Oliver, check your facts!

By Stephen Pollard
October 5, 2009

My good friend Oliver Kamm writes a wonderful column every Monday, The Pedant.

It's strange, therefore, that Oliver's famed pedantry appears to have deserted him in a blog posting this weekend on Lisbon, the Tories and Europe.

Oliver writes:

The Tories meanwhile have got themselves into a pickle on whether they
should continue to call for a British referendum (for which there was
never a good case), while voluntarily exiling themselves from
mainstream European conservatism. Peter Beaumont
picks apart "the intellectual and moral laziness of senior Tories" in
allying instead with some deeply unsavoury forces in the European
Parliament. I'm surprised that my good friend (and one of my editors) Stephen Pollard
doesn't see this; I have to assume that he's shoehorning the facts to
fit his anti-European premises.

Oliver accuses me of "anti-European premises". I'm at a loss to know why he thinks this. Until I became editor of the JC I had spent almost eight years working in Brussels for a think tank focused entirely on making the EU more free market and business-friendly. How this could be construed as being anti-European I don't know. Am I opposed to the prevalent EU corporatist approach? Yes. But that's because I want to see an EU that is prosperous and democratic. Indeed, in 2005 I co-wrote a debate pamphlet for Civitas, Should We Stay Or Should We Go?, in which I attacked, from a Eurosceptic perspectrive, those who wanted Britain to leave the EU. Oliver - I am no more anti-European than you are anti-Labour; in other words, you are fundamentally in favour, but do not unthinkingly support everything that a Labour government does.

As for Oliver's argument that I am "shoehorning the facts" over Michal Kaminski, he says himself that he assumes that I must be doing that. It's very unlike Oliver not to check the facts. The facts show that Kaminski is not an antisemite. 

If the evidence was that he was an antisemite, I would attack him with all my might. Why wouldn't I? But he is being attacked for base political ends, and attacked in the most disgraceful manner by being accused of antisemitism. It is precisely because I would attack him if he was an antisemtite that I feel it is my duty to point out the illegitimacy of the evidence against him.

(I've been careful not to write about the Latvian link, because I know almost nothing about Latvian politics and so do not feel qualified to make a judgement on the party and people the Conservatives have allied with there.)


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