Belfast Telegraph

Why Downpatrick's Christmas tree is just a Nazi little joke

By Gail Walker

We all know it's very difficult to get away with anything these days without it appearing on the internet.

Whether it's that woman dumping the cat into the wheely bin or helicopter pilots strafing civilians in Iraq, it'll all end up on YouTube. The hapless council official, though, who signed off the decision to erect a civic Christmas tree beside a public lavatory in Downpatrick could not have imagined the extent of his or her humiliation. We've all seen that clip from Downfall, the German biopic of Hitler and how it has been used to pillory authority of all varieties.

But, believe me, its current use as a means to satirise small-town ineptitude and, in a strange way, exalt small-town pride takes some beating.

The clip on YouTube is best viewed immediately after watching Francis Gorman's straight-faced BBC NI report on the catastrophe. He shows footage of the sorry fir, slumped beside the wall of the public convenience, surrounded by crowd control barriers. It is as if local councillors were afraid that it would escape. Go to YouTube and type in Downpatrick Christmas tree.

For once, and probably the only time, your heart will go out to Hitler.

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