Speaker at SNP conference criticised for wearing 'Third Reich' badge


A delegate at the Scottish National Party conference has been criticised for “insensitive” and “offensive” references to the Holocaust.

At the event, in Glasgow last week, the SNP invited Australian national Gregg Brain to speak on the challenges of immigration and obtaining a visa.

When he appeared, Mr Brain wore a yellow badge with the letter “F” on it, in an apparent reference to the Nazi identification system used to mark out Jews before and during the Second World War.

The "F" stood for "foreigner" in protest at the Home Secretary's suggestion that British companies might publish lists of the foreign workers they employ.

The Brain family, who live in Dingwall, in the Scottish Highlands, had been told by immigration officials they would have to leave the UK after Mr Brain failed to find a job.

The family have now been granted a leave to remain.

Board of deputies vice-president Marie Van der Zyl criticised the use of the badge.

She said: “It beggars belief that a delegate at a major party conference should use such symbols.

“Mr Brain should apologise to Holocaust survivors and their families who will be rightly shocked at such an insensitive use of a horrific symbol of genocide.”

But Mr Brain denied his "F badge" was a reference to Holocaust.

He said: "It was in fact a reference to one of the other policies of the Third Reich.

"The badge was a facsimile of an Auslander Arbeiten (foreign worker) registration badge, familiar to any Poles who were allowed the privilege of working for the Third Reich for longer hours, and at half pay - and eventually, as forced labour. It had nothing to do with Jews, who were persecuted via a very different programme."

He added: "This registration of foreign workers was exactly on point given Amber Rudd’s proposal at the Conservative Party National Conference days earlier, and this was the point I was making.

"Given that history with predominantly Polish workers, and that now the largest EU cohort in the UK is from Poland, this gesture of solidarność seemed entirely appropriate."

In a post on Facebook Mr Brain apologised to the Jewish community for any offence caused.

He said he has also contacted Mrs Van der Zyl to apologise personally.

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