POLITICS

Spectator Article Defending Greece's Golden Dawn By Taki Theodoracopulos Causes Uproar

23/07/2013 17:52 BST | Updated 23/07/2013 18:27 BST

The editor of the Spectator has defended the decision to publish an article in which a columnist appears to praise the Greek far-right party, Golden Dawn.

Taki Theodoracopulos said the group's members - while "not house-trained" - were "good old-fashioned patriotic Greeks".

Golden Dawn won 19 seats in Greece's 2012 election but are accused of being a neo-Nazi organisation whose members turn up to parliament armed and shout "heil Hitler".

golden dawn

Members of Golden Dawn

The party often use racist and anti-semitic language and their leader, Nikos Michaloliakos, admitted they had adopted the Nazi salute.

One of their MPs also slapped a female politician on live TV.

Taki, as the 76-year-old is known, 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 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.

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"Golden Dawn members are mostly labourers, martial artists, cops, security personnel and good old-fashioned patriotic Greeks."

In anticipating the backlash to the article Taki also refers to left-wing writers Polly Toynbee and Maureen Dowd as "old hags".

By publishing the column, the magazine's editor, Fraser Nelson, was accused by writers at rival publications of allowing the endorsement of fascism.

Nelson responded by saying The Spectator publishes articles covering a range of views.

Taki is no stranger to controversy - in 2010 he described Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld as "a very homely, simian-looking Jew who couldn't punch his way out of a nursery".