Forum readers may recall the shameful episode that was unfolding inside Nigel Farage's EFD Euro-Parliament group this time last year.

One of the EFD's many far-right MEPs, Mario Borghezio of the Italian Lega Nord, had said in the aftermath of the Norwegian massacre that he supported the ideas of the perpetrator, Anders Breivik. His Lega Nord colleague, Francesco Speroni, who just happens to be EFD co-president alongside Farage, backed Borghezio up. Realising the potential problems that these comments might cause, Farage quickly issued a statement on the UKIP website, stating "I have written to the leadership of the Northern League party to demand an immediate full retraction and apology. If my request is not met, then we will suspend our membership of the EFD group".

As the weeks ticked by, no such "full retraction and apology", let alone an "immediate" one, emerged from the two Italians, yet Farage and the UKIP MEPs were strangely silent too on the matter of their promised self-suspension. Then it transpired in the Italian media that Farage had sent another letter to Speroni, asking for Borghezio's resignation from the EFD (Speroni's own comments having by now been entirely swept under the carpet by Farage). Speroni told the Italian media that the matter was to be decided during the week of 24-27 October and that he didn't believe there were sufficient votes in the EFD to back UKIP's request, but that if there were and Borghezio was forced out, all the other Lega Nord MEPs would go with him, causing the whole group to fall below the minimum membership rules and thus collapse completely. He was bluntly spelling out Farage's straight moral choice - Borghezio's expulsion or the continuation of the EFD and Farage's presidential position. Surprise, surprise, that was the last we ever heard of Farage's weasel-worded bluster on the matter, and the Lega Nord MEPs - Borghezio very much included - continue to sit in the EFD, alongside the UKIP MEPs who conspicuously failed to carry out their unequivocal threat to suspend themselves from it, even though the terms they required to stop that happening were never met. And all under the continued and cozy co-presidency of Farage and Speroni.

The message: Farage is happy to sit with - nay, to preside over and with - group colleagues whom he described as "morally and politically misguided" for supporting a "repugnant ideology of hatred", if that is the price to be paid for protecting his title and position in a "parliament" he feigns not to recognise.

And the result of such utter moral cowardice?

Well, no surprise either that Borghezio, having been given the above message loud and clear that he is free to act with impunity, and that even the most severe threats from Farage and the UKIP-EFD MEPs are not to be taken seriously, has gone and done it again on Breivik.

The Reuters news agency, in an analysis entitled "Europe far right shuns Breivik's acts, flirts with ideas" - exactly the stance which briefly threatened to get Borghezio into trouble a year ago - reports that Borghezio has been happy to repeat it when approached by them now:

The Italian politician set off a storm of outrage after Breivik's gun and bomb massacre by declaring in a radio interview that its perpetrator had some "excellent" ideas.

The European lawmaker argued the indignant reaction was misplaced, because he strongly condemned Breivik's violence.

And yet, a year on, he still sees Breivik's stance on some issues as attractive.

"Not all the ideas were criminal. It is the man who behaved in a criminal way," Borghezio told Reuters.

This is the same stance which Borghezio took last year and which impelled Nigel Farage to say, in a statement still viewable on UKIP's website, that "anybody who would praise the political ideology of this mass murderer is morally and politically misguided." It is the same stance for which Farage made all the idle threats listed above. His utter failure to carry out any of those threats is directly responsible for the contempt which Borghezio has now displayed towards him, to the UKIP MEPs, and to civilised thought.

It is still not too late for Farage and the UKIP-EFD delegation to redeem themselves; Borghezio's latest remarks provide them with the renewed opportunity to do so. Will they take it? Answers on a stamp, please.

Link to Reuters report: