Labour chair says we need to ‘wake up’ to Johnson’s vile hard-right strategies

Boris Johnson at PMQs
Fréa Lockley

Boris Johnson has finally united many people across the UK. Not because he’s resolved the current political chaos. But for his vile and sickening comments in parliament. And Labour’s Ian Lavery says this behaviour is part of a “rehearsed attempt to stir up hatred”.

“Wake up and smell the coffee”

On 25 September, Jo Cox’s friend and neighbouring MP Paula Sherriff made an impassioned plea, asking Johnson to stop using “dangerous” language. She also noted that many MPs have received “death threats”.

A far-right extremist murdered Cox in 2016. As The Canary’s Kerry-Anne Mendoza reported, Johnson replied: “I never heard such humbug in all my life.” He then went on to claim that the best way to honour the memory of Cox, a pro-EU MP, would be to deliver Brexit. Johnson has faced widespread condemnation for these comments.

Lavery said these comments were part of a:

perfectly calculated and probably rehearsed attempt to stir up hatred in this country…….straight from the Trump / Bannon playbook.

And Lavery wasn’t alone in this observation:

Sherriff later spoke about the very real threats she’s received:

“Schooled by Bannon”

In June, journalist Carole Cadwalladr revealed a meeting between Johnson and Steve Bannon. The former Breitbart editor was Donald Trump’s chief strategist. US Democrat Nancy Pelosi has called him a “white supremacist”. He’s also expressed some deeply disturbing views on ethnicity. Johnson initially denied any connection, calling it a “lefty delusion”. But Cadwalladr’s video showed Bannon claiming he was in regular contact with Johnson in 2016. Bannon says:

Today we are going to see if Boris Johnson tries to overthrow the British government… I’ve been talking to him all weekend about this speech. We went back and forth over the text.

As The Canary reported in July, during a Radio 4 interview Jon Sopel asked Bannon if he was still in touch with Johnson. He replied: “I stay in touch with Nigel [Farage] quite a bit”. But he also made his total support for Johnson clear. And he went on to support what he thinks is a “quite natural alliance” between Johnson and Farage’s populist, right-wing Brexit Party.

In the interview, Bannon clearly stated that he’s not only trying to influence Brexit, but that he is doing this via Farage. Let’s not forget that Farage was behind the now infamous ‘Breaking Point’ posters. These were reported to the police as a “blatant attempt to incite racial hatred”. And evidence about the 2016 EU referendum also links Johnson, Farage, Bannon and other far-right figures.

Bannon has spoken about Donald Trump’s racist actions and inherently cruel anti-immigration policies. He has proudly called Trump “a populist and a nationalist”. Trump, meanwhile, openly supports Johnson.

And Johnson is now well-known for his continued racist slurs. He’s no stranger to sexist or homophobic remarks, either. Labour’s Wes Streeting also recently branded him “chauvinist” and “racist” for comments made in a 2007 book.


Lavery is absolutely spot on. Because while Johnson may not have rehearsed these exact comments, they do seem to fit in with a very calculated and constructed approach to power. And it is indeed one that seems straight from the Trump/Bannon playbook.

As children’s author Michael Rosen noted, this proved a perfect distraction from the Supreme Court ruling against Johnson:

Johnson is no ‘buffoon’. He’s a dangerously vile, hard-right strategist.

Featured image via YouTube

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  • Show Comments
    1. Johnson is acting out. He clearly harbours a fantasy of himself as a neo-Churchill, but the borrowings from Trump are obvious. The strategy is simple: destroy common standards and impersonal values. That creates the perfect context for the wealthy and powerful to flourish. Hence the assault on the constitutional and legal limits. John Major discovers, far too late, a dislike of divisive language. What did he have to say about Thatcher calling the miners “the enemy within”? There is a direct line from that to the intrusive provocation of “surrender”.
      Johnson says he will obey the law and we will leave the EU on 31st October. A circle to square. Maybe he’ll try an order of council, maybe find some Act which he hopes can do the trick. Or perhaps this:
      19th October comes without a deal. Monday 21st, Johnson refuses to send the letter. Tuesday 22nd a application is made to court. The government is told it must send the letter and instructs an official to sign it. The letter is sent on 23rd. The reply arrives on Thursday 24th. Johnson delays. On Monday 28th he refuses the EU’s terms. Another application is made to court. The government is instructed to accept the terms. More delay. Johnson waits to midnight 31st October. Calls the Eu to say we’ve left and declares that is the legal position.
      Something of that kind. The principle will be to push the law and the constitution to breaking point. All in pursuit of a society where the rich and powerful can do what they like. That is what this is all about. Irving Howe remarked: “Conservatism is the anarchism of the rich”. The media make sure the poor vote for it.

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