Watch what Nigel Farage was up to as that Tory MEP called the Nazis ‘socialists’

Syed Kamall and Nigel Farage at the EU Parliament
Joshua Funnell

Condemnation of Syed Kamall, Tory MEP and the head of the European Conservatives, has been near-universal after his shameful conduct at the European Parliament on 24 October.

But the media have largely ignored the role that former UKIP leader Nigel Farage played in this national embarrassment of a speech.

A national embarrassment

When addressing the social democrat grouping in the EU parliament, Kamall said:

When you talk about right-wing extremists, we have to remember that Nazis were ‘National Socialists’. It’s a strain of socialism…

He continued:

It’s a left-wing ideology…

He then disgracefully concluded:

they want the same things as you, let’s be quite clear.

This caused uproar in the chamber.

Someone audibly called Kamall an “idiot”. The head of the German socialist group called the comments “outrageous”, adding that “I am personally offended by the ignorance Kamall has shown”.

This reaction is hardly surprising. The German Social Democratic Party was banned by Hitler in 1933 and a number of its leaders were sent to concentration camps.

Politics.co.uk editor Ian Dunt summed up the incident perfectly:

With a little help from his UKIP friend…

The support Farage gave Kamall during the speech has been largely neglected by the media. But at one point, Kamall clearly takes a cue from Farage:

As Kamall claims the Nazis were socialists, Farage is heard saying: “they won’t like the truth”. At this point, Kamall reacts to Farage’s input and says accusingly to the angry chamber: “You don’t like the truth, do you?”

And Kamall concludes desperately “come on, it’s national socialism”. Farage nods approvingly in the background, saying “he’s right”, as shouts of “RUBBISH!” echo in the chamber.

UKIP and National Socialism

Farage’s support is particularly ironic. It was only in 2017 that the then UKIP leadership candidate, Henry Bolton, warned that the party could “easily slip towards the ideals of national socialism” due to the extremism in their ranks that could lead somewhere “far darker.”

Here we go again…

Kamall is not the only Tory in recent weeks to use this so-called ‘alt-right’ extremist fallacy. As The Canary previously reported, Thatcher’s former henchman Norman Tebbit used the same intellectually bankrupt arguments in the House of Lords.

But as the EU Commission’s vice president Frans Timmermans pointed out, Kamall is the only “leader in this house of the party of Churchill and Thatcher” to use this argument.

Twitter users quickly called out the absurdity of Kamall’s argument:

The reaction of Udo Bullmann, of the Social Democratic party of Germany, summed up the quality of the argument best:

Good luck negotiating now

As Twitter users pointed out, this incident won’t help the UK’s Brexit negotiations:

The Conservatives moving hard-right

Kamall has apologised for ‘causing offence’. But he’s failed to retract the historically bankrupt argument itself:

The incident is further evidence of a Conservative Party that not only lacks political talent, but whose hard-Brexit approach has turned it into a UKIP proxy; and a party that now cynically panders to the hard right in less subtle ways.

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Joshua Funnell