Lib-Dem defends ‘Nazi’ traffic charge remark

By Jonathan Kalmus, August 15, 2008

A Stockport Lib-Dem councillor is standing by his comparison of the proposed Manchester congestion charge with Nazi propaganda.

Manchester Jewish leaders were outraged by the comment by Councillor Kevin Hogg, made in the context of his claim that the city's transport authority was misinforming the public to win support for the plans. "As propaganda, it is nearly as bad as the Nazis in the Second World War," he said.

Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein found the remark "offensive". Registering his "disgust", former Manchester Jewish Representative Council president Louis Rapaport insisted: "It's ridiculous to compare it to the Nazis."

Stockport Council leader and fellow Lib-Dem Dave Goddard reported "sharp words" with Councillor Hogg, acknowledging: "It's an unfortunate phrase he used."

But speaking to the JC this week, Councillor Hogg was "gobsmacked" at the furore. "It was a general comment on the British psyche about propaganda, and the most recognisable propaganda is the German one. But any offence people have taken I apologise for since it was unintentional."

Last updated: 1:14pm, August 14 2008