Boris Johnson’s lie about Sir Keir Starmer isn’t ‘Trumpian’ politics - it’s ‘Johnsonian’

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

“The politics of hate and division and misinformation was born and bred in Britain, and our Prime Minister was one of its architects”

How long before another MP is killed doing their job?

That is the question that kept coming back to me last night when I watched the sickening videos of Sir Keir Starmer and David Lammy being surrounded by a mob who were carrying nooses and screaming about Jimmy Savile.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In the wake of both of their awful deaths, there were calls from politicians from all parties for a “kinder” politics, a “gentler” politics and a politics that does not “sow division”.

But it’s clear to see from the events near Parliament on Monday (7 February) that hatred still courses through our politics - and, worryingly, shows no signs of stopping.

I often wonder how we, as a society, have ended up in this position.

The alarming extremism from the anti-vaxxer mob that surrounded the Labour leader is undoubtedly in-part nurtured by the dark corners of the internet.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Angry, young men (and yes that’s usually who it is) often fall into the trap of being influenced by niche outlets or social media personalities who peddle lies for a living.

They then regularly seek out this type of ‘content’ to confirm their twisted views on the world and share it with like-minded people on the echobox that is social media.

It’s a cycle of confirmation bias.

This is ‘Johnsonian politics’

Boris Johnson lied when he claimed that Sir Keir Starmer had “failed to prosecute” Jimmy Savile (Getty Images)Boris Johnson lied when he claimed that Sir Keir Starmer had “failed to prosecute” Jimmy Savile (Getty Images)
Boris Johnson lied when he claimed that Sir Keir Starmer had “failed to prosecute” Jimmy Savile (Getty Images)

But, it’s also clear that this is what happens when senior public figures knowingly and purposely spread lies.

We often point the finger at our friends across the Atlantic Ocean for the beginning of this new age of fake news and politicians inciting hatred.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In fact, in the wake of the mob surrounding Sir Keir last night, several MPs have spoken loosely about this being a result of ‘Trumpian politics’.

This isn’t ‘Trumpian politics’, this is ‘Johnsonian politics’.

The politics of hate and division and misinformation was born and bred in Britain, and our Prime Minister was one of its architects.

It began with a poisonous Brexit campaign that descended into scaremongering and a series of lies - which now seems to be par and course in modern British politics.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Johnson was front and centre in that referendum and famously stood in front of a bus emblazoned with the slogan: “We send the EU £350 million a week, let’s fund our NHS instead.”

This was a lie.

He went on to use the term “surrender act” when describing a bill that aimed to block a no-deal Brexit. Mr Johnson then called supporters of that act “traitors”.

He said the best way to honour the murdered MP Jo Cox was to “get Brexit done”.

Let’s not forget the Islamophobic and homophobic comments he made in the past nor his phone call about having a journalist beaten-up. Before politics, he was also sacked as a journalist for making-up a quote.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Then there’s the utter contempt he showed for the British people when he attended parties while we observed strict lockdown rules.

I could go on.

And now, he has weaponised a far-right online conspiracy against his political opponent to score a cheap political point.

This is a man that has previous in lying and inciting hatred.

He isn’t a disciple of Trump - this is who he is.

‘More in common’

Flowers surround a picture of Jo Cox during a vigil in Parliament Square on June 16, 2016 in London (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Flowers surround a picture of Jo Cox during a vigil in Parliament Square on June 16, 2016 in London (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Flowers surround a picture of Jo Cox during a vigil in Parliament Square on June 16, 2016 in London (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

In the House of Commons, there is a shield dedicated to Cox with the motto “more in common” on it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This is in reference to her maiden speech in the house, where she said: “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.”

I believe that quote is still fundamentally true.

Unfortunately though, we have a Prime Minister that is hellbent on division.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.