Churchill Was 'Criminal'
Says Austria's Haider
In an interview unlikely to endear him to Britain, Austria's far-right politician Joerg Haider on Sunday described London's wartime leader, Winston Churchill, as "one of the greatest criminals" of the 20th century.
In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, the leader of the Freedom Party said Churchill had been responsible for destroying the German city of Dresden during World War II.
Haider, whose party's presence in a coalition government has prompted an EU threat of isolation against Austria, said: "With Churchill there are a lot of bad things -- and a lot of honour.
"He did right and wrong. That's the fate of an important politician".
Asked what Churchill had done wrong, Haider said: "The bad things were like the decision to destroy cities such as Dresden, where there were no soldiers of the German army.
"There were only citizens".
Haider implied Austrians would not be upset by the decision of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, to cancel a planned visit in May in protest at his election.
He was said to have snorted "derisively" at the suggestion.
"The Austrian people would have been disappointed if Diana had been coming, and then cancelled," Haider remarked. "But this" -- he paused -- "is not the case".
He also paused before saying whether he would have joined the Nazis, as his father had done.
"It's not easy to say ... because with the privilege of hindsight you know exactly what you have to do".
Then he grinned: "I think I would have been in prison during the Nazi period, because I am a fighter for freedom and not for dictatorship".
During the interview, Haider insisted his party was not anti-European and said he respected the referendum result which took Austria into the European Union.
He also expressed admiration for British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
"Well, if you compare our programme with the programme of Blair, you will find a lot of similarities ... He is protecting England against criminals, the same thing we want to do.
"He wants to have lifelong observation of criminals who hurt children, these are similar to our proposals, as well as the programme to provide jobs for the young generation, to reduce youth unemployment".

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