A SPOOF video portraying a community activist as Hitler has reignited the sometimes bitter row over the building of a new Portobello High School.
The parody re-captions footage from the Hitler biopic Downfall to mock members of the Portobello Park Action Group (PPAG) campaign team.
In the video, PPAG members – who are identified by name – are portrayed as an increasingly desperate Hitler and his allies in the bunker as their last support ebbs away.
They are ridiculed for supposedly ignoring local democracy in blind pursuit of their own aims.
The spoof is the latest in a long line of Downfall parodies posted on the internet, in which Hitler appears to rant about subjects ranging from the Edinburgh tram works to Susan Boyle not winning Britain’s Got Talent.
But the latest has sparked a furious response from some quarters of the community amid claims of dirty tricks.
Former PPAG spokeswoman Diana Cairns – who is portrayed as Hitler in the film – today branded it “pathetic and puerile” and challenged whoever was behind it to identify themself.
Meanwhile, newly elected community councillor Bob Jefferson – a leading campaigner for the new school – denied internet rumours that he was the person responsible.
The video has been viewed hundreds of times after being posted on Facebook and YouTube and attracted much critical comment.
Ms Cairns said: “If people want to make some kind of comment then they should at least not be so cowardly as to do it under a fake name.
“It’s an unjustified attack and unfortunately the campaign to build the school on the park has been characterised by unsavoury behaviour from a small minority of people within the group. It’s a real shame – we all have to live in the same community.”
The row over whether or not to build the school in the park generated new interest in Portobello community council, which was forced to hold elections for the first time last month. Most of those elected supported building the school on the park and promised to work to build bridges within the community following the rifts caused by the rival school campaigns.
Mr Jefferson posted a statement on the A New Porty High School in the Park Facebook page distancing himself from the video. It said: “I don’t usually dignify personal attacks made by PPAG with a reply but I feel obliged to point out that, contrary to what is being claimed, I did not make the film in question, nor am I responsible for any anonymous Facebook pages.”
Mr Jefferson added: “I don’t have an opinion on the video. It has nothing to do with me, our Facebook page, the community council or the campaign, it’s something someone else has constructed.”
Clip used for parody many times
THE famous Downfall scene has been parodied many times since the film was released nearly ten years ago. The video that kicked off the craze is thought to have been uploaded by YouTube user DReaperF4 on August 10, 2006.
The Spanish subtitles show Hitler raging at the lack of new features in the demo trial of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X.
Edinburgh’s tram works are also amongst the many subjects to have been ridiculed.