Coun­cil’s YouTube blun­der

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

A COUN­CIL which serves more Jews than any other in the coun­try posted a YouTube video in which a res­i­dent com­pared Jews with “nor­mal Bri­tish peo­ple”.

Bar­net Coun­cil, in North Lon­don, filmed res­i­dents say­ing what it was like to live in the bor­ough. Of­fi­cials then posted the re­sult­ing video on YouTube.

One uniden­ti­fied woman ques­tioned in Edg­ware, Mid­dle­sex, was heard to say: “I know it’s mainly a Jewish area so a lot of the Jewish peo­ple have got things, but for the nor­mal Bri­tish peo­ple... there is noth­ing re­ally for them.”

The video was posted on Septem­ber 28 but re­moved last Fri­day morn­ing — six days later — fol­low­ing a com­plaint.

Coun­cil leader Mike Freer said the re­marks did not rep­re­sent the au­thor­ity’s views and apol­o­gised to any­one who may have been of­fended.

“We acted quickly and re­spon­si­bly once it was brought to our at­ten­tion,” he said. Around 15 per cent of Bar­net’s 330,000 res­i­dents are Jewish.

Prop­erty-com­pany boss David Miller asked the coun­cil to re­move the video and was told it would not. But a se­nior of­fi­cial later ruled that it should be re­moved.

Mr Miller said he ac­cepted that the woman was not “a ra­bid an­tisemite” but made an er­ror of judg­ment. But he added: “The coun­cil should have seen how this would of­fend peo­ple. If she had said the same about Mus­lims, she would have a fatwa on her by now.”

Hen­don Labour MP An­drew Dis­more said res­i­dents would “form their own views” on the length of time it had taken for the clip to be re­moved.

Mike Freer, who is also the Tory par­lia­men­tary can­di­date for Finch­ley and Gold­ers Green, later wrote to Tory coun­cil­lors ex­plain­ing how the in­ci­dent could be used to tackle the BNP.

“While the com­ments will be edited out, it is in­ter­est­ing to note that it un­der­lines the fact that in the bor­ough the BNP can plug into sen­ti­ment that is not far be­low the sur­face,” he wrote in an email.

“By pick­ing up th­ese com­ments (but ob­vi­ously not pub­lish­ing them) we can start to work on ad­dress­ing the con­cerns that the BNP feed off.”

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