As the opinion polls start to swing back in favour of a Remain vote in Thursday’s referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, some desperate tactics have been deployed. Supposedly mainstream and reasonable backers of the Out campaign have resorted to endorsing some seriously dodgy people, including those supporting fringe and far-right groups like the British National Party (BNP).
You think I jest? Consider the Twitter account whose holder describes herself simply as “Denise”. Her Twitter handle is @LittleMissFoxyy. She Retweets BNP propaganda regularly. This includes scare stories about “80 Million Muslim Turks”, and calls for discrimination against “immigrants”. She is clearly in favour of ditching inconvenient things like human rights laws, and having anything to do with “outsiders”.
The @LittleMissFoxyy Twitter account last night Tweeted out an image of a letter from someone claiming to be from the Cheshire town of Northwich, making a crude and dishonest reference to Britain’s EU budget contributions. To accompany this, she added “Sums it up beautifully. Even the most bigoted Remainer must see the truth in that. #VoteLeave”. See, BNP supporters aren’t bigots! Look over there!
Who might be up for Retweeting that one, given the @LittleMissFoxyy Twitter bio includes the words “Join the @bnp TODAY”? Well, Brian Silvester would, for starters. Who he? Crewe and Nantwich’s former Prince of Darkness was a long-time Tory survivor. He stood against Gwyneth Dunwoody in 1987. He joined UKIP after jumping from the Tories before they pushed him. Our local Mr Kipper has no problem Retweeting the BNP.
But it’s a lot worse than a Kipper from near Crewe. Unthinkingly - no surprise there - the loathsome Toby Young, stalwart of Vote Leave, did the same. Tobes is clearly so desperate for endorsements that he’s happy for one of them to be a supporter of a party that itself endorses open racism and bigotry. That was OK.
Or at least it was OK until David Banks sent Tobes a heavy hint that he had just done something he maybe should not have: “you read her bio? BNP? You really need that kind of support for Leave?” he prompted. Only after that did Tobes have an engage-brain-first moment and delete the Retweet. But his action had been preserved for posterity.
And still there as I type is yet another Retweet from someone infamous for not thinking before shooting mouth off, and that person was (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch, fresh from telling the world that she knows everything about everything on the EU, only to Retweet a BNP supporter to show that she doesn’t.
These people also want your endorsement. Right now, their appeal isn’t making it.