“Leader Nikos Michaloliakos and six colleagues were convicted of heading a criminal group. Supporter Giorgos Roupakias was found guilty of murdering an anti-racist musician and 15 others were convicted of conspiracy in the case … As well as the deadly stabbing of Pavlos Fyssas, defendants in the trial were also convicted of other violent attacks on migrants and left-wing political opponents”. The list of crimes went on.
“Five Golden Dawn members were convicted of the attempted murders of Egyptian fishermen and four of the attempted murder of communist activists in the PAME union”. The propensity to Nazi sympathy and imagery was pored over in some detail by Alex Andreou in a must-read article for Byline - published more than five years ago.
This puts one editor in what Spike Milligan might have called A Very Difficult Position. Because Golden Dawn had been not merely excused, but lionised, by Taki Theodoracopulos in his High Life column for the increasingly alt-right Spectator magazine, edited by Fraser Nelson, under the watchful eye of his chairman, Andrew Neil. There will be a significant measure of chin-stroking at Owen Jones’ place this morning.
Taki had caused such a furore with his excusing of Golden Dawn in 2013 that Press Gazette covered the ruckus. His column dishonestly asserted “Golden Dawn came into being because of PC, poor Greeks at times getting fewer benefits than African illegal immigrants. Then GD became very popular with certain poor Greeks while it defended them from being mugged by Albanian criminals and drug dealers, and for safeguarding older folk after bank withdrawals”. Nelson then defended the article.
He's involved, too
“Our readers like diversity and well-written pieces that they disagree with. We have no party line”. In response, Sunny Hundal presciently asked “Does the Spectator not have any limits to this broad church at all? Can one write a piece praising Hitler too?”.
And so, five years later, it came to pass: Taki brought forth “In praise of the Wehrmacht”. He saluted their “resistance”, telling readers “The real story of D-Day is the heroism of the German soldiers who were vastly outnumbered but fought nobly and to the death”. Nelson later excused that one with “People like reading well-argued pieces with which they might disagree”. But now Golden Dawn has been judged a criminal group, all is changed.
You'll have to speak up, I'm a bit Mutt and Jeff
How can the Speccy’s editor defend publishing material promoting a gang of Nazis, excusing their excesses, and all the while deflecting criticism by claiming it was merely the PC brigade? How many more times can Fraser Nelson hide behind FREEZE PEACH?
After the verdicts were handed down in Athens today, Fraser Nelson should have stopped and thought. And then he should have resigned his post. But he won’t.
Because that would require principle. And he hasn’t got any. I’ll just leave that one there.
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