Tom Harris’s downfall

I don’t like socialists, I don’t like the left and I don’t like the Labour Party, but that’s a group thing, as individuals they tend to be fine save for those on the more extreme fringe. When it comes to scandals involving humour or Nazi party regalia though I’m more or less indifferent in the same way I was completely indifferent to Aidan Burley who was simply at a party where someone wore it.

One of the internet memes of recent years has been to mock your opponents via the “Downfall” scene in the Fuhrerbunker, some are funny, some are tasteless, but mostly it’s a case of sticks and stones etc. Save when it comes to politicians as Tom Harris found out.


A Labour MP has stepped down from his internet adviser role after he posted a joke video portraying First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond as Hitler.
Tom Harris, who ran in the Scottish Labour Party leadership race last year, apologised for his actions.
He had been given the post of the party’s new media guru after Johann Lamont was elected leader.
The SNP called the video “tasteless” and said it was “hugely embarrassing” for the Labour Party.
The controversial video takes footage from 2004 movie, Downfall, featuring Hitler’s German voice with subtitled words from Mr Salmond.
The clip has been used to mock a number of well-known names, including former prime minister Gordon Brown.
Mr Harris published his version of the video, titled “Joan’s Downfall”, following a row involving SNP MSP Joan McAlpine who claimed that Labour and the Lib Dems were being “anti-Scottish” in their attitude to the planned independence referendum.
The Labour MP for Glasgow South said: “Having spoken to Johann, I have decided to step down from leading the party’s social media review.
“The video I posted has been a well worn joke used to parody a range of public figures.
“However, context is everything and in the context of Johann’s and my desire to improve the level of political debate on social media and the context of Joan McAlpine’s much more serious statements about all political opponents of the SNP being anti-Scottish, my actions have been an unhelpful distraction for which I apologise.”

Personally I think the SNP should grow a pair, after all they like to throw insulting rhetoric around too as do all politicians and after all, Joan McAlpine’s assertion that Unionists are anti-Scottish started the whole affair. I doubt anyone cares to be called a traitor in a country they love. Though Scot’s themselves have a bit of a problem in some areas with Anglophobia which is apparently not as big a problem as Islamophobia and it’s this strain of bigotry which drives some nationalists into the name calling business as they see the UK government as somehow being an English government, though God alone knows why considering how Westminster actually treats the English. Still I guess it’s a useful tag to hang your prejudices on.

Was it a bad taste video? Possibly, should Tom Harris have had to apologise and resign?

Judge for yourself…

[youtube width=”640″ height=”516″][/youtube]

Personally I think some Scots should get a sense of humour or a thicker skin.

12 comments for “Tom Harris’s downfall

  1. January 16, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Two issues here – the SNP need to grow a thicker skin as you say and Tom Harris has fallen on the meme that he was himself a part of when in government. Hoist with his own petard – no sympathy.

  2. Richard Lucas
    January 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    I think most SNP folk are still laughing about this still! You seem confused – it was Labour that sacked him, not the SNP. It’s Labour that should have grown a pair and backed him. Personally, I shall miss Tom’s acrid interventions – he was a source of much harmless entertainment on Twitter.

    • January 16, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      Since when has stepped down equated to been sacked?
      My point is that lots of people do downfall skits Tom Harris did one and then owing to the negative twittering of SNP supporters stepped down.
      As it is, I now wonder if we’ll have a proper debate on Scotland’s independence as no politician now will stick their neck out to say anything controversial. In effect the SNP people have shut down debate.

  3. JamesQuigley
    January 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Did you just write this article to have a go at the Scots. Had this happened in England, I’m fairly certain the Conservatives would have retorted with ‘tasteless’ and ‘hugely embarrassing’ no doubt. Assuming that’s the case, what would you have written about the English in your ranting paragraph to justify your point?

    Some people do need to grow a thicker skin though – I’ve never really seen the major offence with Hitler impersonations or similar – not my kind of humour, but it just that, humour.

    • January 16, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      Thing is had this happened in England I would have said the same thing, the petty bigotry of some people in political circles defies belief, hence the mention of Aidan Burley who was simply at a party where a Nazi uniform was worn and ended up having to step down.
      There was no need for Tom Harris to step down, in fact I’m blowed if I can see anything he needed to apologise for, what happened was (twitter) mob justice.

  4. Mudplugger
    January 16, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    This is symptomatic of the deliberately developed knee-jerk response to anything involving Hitler & Co and which some folk with a normal sense of humour may actually find enjoyable – those two concepts of ‘Hitler’ and ‘enjoyable’ are now deemed incompatible, regardless of context or humour-quality.

    John Cleese would not dare to write the famous Fawlty Towers “Don’t mention the war” episode today – it would be vilified, regardless of its high quality humour.

    Some may identify this auto-vilification as just another facet of the strategic ‘Holocaust PR Campaign’ which sees our schools learning little else in History – if they can brainwash kids in school, then eliminate any association between that period and ‘enjoyment’, they can produce generations pre-conditioned to support one player in a global conflict. It’s dangerous stuff, but it’s happening by stealth.

    I have no defence for Hitler and his ilk, he spent 6 years trying to kill my father, but I am very concerned when one highly organised group seeks to manipulate history by stealth for self-benefit, particularly when this involves the malleable minds of suggestible youth.

    • Mary
      January 16, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      “… regardless of its high quality humour.” Like laughing at the funny little Spaniard, Irish cowboy builders, deaf old ladies, dotty old colonel, etc. etc. Fawlty Towers was painfully unfunny, stereotypical, boilerplate ‘comedy’. Cleese now is, quite rightly, excruciatingly embarrassed by it.

      • Andy Nicholas
        January 17, 2012 at 12:29 am

        You must be a bundle of laughs.

      • January 17, 2012 at 8:30 am

        Maybe Cleese just feels he has to say this or face mob attacks from the likes of humourless ‘Mary’ here…

        ‘Fawlty Towers’ is a classic. Always will be.

        • January 17, 2012 at 8:53 am

          The duck episode was, perhaps, the best of the lot – the scene where the car finally gave up the ghost had me in stitches the first time I saw it. Perhaps because having owned a series of elderly motorcycles with similar temperaments, I could see the truism… Not that I hit them with a stick, mind.

          • January 17, 2012 at 9:14 am

            And, I guess, we shouldn’t mention ‘Allo ‘Allo…

            • Andy Nicholas
              January 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm

              I guess people tend to forget one of the principle members of that cast was a Berlin Jew who had got out of there just in time with his brother.

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