Thursday, 24 November 2011
UKIP: Nigel Farage & the EFD Borghezio-Speroni Scandal
Readers of this blog will be aware that both Borghezio and Speroni - EFD colleagues and friends of Nigel Farage - both openly praised Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Breivik.
Borghezio went on record as stating that “One hundred per cent of Breivik’s ideas are good, in some cases extremely good. The positions of Breivik reflect the views of those movements across Europe which are winning elections.”.
Speroni also praised Breivik as having ideas that "defended European culture. See: LINK & LINK & LINK
Nigel Farage's claimed that Borghezio had been suspended from the EFD for 3 months because of his comments. This later proved to be a lie. That Farage is more than happy to sit with men who can praise the murderer of children speaks volumes! LINK
Here are several excellent articles on Farage's duplicity over this issue. They are taken from the British Democracy Forum...........
Barboo has written very eloquently on here about the way Nigel Farage has handled the outrage over the remarks about the Breivik atrocities by the Northern League's Mario Borghezio and Francesco Speroni. According to a report in the Italian media (link here: Euroscettici inglesi contro Borghezio - ATTUALITA ) matters were supposed to come to a head during the week of 24-27 October. Here is a translation of the report:
British Eurosceptics against Borghezio
Call for Northern League’s expulsion from the European Group EFD.
Inside or outside. The fate of the Northern League MEP from Piedmont, Mario Borghezio; by the end of October, the party must decide what to do.
Keep him in or put him out of the EFD Group, Europe of Freedom and Democracy? Clamouring for his head are the British eurosceptic UKIP, prime force of the group, tired of the 'performance' of Borghezio and, more particularly, much annoyed by his statements on the killer of Oslo, Breivik, which had also provoked his suspension from the Northern League. For those words Borghezio has been suspended by the League and also, on September 13 last, the EFD, but a yellow card is not enough, they want him to be expelled.
"UKIP", reads a letter sent to their Italian colleagues, “calls on the Northern League to ask Borghezio to leave the EFD Group and go non-attached before the end of the legislature."
The decision will be made during the plenary session of October 24 to 27. "The UKIP delegation UKIP," said its leader Nigel Farage, is "very, very unhappy about Borghezio."
BETWEEN UFOs AND BURNED CLOTHES
The letter cited the MEP’s interests in "UFOs and the Bilderberg Group" and his act of "burning the clothes of immigrant children." But the straw that broke UKIP was "his comments and his timing about the Norwegian murderer Breivik" that "exceeded all bounds." Borghezio is accused of damaging the "reputation of other members of the group" with words that "will be used" against them "in the European elections of 2014."
THE DECISION OF THE LEAGUE
Now the ball is in the Northern League’s court, because Borghezio has no intention of taking a step back. "Just think, if I resign," he says by phone from the U.S. "I had a vote of 50 000 Padanians to represent the people proudly in Europe." For him the case was closed with an apology to the Norwegian ambassador in Italy, but not for the British, while the Leaguist Francesco Speroni, EFD co-leader, tries to pour water on the fire. "It is not yet closed, but neither is it said that you get to the most extreme solution." That is, the expulsion of Borghezio.
THE STATUTE OF THE WAR CHARIOT
According to statute, this (expulsion of a member) is decided by the affirmative vote of two thirds of the members. Speroni’s impression is that “from rumours, I do not think that there are the numbers, but if they all agree, the League will not have enough to save it (8 out of 27, Borghezio not voting - ed)."
Saving Borghezio means not to continue living with British colleagues. "If they insist," Speroni affirms constantly, “the group ends; it goes if just four jump from the EFD." In short, a delicate situation that, as UKIP asks, must be decided by the League. "But this would be a decision to be taken higher than me," admits Speroni, meaning the League’s party headquarters in Milan’s Via Bellerio.
So, it appears quite clearly from this report that Farage was to have been presented with a straight choice on the week of 24-27 October - Borghezio's expulsion or the EFD's survival. Principles or presidential position. His co-president, Mad Frankie Speroni, was telling him bluntly that he couldn't have both. Three weeks later, a look at the European Parliament's website shows that the EFD still exists and that Lega Nord MEPs, including Borghezio, are still being listed as part of it.
Farage and the rest of the UKIP MEPs appear to have kept very quiet about all of this, which is remarkable, because if the above report is accurate (and, as Speroni is quoted at length in it, there is plenty of evidence that it is), then the much-debated EFD faced nothing short of an existential crisis and, moreover, Farage was on the face of it making a great point of principle over Borghezio's future in the group. But since the whole furore over Borghezio and Speroni's comments first erupted, we have seen several examples of Farage huffing and puffing about it, only to do very little, if anything at all, when it comes to the crunch. Mad Frankie Speroni's own comments, for example, were initially condemned, alongside demands for apologies and retractions, and then quickly and entirely forgotten.
Another pattern one can glean is that Farage has been quite sly about making threats that are either unrealistic or else are not what they initially seem. For example, his initial threat was that UKIP MEPs would suspend their membership of the EFD if no apologies and retractions were forthcoming from Speroni and Borghezio. But that was never going to happen, a) because examination of the EFD Group's statutes show that there is no mechanism for voluntary suspension of membership and b) because, of course, if UKIP MEPs had nonetheless left the group, however temporarily, the EFD's membership would have dropped way below the required minimum and it would have collapsed immediately.
Now one might possibly detect another "all is not what it seems moment". The clue is in Farage's most peculiar demand that the Lega Nord asks Borghezio "to leave the EFD Group and go non-attached before the end of the legislature." That gives the League until June 2014! If that is correct, they are Farage's most weasel words yet on the shabby affair. Perhaps Speroni has quietly promised that Borghezio will leave the EFD quietly near the end of parliament, when it will not greatly matter, and Farage has in return promised to drop the whole issue, content in the knowledge that he can whip out the above mentioned letter at any moment, should any more inconvenient publicity arise.
In any event, one thing is clear - Borghezio is still in the EFD Group. So just what did happen on 24-27 October, or at any other time subsequent to the above media report? We should be told.
Well, we now have the answer to the question. Sadly, the answer is YES - Farage DID put the survival of the EFD ahead of principle.
From the Italian media: Ue: Borghezio reintegrato in gruppo Parlamento Ue - La voce degli Eurodeputati - ANSA Europa - ANSA.it
EU: BORGHEZIO REINSTATED IN EU PARLIAMENT GROUP
EFD had suspended sentence after the Oslo massacre
BRUSSELS – A three-month ban discounted, Mario Borghezio is officially reinstated in the EFD Group, Europe of Freedom and Democracy. The penalty was taken in the summer for the statements of the Piedmont MEP about the instigator of the Oslo massacre, Anders Breivik. Borghezio said he considered his ideas “good” and “shared” them, but then, also considering the controversy, apologised to the Norwegian Ambassador to Italy. For those expressions, Borghezio was suspended by the league and then, in parallel, from the Northern League team in Europe.
On 13 September the British eurosceptic UKIP, the largest party of the EFD, had also sent an ultimatum to League colleagues asking openly for Borghezio’s resignation from the group. 'His presence was considered “too high a price to pay'' and a weapon that the British press could use against UKIP “in the 2014 European elections''. But the threats were revoked this week, because the resignation or expulsion of Borghezio would put at risk the survival of the group, just two deputies over the minimum threshold of 25 members.
As I said in opening this thread, Farage had a straight choice - "Borghezio's expulsion or the EFD's survival. Principles or presidential position". He has taken the selfish and cowardly options. His various outpourings of fake disgust and feigned outrage at Borghezio's statements have proved to be not worth the paper they were written on. He has managed to be spectacularly stupid, too, because, having long brushed off or denied allegations that he was sitting with extremists in the EFD Group, he has committed to paper an admission of previous acts by Borghezio, such as setting fire to the clothes of immigrant children, and yet he has signalled that despite such criminal and extremist acts he is still prepared to sit in the same group as Borghezio, indeed to be president of that group.
The other damning point to emerge from Farage's weasel-worded letter to Speroni is this - Farage has admitted in writing that he recognises that Borghezio's continued presence in the EFD could be used by the press against UKIP in 2014, and yet ultimately he is not prepared to do anything about it. Ultimately, he is even prepared to knowingly imperil the party's election prospects if they come between him and his precious group of extremists and pro-Europeans. The message is that Farage values his position as EFD President above his responsibilities as UKIP leader.
In cowardly fashion, Farage threw the ball into the Lega Nord's court, surely knowing that two Padanian fingers would be the only response. But the power to do something remains in Farage's own hands. In the immediate aftermath of Borghezio and Speroni's foul remarks about the Norwegian atrocities, he was quite unequivocal about both Lega Nord MEPs. "I have written to the leadership of the Northern League party to demand an immediate full retraction and apology", said Farage on the UKIP website. "If my request is not met, then we will suspend our membership of the EFD group." Four months later, there has been no full retraction from either Borghezio or Speroni, but both of them remain in the EFD Group, UKIP MEPs remain in the EFD Group, and Mad Frankie Speroni even continues to be EFD Co-President alongside Farage. Indeed, Speroni's part in this scandal was forgotten by Farage within days and all attention, such as it was, was focussed on Borghezio. As soon as it became clear that Farage's call for "immediate" retractions was just bluster, Speroni was able to laugh in the face of any further idle threats that followed from his co-president over the ensuing months.
As the EU descends into chaos and imposes its unelected "prime ministers" on previously democratic member states in ever more desperate attempts to avert the crisis, and while Cameron, Clegg and Miliband gaze on cluelessly, the people of Britain are crying out for real leaders. Real tests of leadership are not about who can fire easy shots on YouTube. The Borghezio-Speroni Scandal was a true test of moral and political leadership and Farage comprehensively bottled it. It called for a man, and Farage has shown he is a mouse.
Reg Anthony. LINK
And here are Barboo's comments on the same subject:
Speroni was directly quoted by the Guardian, saying: "Breivik's ideas are in defence of western civilisation", and "I'm with Borghezio. I don't think he should resign. If [Breivik's] ideas are that we are going towards Eurabia and those sorts of things, that western Christian civilisation needs to be defended, yes, I'm in agreement".
In a statement on 28 July, UKIP said Nigel Farage had contacted Speroni, his EFD co-president, "to demand an immediate retraction and apology following his remarks and those of his fellow Northern League MEP Mario Borghezio . . . . If no retraction is forthcoming then UKIP will suspend its membership of the EFD group in which it sits alongside the Italian political party".
On 29 July, UKIP's follow up statement said Speroni had written to Farage saying that he condemns the massacre and the extreme fundamentalism in question - an addition to his earlier remarks.
Has Speroni withdrawn the statements he made in support of Borghezio?
No, he has not.
Has Speroni retracted his agreement with Breivik's ideas?
No, he has not.
Has Speroni apologised?
No, he has not.
Has Nigel Farage suspended UKIP MEPs' membership of the EFD as he said he would?
Apparently not. It seems Borghezio has been suspended by his party and UKIP says it is satisfied that this "will send a clear message that they, and we will not have any truck with such disgraceful sentiments now or in the future". Farage is convening the EFD next week to suspend Borghezio from the group.
So that's it. The book thrown at Borghezio; Speroni quietly forgotten. UKIP can trumpet that Farage has taken "prompt action", and the EFD can survive with the temporary loss of one Italian.
Note that Farage's demands for "an immediate retraction and apology" from Speroni are for home consumption only. The EFD's website doesn't mention them, or the threat to suspend UKIP MEPs' membership of the group.
An interesting aspect of this is that one of those who has condemned Borghezio's comments, calling them "terrible, unspeakable remarks", is the Lega Nord MP and cabinet minister Roberto Calderoli, the man indirectly responsible for UKIP MEPs and their allies expelling the Lega Nord from their previous Independence & Democracy group.
Calderoli was not even an MEP, yet in 2006 his party was expelled from the Ind/Dem following his provocative comments and TV appearance wearing a T-shirt bearing a copy of one of the Danish Muslim cartoons.
There has been no talk of expelling Speroni and Borghezio, whose comments have caused the current outrage; only of UKIP MEPs 'suspending' their EFD membership.
And it looks like Farage is welching on even that!
He gave Speroni an ultimatum - make an immediate full retraction and apologise, or we suspend our membership of the group.
Speroni has done neither. He's stuck two metaphorical fingers up at UKIP's leader and Farage has backed down, talking now of convening the EFD Bureau to suspend Borghezio instead.
He wouldn't need to run to the Bureau for consent if he'd kept his word and suspended UKIP's membership. He could have done that all by himself!
And finally .....
At the end of July, following the mass murder of young Norwegians by Anders Behring Breivik, UKIP issued two statements regarding comments made by their MEPs' EFD colleagues Mario Borghezio and Francesco Speroni.
On 28 July, UKIP wrote: "Nigel Farage said: "I have written to the leadership of the Northern League party to demand an immediate full retraction and apology. If my request is not met, then we will suspend our membership of the EFD group".
A clear and unequivocal undertaking.
On 29 July, following Speroni's reply, UKIP wrote: "Mr Farage is convening the governing Bureau of the EFD Group in the European Parliament next week in order to suspend Mr Borghezio from his membership of the group".
Another clear and unequivocal undertaking, yet if Borghezio had retracted and apologised as Farage demanded, why was he to be suspended? And if he had not retracted and apologised, Farage (having suspended UKIP MEPs from the group as stated on July 28), would not then be in a position to convene the Bureau and suspend Borghezio.
So where is the retraction and apology, and on what date and with what outcome was the Bureau convened?
Because despite UKIP's statements and Nigel Farage's assurance, UKIP MEPs are still sitting and voting in the European parliament with their EFD colleagues Speroni and Borghezio. See Roll-call votes, Busuttil Report, 13.9.2011
(Against) EFD: (The Earl of) Dartmouth, Agnew, Andreasen, Batten, Bizzotto, Borghezio, Bufton, Clark, Farage, Fontana, Provera, Rossi, Salvini, Scotta, Speroni, de Villiers
Huffing and puffing empty promises to shut critics up at home; treated with contempt by MEPs he 'presides' over in Brussels; and all the time, out of sight of UKIP members, European parliament business as usual.
How utterly despicable!