With speculation rife in Westminster that former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is sharpening his image in preparation to replace Prime Minister Theresa May after her Brexit debacle, he has already deployed the campaign tactics of Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager.

The two are reported to have struck up a rapport when Bannon was still in the White House two years ago. Bannon had shot to prominence thanks to what he described as his Alt-Right website, Breitbart, and had boosted what he calls ‘his weapons’ with the digital trickery of Cambridge Analytica, the now defunct electioneering machine he helped to co-found.

Boris Johnson on BBC News, March 6 2019

But Steve Bannon’s form of populism is toxic. Breitbart employed white supremacists and had a history of Islamophobic and misogynistic rhetoric. Since he left the website, Bannon has praised Mussolini and travelled around Europe liaising with Far Right parties to create his ‘movement’. He has told activists that they should treat accusations of racism as ‘a badge of honour‘ and described Stephen Yaxley-Lennon AKA ‘Tommy Robinson’ as the ‘backbone of Britain’.

Boris Johnson should – according to Bannon – replace Theresa May as leader of this country. And Johnson has clearly been listening to the siren call of populism. His first public intervention last summer after his resignation was a deliberate polemic about Muslim women looking like ‘letter boxes‘: a perfect Breitbart wedge issue designed to provoke and polarise.

With a rise in racist attacks in Britain since Brexit, and the increasingly shrill denunciations of ‘saboteurs’ and ‘traitors’, Boris Johnson would do nothing to unify an already febrile and fractured country.

You can get rid of the ridiculous bouffant hair, but that doesn’t stop you being a dangerous buffoon.

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