The European elections are underway – I’ll be voting up the road tomorrow, here in Dublin’s city centre. However, as much as I’ll be avoiding voting for the space cadets that seem to be running Fianna Fail at the moment, I’ll certainly not be voting for the weird all-over-Europe-like-a-rash Libertas party.
On the RTE website, there’s a story called Libertas reveals new Wiesenthal alliance… but the article suggests no such thing! Instead it details a foot-in-mouth retraction by Libertas following a press statement from candidate Caroline Simons that the Jewish human rights organisation Simon Wiesenthal Centre was “beneath contempt” and “willing idiots”. I dug around and found that following the Libertas backpeddling, the pan-European party has suddenly claimed an alliance with the Wiesenthal Centre… tho I don’t see any evidence to say that the Wiesenthal Centre is happy with that matter. I’m watching that one with interest.
I’ve been suspicious of Libertas for quite some time now… they seem to be espousing a new European facism with a message of “trust us, but don’t ask why”. Their incompetence in releasing and then retracting press statements is not really the issue – the fact is, they are claiming one thing – that they’re everybody’s friend – while apparently seething with racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric under their breaths.
The Wiesenthal centre itself is not above criticism – it was involved in a controversy here in Ireland in recent years, concerning alleged Nazi loot at Limerick’s Hunt Museum. The Wiesenthal claims were later discounted by this report and described as a “tissue of lies” by Irish president Mary McAleese. Confused yet?
I’ve emailed RTE to complain about the confusing article title, as their article doesn’t explain the claimed alliance.
For background to the controversy:
Irish Times: The Nazi Hunters Pursuit of Libertas »
SWC Urges EU Fundamental Rights Agency to Investigate Libertas Pan-European Bloc’s Alleged Promotion of Racist Candidates »
BBC Hardtalk interview with Declan Ganley of Libertas »
Also check out this bit of comedy – Libertas are either very dodgy indeed, or very very stupid…
The Polish media have got wind of Libertas’ plan to stem the tide of Eastern Europeans coming to Ireland to work. The daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita carries a front page story on Libertas’ Caroline Simons’ suggestion that a new “blue card” (visa) system should be introduced to “reduce the burden to Ireland of caring for inhabitants of other member states”.
Gazeta Wyborcza’s EU correspondent also notes on her blog that Ganley appears to have given up his “rather liberal (free-market I mean) economic outlook”. The policy won’t go down well in Poland where Libertas Poland is campaigning to remove the last remaining restrictions on freedom of movement of workers in Germany and Austria. The restrictions on working abroad (seven years is the maximum allowed under EU rules) introduced by many old member states when the ten new states joined the Union in 2004 has been a constant irritant for relations between old and new Europe.
Irish Times: Libertas scores own goal in Poland »
Libertas: kick out Polish workers from Ireland »
More as we notice it…
Defaced Catherine Simmons poster on Rock Road, photo: Jane Ruffino (she didn’t deface the poster!)
Update 8/06/2009: It looks like my hopes true – Libertas got nowhere, and Ganley is pulling out of politics:
Ganley bows out of politics »