Labour’s online sheep certainly didn’t like it when their line of attack over who the Tories sit with in Europe was fired straight back at them on Sunday.
The first is the Social Democratic Party of Croatia, a party which enthusiastically endorsed the Presidential campaign of Stjepan "Stipe" Mesic - a man who in many former eastern-blok EU member states would be constitutionally banned from holding office as a result of the positions he held during Yugoslavia's communist dictatorship. A former Secretary General of the Non-Aligned Movement of the United Nations, Mesic's predecessors in this role include Fidel Castro, Josip Broz Tito, Robert Mugabe and General Suharto.
Secondly, the Labour Party enjoys formal links with the Social Democratic Parties of Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both parties were formed in 1991 from the remnants of the two country's Communist Leagues which ruled with an iron-fist under the centralised leadership of Yugoslav "President for life" Josip Broz Tito from 1936 to 1980. At one point, Tito's favourite method of suppressing political enemies (there were, at one point, some 7,000 of them) was to exile them to the island of Goli Otok. Nobody will ever know how many thousands of malnutritioned and exhausted political prisoners died on Goli Otok, battered by the island's chilling winter winds and summer temperatures of more than forty degrees.
Inside the Party of the European Socialists, Labour is also tied to the Socialist Party of Albania. The party was formed in 1991 following the establishment of democracy in the country, yet is viewed as the successor party to Enver Halil Hoxha's Party of Labour. As First Secretary of the party, Hoxha presided over one of the bloodiest regimes in modern history and enforced the closure of each of Albania's 2,000 places of worship. On a lighter note, Hoxha also appeared to share eccentric former Turkmen dictator Saparmurat "Turkmenbashi" Niyazov's irrational hatred of beards, banning them outright.
Last but not least, we come to the Viktor Yanukovych's Party of the Regions (yes, he of vote-rigging, pro-Krelmin, anti-Orange Revolution fame). I do not need to remind ConHome readers that the tactics of Yanukovych's party during the disputed Presidential election were widely criticised by the British government with then Labour Foreign Secretary Jack Straw heaping criticism on their attempts to subvert the "democratic will of the Ukrainian people".
The line that “Oh it’s fine because we didn’t leave one moderate grouping to sit with extremists” is bullshit and frankly not good enough. Firstly the grouping that the Tories left were no saints and secondly Labour have very much choosen to sit with PES and continue to strengthen their relationships with it’s various unsavoury members. Spin and mud.
Obviously there is a simple solution to this problem. How do we avoid having to deal with fringe movements and unwanted European alliances? What can we all agree on?
Yep you guessed it correctly. We’d be better off out.