To be fair, it’s taken the far right Identity, Tradition, Sovereignty European Parliament group – that delightful organisation that combines everyone from convicted fraudsters to French presidential runners-up and the granddaughters of fascist dictators – far longer to disintegrate than I expected. After all, within a few days of the group forming there were all kinds of little scandals that looked like it would face a premature end.
However, since January there’s been very little cropping up about the strange assortment of racist idiots that makes up the group – my Google News alert, set up eleven months ago on the group’s formation, has sent through a grand total of 28 emails in that time, few of them overly exciting. The last was when the group’s sole British member, ex-UKIPer Ashley Mote, got done for fraud back in August. As with so many eurosceptic MEPs (*cough*Kilroy*cough*), it seemed that most of the ITS lot were more than happy to slag off the EU while still happily rolling in to Brussels to collect their pay cheques and expenses, without actually doing much of anything either to advance their own cause (for which they were, of course, elected) or to add constructively to the various bits of legislation that have been knocking around over the last year, and which could be improved (or have their impact lessened) by a bit of constructive criticism.
Now, however, they’re getting more press again – and hilarious press it is too. Because, as Der Spiegel notes, it’s all due to the fact that western European quasi-fascist xenophobes rather look down on eastern European quasi-fascist xenophobes. And, sadly for the eastern Europeans, the western Europeans also have very little interest in distinguishing between Romanians and Roma, Serbs or Slavs, Slovaks or Slovenians. That’s the thing with holding prejudices, you see – the details don’t really matter, it’s all about the broad group generalisations, even when the group is an entirely artificial one that exists only in your own head.
As I’ve been rather busy recently, I’m late with this, and soMr Eugenides has already summed the situation up nicely:
“It must come as a shock to these delightful people to learn that, as far as their quasi-fascist mates are concerned, they all look the same anyway”
It is rather amusing – but also shows one of the key problems for eurosceptics EU-wide: if you want to fight the EU, you need a broader, cross-boarder coalition with likeminded groups. But when you are campaigning to get rid of the influence foreigners have in your country, and your speeches are packed full of nationalistic rhetoric, it can be very hard to keep such coalitions going, as you’re bound to insult one of your allies at some point.
Plus, of course, the very fact that you need to build coalitions with people from other member states, erm… rather goes to show that cross-border co-operation can sometimes be the only way to get things done…