BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Blair dismisses Hitler spoof ad
Comedian Rik Mayall as Adolf Hitler
Comedian Rik Mayall as Adolf Hitler
Tony Blair has insisted that the economic arguments will win the day on whether the UK adopts the euro - and not celebrities or pop stars.

The prime minister was responding to the anti-euro campaign's proposed cinema advert featuring comedian Rik Mayall as Hitler welcoming the single currency.


It is a harmless comedy sketch for three seconds in a 90 second film

No campaign director George Eustice
As criticism mounted of the advert, Mr Blair declined to condemn the advert, saying "a joke is a joke", saying the best way to respond was to win the argument on the currency.

He added that the Save the Pound campaign seemed to be basing its efforts on an image of Europe half a century out of date.

The cinema advertisement was described as "offensive" by Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, and has been branded tasteless by leading British Jews.

Comedian Rik Mayall
Mayall out of his Hitler gear
They say the advert, due to be screened across Britain, is an insult to the memories of the Holocaust victims.

But the No campaign argues the celebrity advert is a bit of "harmless fun" in the bid to win people over to its arguments.

In the advert, Rik Mayall is seen dressed as Hitler saying: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein euro" - one people, one realm, one euro - in a reference to the Nazi slogan: "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuehrer".

The comedian then reappears saying in English: "Euro? Oh yes please."

'Desperate' campaign

The European Commission described the advert as "crass and offensive" and in "appallingly bad taste". A spokesman said it was "insulting" and "panders to xenophobia".

The Britain in Europe group denounced the advertisement as a "tasteless caricature."

Its views are shared by the chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, Labour peer Lord Janner.

He described the portrayal as "crass, distasteful and totally inappropriate".

Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof says no to the euro
"Those responsible should withdraw this offensive advert immediately," said Lord Janner.

Former European Commission vice-president and Tory cabinet minister, Lord Brittan of Spennithorne, also criticised the advert.

"This tasteless ad shows the underlying nastiness behind much of the No campaign as well as an element of desperation," he said.

But the No campaign director George Eustice denied the advert was offensive.

"It is a harmless comedy sketch for three seconds in a 90 second film," he said.

Rock star Bob Geldof, comedians Vic Reeves, Harry Enfield and John Sessions, chef Gordon Ramsay, as well as Labour MPs Diane Abbott and Kate Hoey are among those who appear in the video campaign.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
No campaign coordinator, George Eustace
"I don't think there's anything here to take offence at"
Comedian and pro euro campaign Eddie Izzard
"If Hitler would have liked the euro, then why don't Le Pen and Haider"
No campaign
Watch shortened version of anti-euro advert
The BBC's Mark Mardell
"The ad brands the euro a foolish politician's project"

Key stories

In or out?

Background/analysis

CLICKABLE GUIDES

TALKING POINT
See also:

02 Jul 02 | Talking Point
02 Jul 02 | Politics
02 Jul 02 | Entertainment
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes