Yes, a Ukip MEP really did encourage youngsters to copy Adolf Hitler

Matthew Champion@matthewchampion
Sunday 10 August 2014 11:10

When Ukip asked one of its MEPs to give a class on public speaking to the party's youth wing at a conference this week, the MEP in question told them to emulate some of the most famous orators of recent times: Winston Churchill, Tony Blair, Martin Luther King Jr, and um, Adolf Hitler.

West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge told youngsters to "pick up little moments" from Hitler's speaking style, namely the way he begun many of his (race hate-filled) rally speeches by stalking the stage in silence before speaking.

If you look back to the most magnetic and forceful public speaker possibly in history.

When Hitler gave speeches, and many of the more famous ones were at rallies, at the start he walks, back and forth, looked at people - there was a silence, he waited minutes just looking out at people, fixing them with his gaze.

And they were looking back and he would do it for a while. And then they were so desperate for him to start that when he started speaking they were hanging on his every word.

Again, I'm not saying direct copy - pick up little moments.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Etheridge did not dispute the Mail on Sunday's transcript of the event, but said their presentation of the story was "embarrassing for all of us".

"Hitler was an evil, monstrous tyrant but that doesn't mean he wasn't good at public speaking," he said.

Mr Etheridge was thrown out of the Conservative Party in 2011 after he and his wife Star posed with golliwog dolls on Facebook in order to make a point about political correctness. Right...

Meanwhile, Ukip said the Mail on Sunday's Hitler story was "truly disgusting".

But the most surprising aspect of the story is not a Ukip MEP describing Hitler as a "magnetic and forceful" speaker, but Ukip championing the Guardian.

"It is no surprise that two national newspapers have covered this conference - the Guardian and the Mail on Sunday. One gave it a fair hearing, the other as a Tory paper is terrified by the rise of Ukip and apparently will stoop to nothing to attack the party. We are disappointed, but unsurprised," a spokesperson added.

More: The difference between Lib Dem and Ukip voters in one chart