Political racism and the making of ‘Brexitland’ – review article

My latest on openDemocracy: review article on Maria Sobolewska and Robert Ford, Brexitland: Identity, Diversity and the Reshaping of British Politics, Cambridge University Press, 2020. Political racism is key to Johnson's rise, but 'racism' is absent from Brexitland's conceptual framework British politics has been profoundly restructured since the 2016 referendum, Sobolewska and Ford argue in… Continue reading Political racism and the making of ‘Brexitland’ – review article

Only a bold democratic programme can stop Starmer becoming Labour’s third leader to be squeezed in the war of English and Scottish nationalisms

(Now published on openDemocracy) As Keir Starmer prepares for Labour’s 2020 conference he has almost closed the gap with the Tories in the polls and is ahead of Boris Johnson as ‘best prime minister’. He is currently visiting Scotland - where Labour is still very weak - and writes in The Scotsman that ‘the number… Continue reading Only a bold democratic programme can stop Starmer becoming Labour’s third leader to be squeezed in the war of English and Scottish nationalisms

Culpable ignorance, political humiliation, and their consequences: my revision of Lawrence Freedman’s first draft of the UK’s pandemic policy history

No.10 tweet from the day Dominic Cummings returned to work (now deleted, of course) As the fall-out continues from the UK's disastrous pandemic policy-making in the first quarter of 2020, which has led to date to 63,000 excess deaths, it is vital that British sociology and politics academics provide accurate critical analyses. Sir Lawrence Freedman,… Continue reading Culpable ignorance, political humiliation, and their consequences: my revision of Lawrence Freedman’s first draft of the UK’s pandemic policy history

‘Running hot’: the Tory priority remains to manage death, not minimise it. But will they get away with the unnecessary loss of life they have caused?

Pro-Johnson propaganda, London, 22 April 2020 “The debate is now between people who think we should suppress the virus completely and those who think we should run things quite hot, use the spare capacity in the NHS and aim to keep the R number just below one,” one official said. Another senior insider said: “You… Continue reading ‘Running hot’: the Tory priority remains to manage death, not minimise it. But will they get away with the unnecessary loss of life they have caused?

‘Herd immunity and let the old people die’ – Boris Johnson’s callous policy and the idea of genocide

On 17 March, when the extent of the British government's failure to protect the population from the coronavirus had become clear, the respected political commentator Ian Dunt tweeted, 'The Conservative party is not composed of genocidal murderers. They are not trying to cull the population', commenting that it's 'depressing that this needs saying. ... I'm seeing… Continue reading ‘Herd immunity and let the old people die’ – Boris Johnson’s callous policy and the idea of genocide

Dominic Cummings’ appointment reminds that whatever liberal gestures Johnson makes on immigration, he is focused on winning an early election – and will reach for whatever dirty, racist weapons he needs

Boris Johnson is making liberal gestures on race and immigration - appointing the largest number of cabinet ministers of BME (black and minority ethnic) background, refusing to commit to cutting immigrant numbers after Brexit, even repeating his support for the idea of an amnesty for irregular immigrants. Some liberal observers see Johnson’s position as more… Continue reading Dominic Cummings’ appointment reminds that whatever liberal gestures Johnson makes on immigration, he is focused on winning an early election – and will reach for whatever dirty, racist weapons he needs

Brexit: The Uncivil War – the TV drama disguised the ugly truth

At the beginning of Channel 4’s drama Brexit: The Uncivil War, the ex-Tory Ukip MP Douglas Carswell tells Matthew Elliott and Dominic Cummings, newly appointed to run Vote Leave, that they will offer a “respectable alternative” to the “rightwing thugs” Nigel Farage and Arron Banks. Cummings, the “strategist” (and anti-hero of this semi-biopic), soon returns… Continue reading Brexit: The Uncivil War – the TV drama disguised the ugly truth

Separating ‘racial self-interest’ from racism doesn’t work

Can we 'cordon off' the overtly racist attacks and abuse against Europeans which followed Brexit from the demand from immigration control supported by a majority of Leavers - one of the two main motivations (along with 'sovereignty') for people to vote Leave? Eric Kaufmann thinks we can regard immigration-restriction as the 'racial self-interest' of the… Continue reading Separating ‘racial self-interest’ from racism doesn’t work

Going native: Populist academics normalise the anti-immigrant right

When academics write for a wider audience, as political scientists Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin do in their much-trailed National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy, it is not unusual for us to simplify our arguments and express our personal opinions. But there's a difference between simplified and simplistic. And there's also a difference between… Continue reading Going native: Populist academics normalise the anti-immigrant right

Truly Project Hate: the third scandal of the official Vote Leave campaign headed by Boris Johnson

(A still from Vote Leave's TV ad. Fair use.) Boris Johnson’s weaponisation of the burqa came on the heels of new revelations about the propaganda strategy of the Vote Leave campaign which he fronted in the 2016 referendum. I argued at the time that Vote Leave’s official television advertisement, the most high-profile item of Leave… Continue reading Truly Project Hate: the third scandal of the official Vote Leave campaign headed by Boris Johnson