I had meant to blog on the profound ignorance that both the Conservatives and Labour have displayed on the subject of Latvian history. That the history of the Baltic could become a political football in the UK is the result of the frankly disgraceful way that Labour have tried to target the Conservative alliance with the Latvian For Fatherland and Freedom Party in the European Parliament as somehow being an alliance with "Nazi sympathisers". The lone MEP from this party is the former finance minister, Roberts Zile, who I have met several times. Quite frankly he is no more a Nazi than I am, and it is ridiculous to cast this thoughtful and humorous man in the manner that, for example, David Miliband has tried to do.
I said I was going to blog, but to be honest, this piece from The Times by Ben McIntyre says it all so precisely that I don't need to repeat him.
I think the Conservative alliance is absurd, but it is not absurd because of their alliance with Roberts Zile. It is absurd because it represents a failure of political courage by David Cameron and foolish blind alley for the Conservatives. The Tories' determination to regard any support for the European Union as part of a conspiracy against mainstream right wing values has actually cut them off from all the major mainstream right wing parties across the EU. Eventually they will have to row back from this extremist position, but the price of their folly will be a lot more than the political embarrassment that some of the more extreme parties inside the new Conservative grouping may yet still cause them. It has alienated a huge number of potential political allies and marked the Conservatives out as irrational, spitting Europhobes rather than any kind of constructive force that might seek to put British interests in the European Union above ignorance and prejudice against the EU.