INTERNATIONAL

Satirical video on euro sparks a row

LONDON JULY 3. A cross-party campaign against Britain's entry into euro had a disastrous start after a row erupted over a satirical video in which Hitler speaks in support of a single currency. Jewish groups have joined pro-euro campaigners to demand the withdrawal of the film which shows a Hitler look-alike dressed in a SS uniform declare, "Ein volk, ein reich, en euro" (one people, one realm, one euro), echoing the chilling Nazi cry of "Ein volk, ein reich, en fuhrer".The Board of the Deputies of British Jews denounced it as "tasteless and highly inappropriate".

"It is bound to cause offence to all those who experienced at first hand the evils of the Third Reich," a spokesman said while euro supporters protested at being bracketed with Hitler. Lord Brittan, a former Tory Home Secretary who lost his grandparents in the Holocaust, said the video reflected the "underlying nastiness of the No campaign as well as an element of desperation".

A former Labour MP, Lord Janner, who heads a Holocaust educational trust called for immediate withdrawal of the video which, he said, was "crass and distasteful".

Attempts to defend the video as harmless satire were dismissed by angry protesters, including many who are themselves opposed to single currency.

"It is not about euro, but about sensitivities," one of them said. Bob Morgan, secretary of the pro-euro Veterans for Europe, said: "It is in appalling taste to compare the modern European Union with Nazi Germany and to get a comedian to use the image of Adolf Hitler to campaign against the euro."

While Tories quickly distanced themselves from the video, the "No" Campaign director, George Eustice, dismissed the controversy as a storm in a teacup. "This is a three-second comedy sketch within a 90-second film," he said.

Signficantly, the pro-Tory Daily Telegraph editorially defended the video saying its aim was to "entertain".

The row came as the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, prepared to consider the five economic tests which the Blair Government says would decide whether the single currency was good for Britain.

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