Analysis: Kaminski's opinions should ring loud alarm bells

By Martin Bright, October 9, 2009

Michal Kaminski was extremely frank in his interview with the JC. Perhaps too frank. After talking to him I have no reason to believe he is an antisemite or to doubt his commitment to the state of Israel. But I also have a much clearer idea of precisely what he is: a socially conservative east-European Catholic nationalist with all the unfortunate baggage this entails.

There is nothing very appealing about a man who began his political life on the extreme right of Polish politics, went on to heap praise on General Pinochet and was, until recently, happy to casually insult homosexuals.

I remain mystified by the way the Conservative Party has embraced a man whose politics are far to the right of David Cameron. Whatever else he may be, he is not a progressive in any sense of the word and, to be fair, would probably not describe himself as such.

In joining the European Conservatives and Reformists group of Mr Kaminski and Roberts Zile of the Latvian Fatherland and Freedom party, Cameron has taken a bizarre risk.

In his interview with the JC today, Michal Kaminski is prepared to discuss in detail the allegations against him. This is entirely to his credit. But the Conservative Party, Conservative Friends of Israel and the Board of Deputies should examine his answers very closely.

He is keen to clarify his position on the massacre of Jews that took place at Jedwabne in July 1941. For me, his explanation of why he failed to support the 2001 apology on behalf of the Polish people is unconvincing. He says he believes the massacre of as many as 400 Jews by the Poles of Jedwabne should be considered a lesser crime than those carried out by the Nazi regime. This is intellectually and morally unsustainable. His comments about alleged Jewish collaboration with the Soviet occupation of Poland should also ring alarm bells.

It is now obvious that the Tories did not carry out due diligence. Dismissing concerns raised about Mr Kaminski as Labour smears is just not good enough. I spoke to senior Tories close to Mr Cameron this week who never thought it was a good idea to withdraw from the centre-right European People’s Party. Their deepest fears have now been confirmed.

In opposition the decision to join the ECR could be written off as a naïve error. In government, it could prove catastrophic.

Read Stephen Pollarad's analysis

Last updated: 2:26pm, November 8 2010