Speed Reads

Kicking up a Furor

Far-right British politician tells young activists to copy Hitler for public speaking

A politician from Britain's right-wing UK Independence Party is mired in a huge controversy after the Daily Mail reported that he told the party's youth activist conference that they should look to Adolf Hitler for public speaking tips.

Bill Etheridge, who was elected this past spring as a member of the European Parliament on the UKIP ticket, told a workshop for young prospective candidates that they should take an example from "a hateful figure who achieved a great deal."

"Look back to the most magnetic and forceful public speaker possibly in history," said Etheridge. "When Hitler gave speeches, and many of the 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. They were looking back and he would do it for a while. And then they were so desperate for him to start, when he started speaking they were hanging on his every word."

He also clarified: "I'm not saying direct copy — pick up little moments."

Etheridge responded to the Mail in a statement: "I was talking about a whole range of public speakers and the techniques they used. I also mentioned Tony Blair. At no point did I endorse Hitler or anybody else. I was merely discussing public speaking and the techniques used down the years. Hitler and the Nazis were monsters and I am angry that I am even being asked questions about whether we would wish to be linked with them. Yet another cheap shot to deal with from the media."