‘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

We need to talk about Devon

What do anti-Tory voters do where Conservatives have a more or less complete grip on all levels of government, despite only getting a minority of the votes? Where has Labour's abandonment of its local voters - by failing to reform the electoral system, a failure that neither Corbyn nor Smith is really concerned about -… Continue reading We need to talk about Devon

38 Degrees of Brexit

The progressive crowdsourcing campaign organisation 38 Degrees, which was neutral during the EU referendum, has been carrying out a consultation on to devise the terms of a 'people-powered Brexit' (or 'DIY Brexit'). In a debate on openDemocracy with 38 Degrees' David Babbs, I have criticised the group's original neutrality, its quick switch to an embrace… Continue reading 38 Degrees of Brexit

Corbyn’s Brexit failure, Labour’s crisis

Labour's crisis has become existential. Jeremy Corbyn's election last year galvanised an expanded membership to participate in the party's affairs, but has had only a very modest wider impact. Although the sabotage of some on Labour's right is partly to blame, Corbyn has not responded well to the huge challenges of leading the party. I see this… Continue reading Corbyn’s Brexit failure, Labour’s crisis

BREXIT: The R is for Racism

My latest post on openDemocracy:  If the B in Brexit stands for Boris and his overweening ambition, the R is for Racism, the method through which Vote Leave aims to achieve the political upset of the century. In ITV’s two-hour debate, Johnson waffled on about democracy and an ‘Australian-style points system’, his latest migration-management wheeze… Continue reading BREXIT: The R is for Racism