The Spectator has come under fire for publishing an article appearing to support the Greek far-right party Golden Dawn.
A blog by stalwart columnist Taki Theodoracopulos - titled "A fascist takeover of Greece? We should be so lucky" - has defended the party, which won 19 seats at last year’s general election and has been widely described as a neo-Nazi organisation.
Describing the group and its members as “not house-trained”, Theodoracopulos, who has written under his first name ‘Taki’ for the Spectator’s ‘High Life’ section since 1977, goes on to defend the party and its supporters.
He wrote: “Golden Dawn came into being because of PC, poor Greeks at times getting fewer benefits than African illegal immigrants. Then GD became very popular with certain poor Greeks while it defended them from being mugged by Albanian criminals and drug dealers, and for safeguarding older folk after bank withdrawals.”
Golden Dawn has been accused of using racist and fascist iconography in its political campaigning and members have been involved in violent clashes with left-wing groups since the start of the Greek financial crisis in 2010.
Taki coontinued: “Golden Dawn members might need some lessons in social etiquette, but what the bien pensant need much more is to get off the pot and their double standards. Golden Dawn members are mostly labourers, martial artists, cops, security personnel and good old-fashioned patriotic Greeks.”
In the article, he goes on to describe left-wing columnists Polly Toynbee and Maureen Dowd as “old hags”.
Responding to criticism of the article on Twitter this afternoon, Spectator editor Fraser Nelson said: “Our readers like diversity and well-written pieces that they disagree with. We have no party line.”
In a later tweet, he added: “Every week, there’s at least one Spectator piece I disagree with so much I’d like it spiked... but the Spectator editor should be the last person in London to reach for the censor’s pen.”
Writing on his Liberal Conspiracy blog, left-wing commentator Sunny Hundal asked: “Does the Spectator not have any limits to this broad church at all? Can one write a piece praising Hitler too?”