Some Tory MPs claim in public that they are loyal to Theresa May’s leadership, while behind the scenes they plot to remove her, the excuse, when it comes, being that she has been insufficiently ready to drive the economy over a cliff in pursuit of the ideologically pure kind of Brexit that would most likely put more than two and a half million out of work and set growth prospects back several decades.
Even then, there are those so out of touch with reality that they are prepared to cast themselves as The Men Who Would Be King. There are, at present, three of them, all equally unappealing as leadership material: the Member for times long past Jacob Rees Mogg, dishonestly telling anyone still listening that he does not want to be Prime Minister, Michael “Oiky” Gove, the Minister for Murdoch, supported by the Lady Macbeth-like figure of Sarah “Vain” Vine, and London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. All have now found the conduit for their Faustian bargain.
That conduit is the deeply unsavoury Steve Bannon, former confidante of Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, Breitbart News mainstay, and an individual who considers that Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, is the “backbone” of this country. Lennon is currently serving 13 months’ jail for two contempts of court.
We know that Rees Mogg has previously met with Bannon; now Reuters has confirmed that both Gove and Johnson have, too: “U.S. President Donald Trump’s former political strategist Steve Bannon has been in contact with three potential rivals to British Prime Minister Theresa May and will make another trip to Europe in August, he told Reuters in an interview”. Not one to hide his light under a bushel, is he?
Bannon’s meetings are part of his openly declared intention to interfere in politics both here in the UK, and on mainland Europe, which Zelo Street covered recently. The Reuters article also tells “Bannon said he had been in direct contact with Johnson and two other potential challengers to May: Michael Gove, who is still a member of May’s cabinet, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leader of an anti-EU Conservative Party faction”.
And this part was the telling one: “‘Boris Johnson is one of the most important persons on the world stage today,’ Bannon said. He described Johnson as ‘his own guy’ and said he had ‘texted a lot’ with him and spoken by phone with him during this month’s London trip … Bannon said he had been in contact some time ago with Gove and had also been in touch with Rees-Mogg. The three represented a ‘deep talent bench’ of potential anti-EU leaders for the Conservative Party, Bannon said”.
Deep talent bench? Gove, Johnson and Rees Mogg don’t have the talent to organise an act of alcoholic derangement in an EU wine lake. But they are graspingly ambitious, not for their country, but merely for the personal advancement of Themselves Personally Now.
Nor are any of them in possession of anything that could be mistaken for principles. Bozza is supposed to be on the Tories’ liberal wing, but he is also a nailed-on racist bigot. Gove will do whatever Rupert Murdoch decrees is in his interest to do. And Rees Mogg has so much money that he doesn’t need to care about anyone else, and so he does not.
That is the extent of this “Deep talent bench”. But what is most disturbing about their collusion with Bannon is his record. It is a deeply worrying record. Put simply, Steve Bannon is a racist. He is a fascist. And he is a complete psycho. Whistleblower Chris Wylie spelled it out: “Steve would fantasise about this at Cambridge Analytica. This guy is a psycho. And now he has the money, network, data and covert Russian support to launch his dream project. Progressives in America and Europe need to wake up to this threat”.
As Mehdi Hasan put in in an article for The Intercept - and no apologies for quoting him in full - “How on God’s green earth did a U.S. president bring into his White House as chief strategist a man who proudly called his Breitbart news site ‘the platform for the alt-right’; published pieces on Breitbart during his tenure as executive chairman, with headlines, such as ‘Would You Rather Your Child Had Feminism or Cancer?’ and ‘Political Correctness Protects Muslim Rape Culture’; allegedly objected to the number of ‘whiny’ Jews at his daughters’ school; took inspiration from notorious Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl; produced a closing ad for the Trump presidential campaign that, according to the Anti-Defamation League, used ‘images and rhetoric’ that ‘anti-Semites have used for ages’; suggested disenfranchising black voters might not be ‘such a bad thing’; said he wanted women who ‘lead this country’ to ‘be feminine’ rather than ‘a bunch of dykes … from the 7 Sisters schools’; declared ‘Islam is not a religion of peace’ but ‘a religion of submission’ and also called it ‘the most radical’ religion in the world; warned that the U.S. could turn into the ‘Islamic States of America’ and dubbed American Muslim organizations a ‘Fifth Column’; seemed to approvingly cite Italian fascist thinker Julius Evola; repeatedly nodded to a ‘stunningly racist French novel’ called ‘The Camp of the Saints’ that warns of a migrant invasion of the West; expressed admiration for the anti-Semitic French philosopher and hero to the European far right, Charles Maurras; joined the controversial and secretive Council for National Policy, alongside extremists, who according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, ‘regularly defame LGBT people with utter falsehoods’ and ‘describe Latino immigrants as … rapists and disease-carriers’; and whose White House appointment in January was welcomed by America’s leading white nationalists and neo-Nazis, including David Duke and Peter Brimelow, who called it ‘excellent’ and ‘amazing’?”
That waking up needs to happen, and quickly. Bannon is already being enabled by the likes of Piers Morgan, who fawned over him on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. He is grooming three principle-free politicians whose love for personal advancement comes above all else. His interference in this country’s affairs should not be permitted.
It is time for Bozza, Gove and Rees Mogg to dissociate themselves from Steve Bennon. And if they cannot do so, it will be time for the Tories to dissociate themselves from any or all of this unappealing triumvirate. We defeated facism once. Never again.