Just who are the unacceptable extremists, Douglas Carswell?

Douglas Carswell, UKIP MP for Clacton, has got into a spot of bother. Yesterday he tweeted a picture of a pro-Remain advert in the Daily Mail taken out by the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, with the comment “Quite something that the extremist Jobbik party in Hungary wants us to Remain. You want political union w/ them?”

Jobbik are, indeed, extremist and openly anti-semitic. And Viktor Orbán is a pretty nasty piece of work himself. But a member of Jobbik he is not: he leads the slightly-less-openly-extreme Fidesz party. But, this epic fact-checking fail aside, I’m fascinated by this, because whilst Carswell would seem to imply that we wouldn’t want to be hanging with extremists, UKIP appear have no issues with political alignment with quite a range of people who might rather easily be considered to fit that description. In the European Parliament their MEPs sit in the European Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group; indeed Nigel Farage himself is co-president of the group. This group includes:

  • Beatrix von Storch, MEP for the hard right Alternative for Germany and who, amongst other views, has suggested that trespassing refugees (including women and children) be gunned down;
  • Robert Iwaszkiewicz, MEP for the Polish KNP party which is so far to the right that Marine Le Pen ruled out aligning the French National Front with them and, at the time of the group’s formation, was led by Janusz Korwin-Mikke who thinks that the distinction between consensual sex and rape is “very subtle,” that Hitler was “probably not aware that Jews were being exterminated,” that the public “should not see the disabled on television,” and who has described immigrants as “human garbage”;
  • the Swedish Democrats, who were founded as a white supremacist group, though they have apparently “learned from their mistakes”; and
  • the Lithuanian Order and Justice party, whose leader Rolandas Paksas was impeached for his links to Russian organized crime.

The EFDD is a reincarnation of the former Europe of Freedom and Democracy group, of which UKIP was a member and Farage was also co-president. In this case, he happily co-chaired it with one Franceso Speroni of Italy’s Northern League, whose considered opinion is that “Anders Breivik’s ideas are in defence of western civilisation.”

But one need not even look outside UKIP to find such nastiness. I posted before about the range of charming, delightful views that can be found from within its very membership: to this list we can add their (thankfully unsucessful) parliamentary candidate Przemek Skwirczynski, who takes smiling selfies with Korwin-Mikke. And Nigel himself, of course, is “proud” to have taken a third of former BNP voters.

One wonders what Douglas Carswell’s definition of extremist is, that includes Jobbik but presumably excludes the assorted vicious racists, criminals, homophobes, and sexists whom his party happily embraces. Perhaps—and I’m going out on a limb here—it’s whether or not they support Brexit?

Good British fun

It’s been a wet weekend in São Paulo, and as I don’t really know anyone here, and the much-needed rain has been a decided discouragement to exploration, I’ve been largely at a loose end, just going to the gym, moseying around shopping centres, and chowing down on awesome mineiro food. Not a great many opportunities for fun.

I was delighted, therefore, to find that the United Kingdom Independence Party has offered its members the chance to not only have fun, but even win prizes, by rating how much they hate—sorry, “feel close to”—different social groups. Groups like “Eastern Europeans,” “Blacks,” “Muslims,” “Asians.” Give ’em a score from 0 to 10! What fun! What good, British, fun.

Alas, the survey has either been taken down or is in a members-only part of the site, so I could not fill it in. But even with the few examples from the screen shots, it turned out to be a perplexing rather than a fun task. For some reason—some hideous, progressive, rational reason—I found myself totally incapable of asserting how close I felt to such large and heterogenous groups.

So, simple-minded man that I am, I decided to have a go at version of my own, using individuals. I know, I know. Such a failure of abstractive ability. I decided to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, how utterly, irredeemably, loathsomely vile I found the following detrita of humanity:

Turns out they all got a 10. But then I had to go and allow an 11 for the man who defends, in part or whole, all these people; who aligns his party with a Holocaust-denier so far-right that the French National Front will not associate with him; who happily co-chairs an EU Parliament group with a man who thinks that Anders Breivik has “ideas … in defence of western civilisation”; who feels awkward when he cannot hear English being spoken in a train carriage; who selects the war-mongering autocrat Vladimir Putin as the statesman he most admires; who would ban migrants with HIV from entering the UK; who thinks that his party only “possibly” should not accept funds from a man who denies the existence of marital rape; who sought the endorsement of Enoch Powell, and twice asked him to stand for his party; whose election materials slam funding of Eurocrats but boasts of having received £2m in expenses, expenses which repeatedly look like they have been fiddled; who thinks breast-feeding mothers should sit in corners and not be “ostentatious”; who poses as a man of the people yet considers his £79,000 salary (before expenses, fiddled or otherwise) makes him “poor”; and who is “proud” that former BNP voters now vote for him.

I think I must have got something wrong though. I didn’t, in the end, find this exercise in hatred any fun at all. I just found it terribly, terribly, terribly depressing.