"Hitler" store in India sparks outrage

But why?

As reported by the NY Times India Ink Blog, two astute businessmen in Gujarat are cashing in on one of the most universally despised personalities ever.

In an interview with Der Spiegel, Rajesh Shah, co-owner, innocently confesses that the clothing store was named after his business partner’s grandfather, a man so notoriously autocratic that he earned the hilarious epithet of "Hitler". (I would encourage you to read the entire interview - Shah is a comedic genius.)

And so, with a 150,000 rupee (£1,700) investment in a sign, brochures, and business cards, the Gujarati duo may well have launched the most cost-effective marketing campaign (at least in terms of span) of recent times. Shock waves have been reverberating through the Internet all day (and here goes another echo), highlighting the effectiveness of what advertising scholars have long dubbed the “shock LOL factor”.

Still, I’m not really sure why everyone is so outraged. Dear old Adolf is probably rolling over in his grave at the moment, grunting furiously at the fact that his name is being used to catalyse the capitalist machine he loathed. After all, non-Aryans are indulging their materialistic whims at his expense, and no matter how shocking or appalling that may be, no individual has the power to keep Rajesh from promoting it. 


Priceless juxtaposition. Photograph: Getty Images
Getty Images.
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Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.