Boris, Bannon and Burkagate - how Trump’s tactics are making it to the UK

Other | Thursday 23rd August 2018 | The

Recently Boris Johnson made big news by writing an article where he criticised women who choose to wear the Burka. In his article, he used terms often used by the far right - like ‘letterbox’ - to describe the wearing of the burka and started a whole media row which is still going on.

It also led to a spike in insults against Muslim women, to Boris losing the support of a charity and gaining a large number of racists on his Facebook page.

So why did he do it?

Boris, Burkagate + Trump’s trusted tactics

Whilst the former Etonian Boris has refused to talk about what he wrote, we can see why he did it if we look at the playbook of President Trump. President Trump says outrageous things (most often complete lies) then gets attacked by the ‘liberal’ establishment media.  This makes him look like a rebel to outsiders and persuades his supporters that there is a conspiracy against him. It also gets him the hard support of very active racists.

Whilst Trump is natural at stirring controversy, the racist part is often seen to have come from his former Chief Adviser, Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon has recently been having meetings all over Europe, including with Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson! In fact they are in regular contact.

Who is Steve Bannon and what is he doing over here?

Steve Bannon is the mastermind behind Trump’s campaign, chief of Breitbart and, many would say, an openly racist nationalist.  He was forced out of The White House after criticising Trump over Russia and since then has spent a lot of time in Europe. He has met the National Front in France, Viktor Oban, the racist Prime Minister of Hungary, and helped fund the Brexit campaign.

Bannon has now set up headquarters in Brussels and plans to help the far right across Europe after the success of the Vote Leave campaign - which in his eye was a very cheap victory. He told the Daily Beast: “When they told me the spending cap was £7m, I go: ‘You mean £70m? What the fuck?!’ £7m doesn’t buy anything. It doesn’t buy you Facebook data, it doesn’t buy you ads, it doesn’t do anything. Dude! You just took the fifth-largest economy in the world out of the EU for £7m!”

If Boris and Bannon are working closely together then don't expect this Burka comment to be the last racist dog whistle to be coming out of BoJo's mouth. This kind of talk may be around to stay for a while.

Watch this space for more news on the far right in the UK.