Honeyball’s Weekly Round Up

Conservative, David Cameron


Today’s Observer has an extended feature in today’s main section by Anushka Asthana and Rafael Behr examining the first three months of the coalition government which if you haven’t read it yet you can do so  here.

The piece acknowledges the mistakes and setbacks but argues that legislation it has already passed will significantly change our lives. In the Labour Party I feel the last three months has been a quiet period of reflection. And now we are ready to fight once again. Once our new leader is in place the party will undoubtedly have a new, positive and clear direction.

The big news this week has been the decision by the Culture Secretary to close the UK Film Council. This is one of the country’s strongest growth industries, and for every £1 it spends it sees a return of £5 at the box office, this alone indicates that it’s not a charity or an organisation which just drains the economy of money. In fact it’s quite the reverse and there is a real return on investment.

I hope that we can put enough pressure on the government to re consider its decision and those involved directly or indirectly in the industry can save this organisation in some form. If you missed the story here is a piece from the ITN website which shows the feeling of Liam Neeson who is as outraged as many of the rest of us are.

David Cameron has acted naively and caused a full-scale diplomatic row after comments he made about Pakistan’s alleged links with terrorism earlier this week, upset the country.

A planned counter terrorism summit was cancelled after Pakistan’s intelligence officials said they would boycott the summit.

Today, David Miliband wrote a comment piece in the Independent and made a crucial point which was that Cameron would have been far better to discuss the ways in which we can support Pakistan. Miliband said: ‘Like a cuttlefish squirting out ink, his words were copious and created a mess.’ I couldn’t have put it better myself. You can read his article in full here.



images[1]It is not just his opponents who are pointing out that David Cameron is flirting with fascism and homophobia. Today Edward McMillan-Scott MEP who has lost the Conservative whip writes a withering attack which exposes the extremism of the Conservative Party. With all respect to the Yorkshire Post it deserves wider circulation. I have written previously about the hopeless political strategy that the Conservatives have adopted. To form a group in the European Parliament you need political parties from at least sevendifferent countries. The new Conservative group originally had eight, but the Finns were embarassed by some of the new partners and left. This means Cameron is at the whim of tantrum politics. If any of the paties in the new European Conservatives and Reformist (ECR) Group are unhappy they can threaten to leave and he has to submit to this blackmail. These small parties could easily leave and join one of the other right wing groupings. That means the termination of the group and the consequent loss of administrative resources, money and most importantly positions of political influence.

McMillan-Scott explains, who stood as an independent candidate for Vice-President of the European Parliament and defeated Polish Pinochet fan Michael Kaminski, explains some of the shenenigans which has gone on in th3e ECR Group:

 “In an undemocratic vein, my Yorkshire colleague, Timothy Kirkhope – leader of the Conservative MEPs – who that day had been elected leader of the ECR, was simply replaced by Kaminski.”

No votes, no discussion, just a diktat to  give in to the demands of the Polish extremists because they had threatened to walk out.

McMilan-Scott goes on:

“It has now been disclosed, as Kaminski should have done to the Conservative Party when nominated for Vice-President, that he has had fascist links – he was a member of Poland’s notorious fascist National Revival (NOP) – and he tried, as its MP, to cover up one of the worst anti-Jewish atrocities in wartime Europe.”

Turning to gay rights:

“Kaminski was pictured on Polish TV in 2000 using a homophobic term which even the interviewer says is offensive: Kaminski repeats it. He caused a storm at that time by using the pre-war anti-semitic slogan, “Poland for the Poles”. 


Conservative, Equal Rights

I was very concerned to find out this week that one of the Tory candidates for the European elections, Jean-Paul Floru (a Belgian national) apparently holds an association and affinity with a racist Belgian party called Lijst Dedecker or the LDD for short. In a newspaper interview with Het Nieuwsblad earlier this year Floru seemingly complimented the LDD on their “pure ideology.” And of even greater concern he confessed to maintaining “close contact with Jean-Marie Dedecker.”


Top left: LDD candidate Patrick Ghys, 8th candidate for the region Antwerp (regional elections coinciding with the European elections) pictured in a racist election poster from a previous election; Top Right: JP Floru; Bottom: JM Dedecker.

Jean-Marie Dedecker is the founder of the LDD party. Dedecker opposes the “cordon sanitaire” of the mainstream parties impose on fascist Belgian parties by refusing to enter into coalitions with such extremists. In early 2007 Dedecker arranged for part of the party VLOTT, cartel partner of “Flemish Interest” (the Belgian equivalent of the BNP) to join his party. To emphasise the racist nature of thses people, I’ve put up a picture of a vile racist Gorilla poster that was used by one of these LDD candidates in a previous election.

But the Gorrilla election poster is not just an isolated example. I’ve been presented with evidence stretching back years that the LDD and its members are racists. The LDD has refused to denounce racist comments about Muslims made in on Belgian TV and has high ranking politicians who have participated in racist, inflammatory marches through the streets of Brussels. In addition,  Jurgen Verstrepen, a prominent politician in LDD has also confessed in a published book that he was present at political meetings (presumably with members who joined post-2007) where Nazi-songs, such as the party hymn of Hitler’s NSDAP, were sung.

I am truly shocked and horrified at what I have uncovered here. It has made me feel sick that this vile racism is still being touted around. Floru needs to clarify the extent of his involvement with the LDD, its leaders, supporters and allied organisatons. He needs to explain why he spoke admiringly of a racist party and its leader. Its the least the people of London deserve come June 4th.


Conservative, Expenses, Labour Party

Would you believe it? Disgraced Den Dover, expelled from the Tory delegation in the European Parliament last year for alleged gross misconduct over expenses claims, has launched legal action in the European Court. He is attempting to clear his name.

Dishonest Den has been asked by the European Parliament to return hundreds of thousands of pounds claimed without justification.

Den Dover drives what he thinks is the gravy train...but really is a dumper truck. Dumping on his constituents and all European tax payers.

Den Dover drives what he thinks is the gravy train...but really is a dumper truck. Dumping on his constituents and all European tax payers.

Mr Dover has now said nothing will be repaid pending the court action.

Den has, of course, denied any abuse of the expenses system over payments of about £750,000 which were paid to a family firm, MP Holdings Ltd, in European Parliament staff allowances between 1999 and November last year.
His suspension and then expulsion from the Tory group of MEPs came after the demand for repayment last November, following a European Parliament inquiry.
But Mr Dover continues to receive his full salary and allowances, including his daily allowance on the days he has the brass neck to be seen in the European Parliament.

In keeping with his dishonest demeanour, Disgraceful Den is on record as dismissing the issue as “a big fuss and bother” and has insisted he will fight a “robust” case in court.


Conservative, Labour Party, Prison, Tory Boy, UKIP

MEP Tom Wise charged with fiddling accounts and money laundering

Tom Wise

Tom Wise launders your tax whilst enjoying a glass of Belgium beer and bragging to a journalist. Who said men can't multi-task?

News that Tom Wise and his assistant are facing up to 14 years in jail, for money laundering, I hope will warn  other scurrilous politicians off abusing the expenses system of the European Parliament. Such a disgraceful abuse of power is an embarrassment to the UK.

Tory MEP Den Dover has still not paid back the £445,000 that he owes the Parliament in ‘unjustified expenses’. I can only hope that the law comes after him in a similar way.


Conservative, europe, Labour Party

Denis MacShane has just written this article for the new look, vastly improved “Tribune” .  Denis asks WILL KEN DO A GEOFFREY HOWE?

Just when you thought the Conservative Party could not get any more hardline against Europe, William Hague has announced that Kenneth Clarke will be expected to vote “No” in any future referendum on a European Union treaty. Overlooked in the Damian McBride furore, the Shadow Foreign Secretary used an Easter weekend interview in the Daily Telegraph to warn the Shadow Business Secretary that he must toe the Hague line on Europe and vote against ratifying new EU treaties. Hague also says the Tories will call for a retrospective referendum to reject Europe if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified later this year.

Kenneth Clarke

Kenneth Clarke says "No" to Europe

It seems that Hague is now back wearing his mugger’s baseball cap and taking aim by roughing up his much older Shadow Cabinet colleague in the columns of the press. Will Clarke accept this humiliation? Or, like Geoffrey Howe finally rebelling against Margaret Thatcher’s anti-EU posturing, will he stay true to his pro-European beliefs?

Current Tory hostility to Europe is without precedent in post-war British politics. Even in the worst days of Labour’s Euroscepticism in the 1980s, politicians such as John Smith and Tony Blair were allowed to stand up for Europe. Hague is telling Clarke to renege on a lifetime’spro-Europeanism and instructing all other Tories who want to work with Europe to keep quiet.

In tactical terms, Hague’s appeal may be aimed at trying to get hardline anti-EU voters to return to the Tory fold ahead of June’s European parliamentary elections. But these voters are ready to vote for the UK Independence Party and the British National Party, as those two extreme parties share the same objective of immediate British withdrawal from Europe.

Hague dare not go that far, although the Yorkshire-based “Better Off Out” group of Tory MPs look to him as their man who will so wreck Britain’s relations with Europe that withdrawal becomes possible. However, Hague could not have laid down the challenge to Clarke without Conservative leader David Cameron’s decision to break links with mainstream conservative parties in Europe – the most isolationist move in decades of British politics.

Nominally, the Tories are now looking for partners among European parties who share Hague’s anti-EU fixation. This has already led to an embarrassing meeting with Latvian right-wing politicians who venerate the Waffen SS.

Hague’s hunt for anti-EU right-wing parties with which to align is going to be tricky. One favourite of Conservative Eurosceptics is Philippe de Villiers, the French right-wing MP whose “Movement for France” uses anti-Lisbon Treaty language similar to the Tories. Unfortunately, de Villiers has blamed the current recession on “cosmopolitan financiers” – and “cosmopolitan” in French, as in English, is a codeword for Jewish. So it’s no go there as the Conservatives hunt for anti-EU bedmates.

Phillippe de Villiers campaigning for a 'Non' vote

Phillippe de Villiers campaigning for a 'Non' vote

The other friend of the Tories in Europe, the Czech right-wing Civic Democratic party has just been ousted from power after its leader attacked Barack Obama for taking the American economy on the “road to hell”.

But it is doubtful if Hague is serious about forging links with a ragbag of oddball rightist parties in Europe. His objective is to create conditions in which Britain moves to the exit door of the EU. The implications for global policy and this country’s relationship with the United States, China, Russia and the Commonwealth are enormous, as the Foreign Office faces up to having an openly isolationist Foreign Secretary if the Tories win power.

It should not be forgotten that Cameron won the leadership of his party in 2005 by outflanking David Davis on hostility to Europe. After the first round, there were some 40 Tory MPs who had voted for Liam Fox, who never hides his venomous contempt for the EU which has been a long-standing feature of his right-wing politics.

Fox’s supporters offered their votes to whichever of the two remaining candidates in the race would appease their virulent anti-Europeanism. The price these anti-Europeans wanted for their votes was a pledge to break all links with the European People’s Party – the loose association of centre-right parties in Europe. Pulling out of the EPP was the first step on the road to pulling out of the EU.

To his credit, Davis knew that such a move was unsustainable. He refused to make the promise. Cameron was more cynical and more of an opportunist. He promised to give the anti-Europeans what they wanted. And he then appointed Hague as his chief foreign affairs spokesperson. Hague makes cheap jokes about the French and Germans and has always been an anorak when it comes anti-Europeanism.

In the past, Tory leaders in opposition could play the race card, as Margaret Thatcher did with her notorious “swamped by people of an alien culture” speech. She used this as a “dog-whistle” with which to win back Tory voters who switched to the National Front in the 1970s.

In 1976, Andrew Brons, an extreme right-winger obsessed with the ideology of the Nazi party stood for the NF in a Birmingham by-election and won 22 per cent of the vote. The Tories were worried that the NF would win support from racist admirers of Enoch Powell.

Thatcher’s speech, with its unmistakable xenophobic pledge to stop Britain from being “swamped” (she never said by precisely by whom, but everyone understood who she meant), killed the NF vote and encouraged the Powellite working class to back the Tories in 1979.

David Cameron dithering and dodging European issues

Cameron cannot play the race card. He is a liberal cosmopolitan without a gram of racism in his make-up. To his credit, he has promoted ethnic minority candidates, MPs and peers. He needs votes from Hindi, Muslim and other faith communities in order to win a majority.

Instead, to counter the racist appeal of the BNP, he is playing the anti-European card and using Hague, who does not bother to hide his contempt for Europe, as his dog-whistler.

With most newspapers pumping out anti-EU propaganda and with Labour failing to make the case for Europe with conviction and energy, the Tory strategy may work. But the price of an isolationist Britain will be high. And will Ken Clarke pay it?

Denis MacShane is Labour MP for Rotherham


Conservative, Labour Party
Christopher Beazley European Peoples Party MEP

Christopher Beazley European Peoples Party MEP

Further to my post yesterday Christopher Beazley has left the Conservative grouping in the European Parliament to rejoin the European People’s Party. He becomes I think the first  British MEP to take the whip from an European political party rather than a British one. In a way he is the most federalist British MEP ever. A footnote in history, or an obscure quiz question, the British MEP who put his European political party before his British party.

This is a small point in British politics but significant here in the Parliament because it again makes the Conservatives a split group. They split earlier in the Parliament term when Roger Helmer left the European Peoples Party. The Conservatives remain deeply divided on Europe, and also on expenses.

Mr. Beazley is retiring at the European elections in June. He has resisted the drive to greater openness on expnses and accountability.

When questioned by Open Europe he said:

“I would have to question the legality of these questions. What right do you have to ask these?”

and further  argued that MEPs’ taxpayer funded expense claims were not “a public matter”, that it was “private”. Ironically, he also insisted that, “everything I do is as transparent as possible”.

This may be another factor in his departure from the Parliament, what is it he does not want to publish?

There is no divide between Eurosceptics and Europhiles on the right about maximising expenses. Beazley’s name can be added to Conservative MEPs, Giles “whoops a daisy” Chichseter, Den Dover, David Sumberg, Robert Atkins, and no doubt more than I can recall at the moment. Enough to make their own group.

It is to their credit that the Conservatives are finally trying to pin down their MEPs on how they spend their money. Labour MEPs have all their accounts annuallyaudited, and have done so for many years. 

After the election there will be far more hardline Eurosceptic MEPs. As one Tory MEP said:

” The difference is Neil Kinnock lead your party away from your Militant Tendency, David Cameron is leading our party towards our Militant Tendency.”

I still think there may be other Conservative MEPs who will be unhappy with Cameron’s  lurch to work with gay bashing parties, and who will want to make a point by leaving the Conservative whip as Christopher Beazley has done. Once again, watch this space.


Conservative, Labour Party

As many readers will know the Tories have recently announced that they will be leaving the EPP (European People’s Party) grouping of mainstream Conservative parties in the European Parliament. It looks like David Cameron is going to form an alternative alliance with some incredibly nasty far right parties that have all sorts of views that British people reject, like racism, homophobia, sexism and small-mindedness.

The likely partners, the BBC reports are men like the Polish party “Law and Justice” who have attempted to stop gay pride marches. The BBC also reports that Law and Justice have also formed a coalition in Poland with the “League of Polish Families”, which Israel regards as anti-Semitic.  

The thing is that for all I strongly and vehemently disagree with Tory MEPs about many issues, I know that many of them do not hold views that would repulse most people in the UK and are decent people. Now I’m left wondering if these decent Tories will go along with Cameron’s policy or whether any of them will refuse to join this new cosy club of madcap right-wingers? 

I know the Tory delegation is hopelessly divided on Europe, just as they always were.  I think there may well be defections. Watch this space.


Conservative, Racism

Readers will remember that I blogged on the sexist Tory councillor in Nottingham who put up a calender with pictures of naked women in his council office.

Well now I’ve just been told of THIS racist behaviour by Tory councillor Bob Allen in Bolton, who been using his blog (which is now nowhere to be seen) to put a picture of a gorilla next to a picture of an Asian Labour Party opponent.

Tory and proud: Cllr Allen pictured (right) before he published a blog that has been condemned as racist

So now we’ve seen what many Tories are really like. Modernised? They have barely begun the process while they have people like standing for election. If this is the kind of thing they do in public, just think about what they say in private.

Councillor Allen’s blog is ironically called “Tell It To Me Like It Is.” Here’s my straight talking advice: do the decent thing and resign. The people of Bolton deserve better than this offensive behaviour.



It took the Tory Party ten days to triangulate and decide that on balance it is wrong for a Nottinghamsire Tory county councillor who may be meeting with victims of domestic violence, to have a calendar of topless women.

LabourList zero of the day David Taylor saw no problem with his calendar. The cynical calculation is that although the pictures of topless women are demeaning and degrading, David Taylor sees it as a price worth paying in his quest to gain votes.

David Cameron does some quality dissembling: “I don’t know the details of this case” OK Dave. This is not really acceptable for a Party leader. In the end Councillor Taylor only received a gentle ticking off. Strong leadership would have been a formal reprimand. This would certainly have happened in the Labour Party.

Since I exposed this in my blog on 30th January there has been silence from the Tory Party. I wrote to Theresa May but have received no response. Would it be cynical tosuggest there was no response until Dave had the chance to go to Nottingham and present himself as “modern”?

If it took them ten days to come to a simple decision like this, how on earth could the Tories hope to run the country? It had to go all the way up to the Leader. Does nobody else in the Tory Party know this is wrong?

Have a look at what the grassroots Tories say on Conservative Home. A Theresa May calendar? Gay calendars? PC Brigade? It is worth reading this trash and nonsense to remind ourselves of how really resistant the Tory Party is to women having an equal place in society. This is their authentic voice and their views. Any woman who hears a soft sound bite should not be taken in.

In the Labour Party Cllr. Taylor would not be allowed to stand for election again. In the Tory Party it is a little ticking off and carry on old boy, a big fuss about nothing. Finally a quick mention for our excellent candidate Rohini Simbodyal in the Jubilee Ward by-election in Enfield.  I’m off there later. Campaign details from Rohini on 07814 178 740. Leafleting and door knocking is from  6pm at Edmonton Labour Office at Broad House, 205 Fore Street, Edmonton, N18 2TZ.