
Rafal Pankowski of Polish anti-racist group Never Again has said that “The Congress of the New Right’s leaders and leading members have often used anti-semitic stereotypes in their discourse and used the phrase ‘Jewish communism’ many times in speeches and articles”. One of this party’s MEPs has been welcomed into its EP group by UKIP. And now Desmond is making a £300k donation to UKIP.
Exactly how London’s Jewish community will react to that is not known, but the unequivocal stance of the BoD suggests Des might have his work cut out making his case. One can only stand and marvel at the vanity that wants a peerage so dearly that considerations like the Kippers’ flirtation with the far-right are not an obstacle to helping to oil the wheels of Mr Thirsty’s bandwagon.
So, despite their pals, UKIP is clearly another Benchmark Of Excellence!