THE LEADER of Thurrock UKIP, cllr Graham Snell has defended his decision to include references to child abuse in Rotherham and Jimmy Saville in a speech at a Holocaust Memorial in Grays.
The theme of the ceremony was "Don’t Stand By".
Hundreds were in attendance and heard a number of civic dignitaries inlcuidn the mayor of Thurrock and the leader of Thurrock Council at the memorial garden off Orsett Road in Grays.
Cllr Snell, the leader of 11 Ukip councillors began his speech detailing the murderous regime of the Nazi’s and drawing a comparison with so-called Islamic State.
Cllr Snell then said: "Closer to home, for a period of sixteen years there was widespread child sexual abuse in Rotherham. How was this allowed to happen?
"Only last week, we learned more details about Jimmy Savile and how he was able to sustain years of child abuse with even people at the BBC turning a blind eye. How was this allowed to happen?
"The answer is complacency and political correctness. Too many people are frightened to intervene when they see things going wrong because they fear they will be the ones found guilty. Too many people do nothing because they are under some kind of delusion that says it’s OK to walk away because somebody else will deal with it.
Present at the ceremony was Chafford Hundred resident Steve Silverman, who was there with a member of his family.
Mr Silverman was incensed by the content of cllr Snell’s speech.
He said: " We both thought it was, on the whole, a beautiful event, well organised and sensitively handled, badly marred by the contribution of Graham Snell on behalf of UKIP.
"While it is absolutely right and proper to acknowledge other genocides that have been perpetrated since the end of World War Two, inserting the Rotherham sex abuse scandal, as appalling as it was, into the event, was highly inappropriate and offensive on many levels.
"Cllr Snell bizarrely sought to draw comparisons between the causes of the Holocaust and the causes of the horrendous crimes against children in Rotherham, attributing both to political correctness. In so doing, he contrived to take a thinly-veiled swipe at Britain’s Muslim community, while reducing the cause of the Holocaust to a misplaced desire to avoid giving offence.
"As if this were not sufficiently offensive, he then brought up Jimmy Savile – presumably in order to try to avoid the giving impression that he was targeting Muslims.
"I would not, for one minute, seek to diminish the horrors of crimes against children. However, today’s service was about very specific and unique crimes against humanity.
"Allowing Cllr Snell to use the platform he was given to promote one of the less savoury aspects of the UKIP agenda left a blemish on the event and a nasty taste in the mouth.
YT has spoken to cllr Snell and asked him why he made reference to Rotherham and Jimmy Saville.
Cllr Snell said: "The theme of the event was ‘Don’t Stand By’. My speech was about exactly that. The two points you refer to are recent examples of what happens when people do stand by and say and do nothing and were, in my opinion, completely in keeping with the theme".
A spokesperson for the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust said: ‘The central vision of Holocaust Memorial Day is to learn from the past in order to create a safer, better future.
"Don’t stand by – the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016 – enabled people to learn about the ways in which bystanders created cultures in which genocides were able to take place, and about the rescuers and resisters who challenged this.
"Holocaust Memorial Day 2016 encouraged people today to consider the ways in which they can choose not to be bystanders.’