WHEN DOWNFALL ISN’T FUNNY

The Talkswindon Internet forum may have made an unfortunate blunder by posting a “Downfall” video featuring Tory council leader, Rod Bluh. The TalkSwindon site has been doing a fantastic job in exposing the dodgy dealing of Swindon’s Tories over the wifi scandal, where £450000 of public money has been loaned to a private start up company, without proper scrutiny, to promote a half-baked and unproven business plan.

Proprietor of the forum, Geoff Reid, responds to the Swindon Advertiser:

Mr Reid said that Coun Bluh should be more concerned with how public money is being spent on wi-fi rather than a spoof video.

He said: “The video is a subtitled ‘Satire on arrogant council leadership in the face of opposing public opinion’, and how that leadership views both me and the Talk Swindon forum.

“I have experienced the council’s attitude towards the public concern about its use of public money on vanity projects like wi-fi, the canal, the Radio 1 Big Weekend and the Tabernacle stones at first hand. My questions about them have been met with concealment, contempt and obfuscation.

“Frankly, I think it’s very sad that I can provoke a hysterical reaction by poking the council with a satirical video, but can’t get answers to questions about how £1.5 million of public money was spent.”

When asked if he planned to remove the video he added: “To remove the video would imply that I thought something was wrong with it.

“I don’t expect everyone to laugh at it but it reflects perfectly how I perceive the council leadership to be acting towards me and the Talk Swindon Forum.

“Satire often challenges political correctness but there are many previous examples where Hitler has been portrayed satirically.”

He has a point. Indeed reckless waste of public money for vanity projects has been an enduring feature of the Tory administration in Swindon, combined with a haughty contempt for the democratic processes of scrutiny and accountability.

However, Rod Bluh has special reason to find the connection with Hitler particularly offensive. As the Adver reports:

Coun Bluh’s grandfather died in 1939 of natural causes, but Otto, who was receiving treatment at a mental hospital in Vienna, was seized by the Nazis and never seen again.
During an interview given in April 2009, Coun Bluh said: “We believe there were medical experiments going on and we know he died in a gas chamber built in the basement cellar of Linz Castle, in May 1940.”
Meanwhile Johanna Bluh made her final journey in the summer of 1942, deported in a cattle truck with hundreds of Jews on the 1,000-mile journey to Maly Trostinec, near Minsk, in what is now Belarus.
Her fate is unknown. She may have died after being gassed, or may have been stripped, stood in a line along with other Jews, with their backs to freshly dug graves, and then shot.
However, Coun Bluh believes she may have perished along with many others during the four-day train ride. She died, aged 47, on August 21, 1942.

In the circumstances, I think that Geoff ought to use his discretion and remove the clip from his website.

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