Friday, 27 November 2020

Mayor condemns spoof election video

THE Mayor of Henley has condemned a video portraying him as Adolf Hitler.

THE Mayor of Henley has condemned a video portraying him as Adolf Hitler.

The foul-mouthed YouTube clip, which is almost four minutes long, features a scene from German film Downfall with doctored subtitles.

The video is the latest twist in the fallout from Martin Akehurst?s decision to leave Henley Residents? Group in November.

He was one of five HRG councillors to quit, blaming ?serious conflict? within the group. The Mayor later joined the Conservatives, along with planning committee chairman Dieter Hinke, while former mayors Pam Phillips, Jeni Wood and Elizabeth Hodgkin all became independent councillors. All five are standing for re-election on Thursday.

In December HRG councillor Kellie Hinton compared Cllr Akehurst to Hitler during a town council meeting but she later apologised. There is no suggestion she is responsible for the video.

The film opens with the line: ?The HRG defectors have been successfully incorporated into the Conservative campaign and everyone knows why you [Cllr Akehurst] could not be appreciated while in HRG.?

It lambasts Cllr Akehurst?s decision to join the Conservatives and stand as a candidate for South Oxfordshire District Council for Sonning Common ward as well as for re-election to Henley Town Council.

The Mayor said: ?I am somewhat shocked that someone would spend quite so much time doing this. Considering the number of complaints I got after Cllr Hinton?s comments, I?d expect a large number of people to be offended by this.

?You have got to wonder about people who will stoop to this level for what is a very tiny piece of unpaid voluntary power. I was elected for the people of Henley to work for the town, not to get involved in in-fighting and stuff like this.?

Stefan Gawrysiak, chairman of Henley Residents? Group, said: ?The Henley Standard has drawn my attention to a spoof video on YouTube. I was shocked by its content which is deplorable. This is nothing to do with politics or the election.?

In 2010 a video appeared, again on YouTube, portraying Henley?s Conservative politicians as Nazis and replacing Hitler with Will Hamilton after he stood unsuccessfully in a by-election. He became a councillor in the elections in May 2011.

The video was reported to the police by Henley MP John Howell who was mentioned in the film. At the time, he said: ?Politicians are expected to have broad shoulders for this sort of puerile and unoriginal nonsense but I fail to see why that should have to apply to ex-servicemen and women in the constituency who fought Hitler in order that we might have the free elections this video so derides.?

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