Since David Cameron became leader of the Conservative Party he has made plain his desire that the British Tories should leave the European People's Party (EPP) in the European Parliament. Although virtually every other right wing party in the EU is a member, Cameron and some of the more anti European elements amongst the Conservatives have considered that the EPP is dangerously socialistic and pro European.
Apart from the European Parliament of the European Union there is another Parliamentary Assembly in Europe: that of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The Council of Europe is a rather worthy organisation that was set up independently of the European Union by the Treaty of London in 1949 in order to promote the values of human rights and democracy. It is open to all those countries that accept the rule of law and the principles of Human Rights. Unfortunately it now embraces such countries as Russia whose actions in recent years have shown a remarkable contempt for these principles.
In the Council of Europe, the British Conservatives in fact are already not part of the EPP group, but they sit with a different group, the so-called European Democrats (EDG). I think it is instructive to notice that amongst others, the group includes:
The Italian neo-fascist group, the National Alliance.
The Polish ultra Conservative "Law and Justice Party"
The Latvian Nationalist Party: "For Fatherland and Freedom"
The Slovak Nationalist Party
So, Perhaps we think we get the picture, a few small, slightly nutty, right-wing parties have crept under the benign wing of the British Conservatives for organisational purposes. Isn't that what has happened before?
Well, actually, no.
The British Conservatives are not even the leaders of the group.
Putin's Party, United Russia, is.
So just to recap:
The British Conservatives are formally allied to a party that has been implicated in the undermining of Russian human rights and attacks on Russia's neighbours from Estonia to Georgia. The British Conservatives prefer to be allied to Vladimir Putin to rather than Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy.
It is, put quite simply, a disgrace and is indefensible.
It is time that the Conservatives came to their senses.
It is wilful blindness to continue this dangerous and disgraceful alliance, and if they do not withdraw from it, we will know that the Conservatives have sacrificed common sense on the altar of blind anti-Europeanism.